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Wooden mini bb cannon

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Half-Cocked

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I have wanted one of these mini bb cannon you find on eBay or Amazon. Then it got me thinking I wonder if wood can withstand the small charge.

I did some research and that is where I confirmed my suspicion. Cannons were made from wood at one point. They were made of wood and reinforced with iron rings around or rope wrapped around wooden cannons. Sometimes only being used for as little as one shot before the split.

So I am going to attempt to build my own wooden mini bb shooting cannon. I will whittle the wood and then bore out the center and add a fuse hole. Later I will have to figure out something for wheels or make it fixed to a block of wood weighted with a sand bag.

It's my hope that using lighter charges will then fire harden the bore for additional strength. Then it is a simple matter of add a fuse then powder wad bb and another wad.

Should be a nice project and saves me 25 bucks! Plus if they are good enough I can take my time making a more authentic rope wrapped looking one.

What do you guys think?
 
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eggwelder

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I think you`ll end up with splinters everywhere, eventually. Maybe not the first shot, maybe not the second, but eventually and probably sooner than eventually. Don’t ask how i know but it was a lesson learned about 38 years ago.
 

Half-Cocked

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Lol I just might at some point like you say. When I was younger and black powder was available on the on the shelf I was able to pick up a couple of pounds and did some unscrupulous things with it.

I figured like anything else I need to inspect it every time I go to fire it. Also if all else fails and they do start to splinter and explode after a few shots I'm going to line the bore with the steel insert. a lot of the historical cannons that were made with wood had the steel type inserts nevertheless the wood would split on the outside and was generally held together by iron rings.

Now in this case we're talking about a way smaller version so hopefully it will be able to withstand the powder charge. Mini things are just awesome! So even if it doesn't work out I'll make a non-firing replica.
 
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Why not just get a iron or steel dowel and drill the bore, I think the wood thing will be dangerous even with metal bands. Think wood pipe bomb. Be very careful with your quest. The metal rod should hold up with very light charges.
 

F.G. Ford

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Way back then, black powder was much less powerful than it is today. Also the projectile was not patched or tightly wrapped when seated on the powder.
That in itself presented problems, sometimes the poor powder would fizzle and fart without launching the ball, sometimes leaving the ball half stuck in the barrel.
Even when cannon were made with better iron, the cannon often blew up, killing or maiming the cannon crew.
If I were to spend enough effort in making a replica cannon, I would use the best materials possible, for my protection, and anyone else near by.
If you really want a wooden item to launch projectiles, I would make a crossbow or slingshot.
Lots of fun and safer!
 

Half-Cocked

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Why not just get a iron or steel dowel and drill the bore, I think the wood thing will be dangerous even with metal bands. Think wood pipe bomb. Be very careful with your quest. The metal rod should hold up with very light charges.
Nevermind what I said here as steel insert = smart. Lol see following post.

I understand what you're saying and the thing behind the steel insert is that if I don't have to buy one right now I'd rather not I can go in my backyard and just make a little Cannon. I have made improvised explosives (fire crackers) in order for this to truly be a pipe bomb there has to be an obstruction for pressure to build.

As long as I can bore out the center a little wider than the BB kind of like a shotgun and keep my fuse hole the proper size to deal with the back pressure the pressure should have a place to go without exploding the wooden barrel.

I think I'm going to go ahead and build a rough model and try it out if it blows up then I definitely know I'm going to need some type of steel insert.

Also probably going to use a long fuse on the first fires lol. That along with a very small powder charge.

I do appreciate and thank you your concern sir. anytime you play with this stuff it's experimental to say the least.
 
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Half-Cocked

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After saying that though there is one concern hidden here it is. Cannon goes off BB gets embedded in the wooden barrel without exiting then that would definitely be an obstruction which would cause the cannon to probably explode near the fuse port. Second thought maybe I will get that steel.
 

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Look up ye book 'Round Balls and rammers' by Harold Peterson. Back in the day some light cannon were made by wrapping a light metal bore piece with wrappings of wet leather which dried hard to provide resistance to the explosive pressure. Evidently they worked with light charges and were much more portable. Just an idea for a HC piece. Geo.
 

Half-Cocked

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Look up ye book 'Round Balls and rammers' by Harold Peterson. Back in the day some light cannon were made by wrapping a light metal bore piece with wrappings of wet leather which dried hard to provide resistance to the explosive pressure. Evidently they worked with light charges and were much more portable. Just an idea for a HC piece. Geo.
That is very interesting! I found the book and it's available as a library e book. however my local library has some strange politics that exclude this of Flint Michigan from downloading anyting even though it is from the Genesee county library.

I know this is off topic a little but this is one of the strangest things I had to encounter and I don't know who to talk to about this.

it does not seem right that you would have a county library excluded residences of a single town from being able to Access digital content. The city of Flint is in Genesee county. yet it is the only city that is not allowed to access digital content.

I wonder if they mention that when they're looking for funding from the residents of Flint. Smh.
 

Half-Cocked

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At the very least I will make the exterior look like either a colonial or civil war style. I’m looking at pictures and there’s very little difference between the two At least from what I’ve seen
 

Half-Cocked

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I will pass on any wooden barrel of any size.
I do have a steel insert now that is a bit larger than the bbs. That should accommodate some bore fowling. I also plan on putting that insert into a half inch oak dowel. then putting that assembly into a larger 1” dowel. Then I will shape the cannon.

Don’t know how well that will go because I don’t have a lathe. Maybe I can rig a drill some how.
 
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Treestalker

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At the very least I will make the exterior look like either a colonial or civil war style. I’m looking at pictures and there’s very little difference between the two At least from what I’ve seen
I'd make the first one very plain; that way if it blows up you're not out the artwork and labor. As I recall the leather guns weren't much to look at anyway.
 

Half-Cocked

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I hear you load and clear on that one. May need a rough test prototype.

the steel insert is a double edged sword if it works great it'll add structural strength however if it is destined to fail it just added metal shrapnel.

Oh well great inventors can't be concerned with such things.
Onward!


I'd make the first one very plain; that way if it blows up you're not out the artwork and labor. As I recall the leather guns weren't much to look at anyway.
 

Treestalker

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I hear you load and clear on that one. May need a rough test prototype.

the steel insert is a double edged sword if it works great it'll add structural strength however if it is destined to fail it just added metal shrapnel.

Oh well great inventors can't be concerned with such things. Onward!
Onward thru the fog! Just don't forget to duck, LOL!
 

goodshot

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I wonder if the "leather wrapped" barrel was rawhide, which would shrink when dried.
 

Billy Boy

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I have wanted one of these mini bb cannon you find on eBay or Amazon. Then it got me thinking I wonder if wood can withstand the small charge.

I did some research and that is where I confirmed my suspicion. Cannons were made from wood at one point. They were made of wood and reinforced with iron rings around or rope wrapped around wooden cannons. Sometimes only being used for as little as one shot before the split.

So I am going to attempt to build my own wooden mini bb shooting cannon. I will whittle the wood and then bore out the center and add a fuse hole. Later I will have to figure out something for wheels or make it fixed to a block of wood weighted with a sand bag.

It's my hope that using lighter charges will then fire harden the bore for additional strength. Then it is a simple matter of add a fuse then powder wad bb and another wad.

Should be a nice project and saves me 25 bucks! Plus if they are good enough I can take my time making a more authentic rope wrapped looking one.

What do you guys think?
Health insurance paid up??
 

toot

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I think you`ll end up with splinters everywhere, eventually. Maybe not the first shot, maybe not the second, but eventually and probably sooner than eventually. Don’t ask how i know but it was a lesson learned about 38 years ago.
and I guess that you never forgot about it!!
 

Half-Cocked

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Come on gentleman can’t live your whole life being a scaredy-cat. Where is the macho bravissimo?

I ain’t scared of a little fire cracker even if it does go off. Bigger things to fear like an ied.
 
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