2011 - Volume #35, Issue #4, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
He Built His Own Civil War Cannon
The cannon's wheels are 9 ft. in diameter and the fiberglass bore can handle bowling ball-sized shells.
Ahlman started with 14-in. plastic pipe. He then built a form around it out of increasing and decreasing diameter rings of plywood. He wrapped the framework in fiberglass.
"I used my grandson's basketball for the cascabel (the ball shape at the end of the cannon)," chuckles Ahlman. "The inner wheels were made from big telephone wire spools with 1 1/4-in. steel spokes. The hubs are bottoms of 5-gal. pails."
Ahlman mortised 6-in. wood fence posts with grooves to cover the steel spokes and then filled in the grooves with more wood. The outside rim of the wheel was built up with plywood covered by rubber belting.
The axle was made out of wood, as was the carriage, which is hollow to reduce the weight. Even using plastic and fiberglass where he could, the entire cannon weighs about a ton. The two wheels alone weigh more than 600 lbs.
"It's well balanced," says Ahlman. "One guy can lift up the tongue and roll it around."
While the cannon can't be fired, it's still getting lots of attention sitting in front of Ahlman's Morristown, Minn. store.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ahlman's Gun Shop, 9525 W. 230th St., Morristown, Minn. 55052 (ph 507 685-4244 or 507 685-4243; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ahlmans.com).
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