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Subject: Displaying iron cannon

Displaying iron cannon

From: Dave Mathieson <dave>
Date: Thursday, October 3, 2002
Jason M. Burns <oldcitymaritime [at] yahoo__com> writes

>What is the preferred method of displaying iron cannon outdoors
>today?  I have been asked to look at a few cannons here locally
>displayed.  Concrete plugs installed in the barrels of two 18th
>Century iron cannons are obviously not working and allowing water to
>get into the barrels.  What materials are being used to seal the
>barrels for display?

There are many different designs that can be applied to keep the
moisture from entering through the muzzle.  I will suggest that this
"plug" be flexible enough to mold itself to the irregularities of
the interior surface of the barrel.  I have found that too often
people have gone through great efforts to plug the muzzle only to
neglect the "firing hole".  This firing hole is another important
entry point for water and it too needs to be closed.

My recommendations are;

    *   First, thoroughly clean out the barrel of all debris.  An
        issue of importance is that you survey the cannon to make
        sure that it is not loaded!  It is not uncommon to find
        cannon that still have a full charge in them.  This can be
        very dangerous.  Check with your municipal or state police
        special services division to assist you, (bomb disposal
        unit).  One tool that I have found useful for cleaning the
        interior of an "empty" barrel has been an appropriate sized
        wire brush such as a chimney sweep may use.

    *   Second is to seal the interior surface of the barrel using a
        relatively soft wax with heat in the application.

    *   Third is to place the barrel of the cannon with a slight
        negative slant towards the muzzle which will prevent any
        accumulation of moisture that may seep in.

    *   Fourth is to fabricate the appropriate plugs for the muzzle
    and firing hole.

    *   Last, and the most difficult, is to form some type of
        overhead protection from the elements such as a tented
        cover, overhang, or something offering similar protection
        from the elements.

I realize that the last of my suggestions may be impossible to
execute due to personal taste or accepted norms.

David Mathieson
Supervisor of Conservation
Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.
Mystic, CT  06355
860-572-0711, x4260

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:26
                Distributed: Wednesday, October 9, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-16-26-007
Received on Thursday, 3 October, 2002

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