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Wooden mini bb cannon

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Zonie

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Half-Cocked:
I strongly suggest that you make a non-firing cannon instead of something that can actually be fired. Especially if those pieces of metal and wood shown 4 posts up are going to be used to make it from.

The wood will provide absolutely no strength when a cannon made out of it is fired. Even wrapped with something, it won't resist the explosion of gunpowder.

While your digging around for ideas about cannons, take a good look at the thickness of the barrels as compared with the size of the bore. The wall thickness of the earlier cannons was at least as thick if not up to two times thicker than the bore.
 

mathews186

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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?
Early cannon were made by coopers/barrel - those who made wooden casks. The gun barrels were made of wood held together with iron bands - as was a wooden cask for storing liquid. This is also the origin of the word barrel as associated with a gun.
 

azmntman

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age 10 when I first got into this I was using dads drills in a 2x4 and shot bb's all over the neighborhood. Zero accuracy but anything with smoke and bang at age 10 was great fun!
 

robes

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I got a small bit of shrapnel in my arm as a kid too, from similar not well thought out hijinks. Check out Signal Cannons by Beaufort Naval Armorers - Bircher Inc. for what you really need. They have a cork mortar and a golf ball mortar, or used to, certainly expensive but less likely to lose an eye.... the signal cannons are beautiful but cost a fortune..
 

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GomezMunoz1951

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Back when I was a teenager I built a sort of cannon. I took a 1/2 inch pipe and drilled a hole in a square piece of wood and drove the pipe into the hole. I made a breech block out of a hinge and used to load ball bearings, BBs and anything else I could fit, and then stuff a bunch of fire crackers in behind and had a fuse stick out. The hinge flipped up and covered the end of the pipe and I made a handle to close the breech fairly tight. That thing would shoot like a shotgun. I put a lot of holes in our barn wall with it. I also found a piece of wood that sort of looked like a Kentucky pistol. I drilled it out and slid a piece of pipe down the hole and made a sort of breech and loaded that with BBs and ball bearings. One time a bunch of dogs were rampaging through one of our pastures and I took aim, gave it some elevation since they were a bit away and lit the fuse and I must have hit something since they yipped and ran away... Neighbor never controlled his dumb dogs..
 

Sam squanch

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Jeff barracks in St. Louis had a mortar made from a stump at one time. Don’t know if it’s still there or not.
 

44-henry

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If you want to be picking splinters out of your hide have at it. Here are a couple photos of the aftermath of a piece of wood that exploded on a table saw a few nights back. I will preface this by saying I was not in line with the work, but it shot out at an angle. I dare say a small charge of powder could launch wood particles considerably faster.

I got lucky here as my wallet took the brunt of it, though it still needed to be pulled out of my leg in the end.
 

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Essex

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Years ago I had a group of gentlemen from Oxford, England contact me about doing testing of cannon that were used on the end of pikes. It was cheaper and easier to fly to Virginia and do the testing than get the permits and permission needed in England. Some of the ships from the Spanish Armada had been found in the North Sea and preservation of some of the cargo and wood components was excellent. This and the Spanish archives gave the directions on how the small wooden cannon were made and loaded. The barrels were made from olive wood and banded with copper bands. There was no touch hole, just a slow match that went down the bore and the three or four charges and balls loaded one on top of the other. Similar to a roman candle. The flames were impressive, the damage from the 1/2 inch balls not so much. They barely punched thru card board. None of the pike cannon lasted past a second loading but then again we were not sure that they were meant to. I still have a small splinter of olive wood somewhere in the basement. I think a wood such as gum or locust would have been a better choice, since they dont split as badly.
 

Zonie

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I think the early hand cannons were more of a psychological weapon, than a weapon that would cause extensive damage to the person being hit with the projectile.
A gun belching fire and smoke at you accompanied by a resounding BOOM would definitely get your attention and if there were many of them that you had to face, it could demoralize the troops.

Inducing fear of the known and the unknown in your enemy can be a useful tool in warfare.
 
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