Cannon preservation


A Carronade is a short smoothbore cast iron naval weapon introduced circa 1778 by Carron Foundry in Scotland.  The weapons have a short range, and ships with these became easy prey to those mounting rifled long guns, so after the War of 1812 the cannons were mostly discontinued.  The Confederacy used some during the Civil War.

IMG_4219The inscription “1723” denotes the weight.  This Carronade, a “32-pounder,” sits now at the big house, and the salt air will deteriorate the metal.  We needed to do some preservation work.

Having absolutely no knowledge of metals, I did some research.  The Superintendent of the Richmond  National Battlefield Park recommended painting the cannon.  We shied away from that.  Oil seemed a safer route.   The gun department of a local hunting outfitter advised that we not use any of their oils; they argued that metals have changed and modern oils would be risky.

So I called Dereck Glaser, a Master Blacksmith and founder of the New England School of Metalwork.  Dereck’s recipe was equal parts Boiled Linseed Oil and Thompson”s Water Seal, with a bit of Japan Driers added.  It worked great!  Dereck’s webs sites are: and

Here are before and after photos:



One Comment on “Cannon preservation”

  1. bam says:

    the bits of wisdom and esoterica you’ve mastered…..very cool that dereck was the place to turn for solid guidance….

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