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How to Build a 12 pound Mountain Howitzer Cannon 

...by Buck Stix





Mountain Howitzer old Carriage Cheek Bands

One of the last things to be completed on the Mountain Howitzer Carriage was the metal work that surrounded the Cheeks.  Although the Carriage looked functional, the Barrel was held in place by an improvised one-piece Cap Square weldment that was fastened to the Cheeks with 3 six inch long carriage bolts.   This temporary attaching method would allow limited use until the Trunnion Plate and Cap Square were completed.

Once again, some of the parts were fabricated by following the detailed drawings, while others were purchased complete from available Mountain Howitzer hardware sources.   

>> If you want a set of Mountain Howitzer Carriage or Barrel blueprints, CLICK HERE <<

The Cheek hardware consists of the Trunnion Plate (the curved metal band that wraps around the Cheek) the Cap Square (the top piece that clamps down on the Trunnion) and the associated bolts, nuts, chains, and screws.  The Axle Band at the bottom was previously manufactured and is shown to clarify how everything ties together.

Mountain Howitzer Trunnion Plate     Mountain Howitzer Cap Squares


The Cheeks were removed from the Carriage and the Trunnion Plate outline was traced onto the surface.  The Cheeks were originally made slightly oversized to allow ample material for this later upgrade.  Once this "matching" of wood to metal started, associated parts were numbered to the Cheeks to keep matching parts from being later mixed.

Mountain Howitzer Trunnion Plate fitting  Mountain Howitzer Trunnion Plate tracing  Mountain Howitzer Trunnion Plate fitting and tracing


Excess material was first removed with a band saw and then a spindle sander was used to carefully follow the scribed line.  By test fitting the metal and re-sanding as required, it was possible to achieve a very close metal-to-wood fit.

Mountain Howitzer Cheek sawing      Mountain Howitzer Cheek sanding


After fitting was completed, the Cheeks were returned to the Carriage and the 4 holes were drilled for the appropriate bolts.  This hole drilling step is an exacting task that requires a little patience and finesse.  The location of the holes (above and below) were scribed onto the top and bottom of the Cheeks.  Although 3 of the 4 holes are oriented nearly vertical, the Chin Bolt (the bolt with the hook on top) angles down and forward from behind the trunnion to the front of the axle and on through the Axle Band.  A 1/4" diameter, 12" long drill was used for preliminary drilling.  Holes were drilled "half-way" from the top and bottom until they intersected.  By using larger and larger drills, and drilling from top to bottom, and bottom to top, good hole alignment was achieved.  Final hole diameter of the 4 holes was 7/8".   


Mountain Howitzer Cheek Holes    Mountain Howitzer Cheeks with Trunnion Plate


After final fitting was completed, both wood and metal received a fresh coat of paint.  Next, all of the original Cheek Bolts were reinstalled through the trail, along with the new Trunnion Plate Bolts.  All Bolts were securely tightened which created an interlocked assembly that joined Cheeks to Trail and Cheeks to Axle.  And finally, the Eye Bolts with their Chains were screwed into the sides of the Cheeks at their appropriate locations.    

Mountain Howitzer Trunnion Plates done     Mountain Howitzer Barrel Installing


To install the Barrel, Cap Squares were removed, the Barrel was set into position, the Cap Squares were replaced.  The Cap Squares were then locked down with their Wedges.  We now have a completely authentic Civil War Mountain Howitzer Carriage ready for action. 

Mountain Howitzer with New Barrel Installed



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