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Old 1st October 2010, 05:42 AM   #1
Mr. Scratch
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Default Hand Cannon Project - Help w/ Stock?

Hi, new guy here. I recently acquired this big guy, who weighs in at 9" long, about 2.75" wide, 31mm bore, and weighs 12 lb or so. I'm not sure of origins, but I think maybe Chinese as it came with a bunch of Chinese pole cannons.





Wherever it comes from, it looks close enough to a European handcannon that I'm considering furnishing it to suit. My problem is, I don't care for the tiller variety of furnishings that most of these early guns were originally equiped with, nor does my fireplace mantel (where this will reside) have the space for one. It probably sounds ridiculous when talking about historic weapons, but my aesthetics run more toward the appearances of the later rifle-style buttstocks. I'd ideally like something stout and short, with a blunderbuss-like aspect. So what I'm looking for (and hoping folks here have other examples of) are handcannons of the period that have shorter and more musket-like wood.

Here are a couple I've dug up:



This one may be Chinese, and is probably much smaller (modern handgun size), but I like the appearance:


The stock on this wheellock grenade launcher is ideal, but obviously too modern - though I'm looking hard for a similar period example:



Some sketches of some possible directions I'd like to take the stock:



So...does anyone have any advice or opinions about what I should or should not do, or anything to add about the cannon itself? I want this to look good, but don't want to be so farby that my medieval weapon aficionado friends turn their faces away from me in shame.
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Last edited by Mr. Scratch : 1st October 2010 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 1st October 2010, 02:14 PM   #2
Matchlock
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Welcome Mr. Scratch,

It's an interesting piece worth pondering on, no doubt. It's definitely not European though and not that old either. As you have dug up many illustrations from some of my older threads you probably know that earliest firearms are exactly my field of expertise. Please look closely at both the shape and the surface of your item and compare them to the ones in my pictures.

A Chinese provenance of the 19th or even the early 20th century is much probable in my opinion. As I am not an expert of Oriental weapons though I am afraid I cannot tell you what the stick stock originally looked like. The inspirations you chose are all strictly German and formally inapt for restocking your barrel.

Best,
Michael

Last edited by Matchlock : 1st October 2010 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 12:58 AM   #3
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Hi folks,

Anybody else wiling to say 'hi' and 'welcome!' to our new member Mr. Scratch?!

Please c'mon, buddies! We all are a community after all and cannot really actually prosper without mutual impulses ... (to each his own subject, of course) - but: please do respond any way you can ...

Thanks, and best as always,
Michael

Last edited by Matchlock : 2nd October 2010 at 01:45 AM.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 03:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Hi folks,

Anybody else wiling to say 'hi' and 'welcome!' to our new member Mr. Scratch?!

Please c'mon, buddies! We all are a community after all and cannot really actually prosper without mutual impulses ... (to each his own subject, of course) - but: please do respond any way you can ...

Thanks, and best as always,
Michael


Welcome to the forum Mr Scratch ,
this is certainly not my area....Michael is certainly the man 'for the job'. Judging by the patina it probably isn't that old and the shape is quite 'crisp'.
I have been digging for further information about the possible origins of your piece but have been unsucessful , but have discovered that there are available 'working' replica's, some still manufactured/ available for sale, today.
Micheal....Would stocks on hand gonnes be 'standardised' I wonder....or, if fairly standard did individuals modify to suit their needs ? If this is the case...perhaps it gives Mr Scratch more 'flexibility' in designing/making a stock to suit the barrel ?

Kind Regards David
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Old 2nd October 2010, 05:48 PM   #5
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Thanks for the howdy Michael and Katana.

Yes, the cannon looks to have some element of lathe manufacture as it is pretty evenly made (as opposed to the roughness of hand forging). The Chinese used handcannon type designs well into the 19th Century (and maybe into the 20th in small villages), and my guess would be this is such a piece.

My initial plan with this gun was to give it an original Chinese stock if I found such a stock to look good (aesthetics are important here). However, after countless hours wasted (okay, not entirely wasted, as I learned a lot about handgonnes in general, but I didn't find what I was looking for), and nearly 1/2 dozen forums joined and questioned, I haven't found any images or references to a complete Chinese gun of this style outside of the small image I posted already of a "pistol" type firearm.

So I'm now also open to the idea of a suitable European stock. In spite of the obvious manufacturing differences between my gun and the much older European variety, I think they were probably used in similar fashion, and bear a superficial resemblance. And again, while I want some historical accuracy, I'm putting the appearance first on this as it is primarily a decorative piece, with it's value as a historical example necessarily running a bit behind that.

If worst comes to worst I can marry it to a stock that looks cool (to me) but is a bit anachronistic, but given that there does seem to be a bit of variation with these guns, I'm still hoping to run across a historic example that would be suitable, or perhaps be told "your sketch of stock C might have happened, but stock B is completely preposterous because of yada yada yada."

Anyway, this isn't my field of expertise and I've obviously got a lot to learn, so I'm open to all advice and suggestions.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 06:10 PM   #6
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I'm not an expert, but the one thing I've noticed about the examples is that the have a band in the middle of the barrel, to help hold it in the wooden stock. Since that band is missing in the specimen, you need to have another mechanism for holding the barrel to the stock.

Best,

F
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Old 2nd October 2010, 06:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
I'm not an expert, but the one thing I've noticed about the examples is that the have a band in the middle of the barrel, to help hold it in the wooden stock. Since that band is missing in the specimen, you need to have another mechanism for holding the barrel to the stock.

Best,

F


I've got a very skilled blacksmith on retainer.

My hope is to wrap the band around the barrel with a tab at the bottom to join the band ends together. The tab will insert into a slot in the stock, and a rod will run through the stock and tab to hold it all together. The effect should be a band secures the cannon without having to attach on the exterior of the stock. Again, like I presume of the "pistol" example.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attac...tid=62853&stc=1
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Old 2nd October 2010, 07:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
Welcome to the forum Mr Scratch ,

Micheal....Would stocks on hand gonnes be 'standardised' I wonder....or, if fairly standard did individuals modify to suit their needs ? If this is the case...perhaps it gives Mr Scratch more 'flexibility' in designing/making a stock to suit the barrel ?

Kind Regards David



Hi David,

Thank you so much.

And: stocks seem to have not been standardized before ca. the mid-16th century in Central and Northern Europe. On the other hand, very few of them have actually survived 600 years but the barrels were restocked again and again in arsenals. Telling from a copule of actually existing items, plus, and especially, the very scarce earliest original sources of illustration we know, I dare say that variations were quite common.

Best,
Michael

Last edited by Matchlock : 2nd October 2010 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 3rd October 2010, 03:43 AM   #9
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Here are a couple used in Korea in the late Joseon dynasty (the entire dynasty lasted from 1392-1910).
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Old 3rd October 2010, 12:32 PM   #10
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Welcome to the forum, Mr. Scratch.
Just a pity your barrel is not an ancient genuine one ... even probably a recent output .
If i well understand, it is your desire to give it a nice look, mounting it in a stock format that pleases you and your medieval weapon aficionado friends, althoug not necessarily being an historically matching one.
Don't your friends give you some suggestions themselves? That would increase the probabilities of having a setup that would please them and also please you, at having had their knowledged participation.
On the other hand and as Michael confirms, stock shapes in the old days were a bit "free style" ... pass the term; this not meaning that Chinese mounted their cannons with European stocks and vice versa.
If you search well all (or almost all) the threads in this forum, you will find a countless number of handcannons, with distinct stock attitudes; some original, some following as much as possible the original idea and even some improvisations, result of observing so many examples posted here and also out there.
Then you may certainly be able to improvise your set up, compatible with your and your friends tastes; and also fitting your fireplace mantel.
Meanwhile and concerning freestyle setups, here are some solutions i found for some of my early European barrels.
Also you will find plenty coherent examples if you browse, for example, on Michael (Matchlock) threads.
All the best.
Fernando
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Old 4th October 2010, 06:59 PM   #11
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Hi 'Nando,

Thanks a whole lot for promoting my threads, my friend!

Here is the original, actually existing late 14th century example which your fine reconstruction work illustrated at the end of your latest post is obviously based on. The hook is a modernization of ca. 1430, the earliest date when hooks on guns turned up first as I stated on several earlier occasions. The hole drilled thru the stock was most probably for pivoting on some additional mount.

It is preserved in the Firearms Museum of Suhl, Thuringia, and measures about 65 cm overall. It was a find from the attic of a nearby Schloss!!!

Best,
Michael
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Old 4th October 2010, 08:21 PM   #12
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... And the second ones posted were inspired in a XV century Germanic "baton a feu" exhibited at the Chateau de Castelnaud.

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Old 4th October 2010, 08:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluelake
Here are a couple used in Korea in the late Joseon dynasty (the entire dynasty lasted from 1392-1910).


Well, there it is! A pair of real Asian cannons, at last! The top one is especially curious, as it appears it was maybe wielded like a pistol-gripped shotgun!

After seeing this post over the weekend and thus widening my search for other nationalities, I did manage to stumble across a Chinese example that is similar to what I'm looking for, with the buttstock included. Granted, this has a longer barrel, but the technology is essentially the same, and I don't think it is a stretch to consider that guns like mine might have had similar stocks.
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Last edited by Lee : 5th October 2010 at 03:13 AM. Reason: Sorry, but links to items currently in the marketplace are not permitted
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