Surely one of the more unusual projects undertaken by Christopher Hall, "The Gentleman Joiner", was the restoration of our cherished 24-pounder cannon, a gift to Douglas many years ago, and used on the set of the mini-series I Remember Nelson. Having withstood the ravages of time and weather for more than thirty years, it gradually and not very gracefully fell victim to the sailor's enemy: rot. With enthusiasm and skill, the Gentleman Joiner rose to the challenge in 2010. Upon completion of the project, the Gentleman Joiner commented: "Now this should settle any scores with the neighbours!"

The following photo essay (with captions on all but the first image by Christopher Hall) chronicles the restoration of the storied gun in 2010. You may visit Christopher Hall and see more of his work at

Master craftsmen Christopher Hall and Tony Whiteman secure the barrel for a little gun-running down the highway to Christopher's workshop in rural Surrey. It would have been fun to see the expressions on the faces of other drivers, or Christopher's response had he been pulled over by the local constabulary. (Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"The barrel has been removed and the individual pieces separated for copying." (Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"The front axle was originally made up of three sections bolted together, probably due to a lack of sizeable timber." (Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"The two sides were made up of eight sections, dowelled and glued together to form a section 24" (600 mm) high by 5" (125 mm) wide. These sections were then through bolted with a continuous rod and bolted together. I used Canadian Douglas fir for two reasons: its excellent properties as an outside, strong timber and the second for sentimental reasons, its name (for Douglas) and sourced from Canada (Kim)." (Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"The wheels were interesting and challenging to make, as they could not be made on a lathe due to the centre hole for the hub. To make these, I laminated four pieces of wood together and then glued this finished section to another four pieces -- but at right angles, thus forming a very strong square wheel. The rounding process was done by making an MDF (medium density fibreboard) template, and using a router with a long straight cutter I was able to progressively deepen the cut from both sides, forming the outside edge and centre hub. The four wheels took a week alone to make." (Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"The finished article, showing how the grain is laminated together in opposite directions, so that the annualar rings work against each other, preventing warping." (Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"One of the sides glued and bolted together. To bolt these eight pieces of wood together, each piece had to be drilled on a purpose-made jig to ensure the holes were aligned and perpendicular." (Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"This picture clearly shows how the annular rings are glued up together in opposing directions to prevent warping." (Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"The 'Admiral' overseeing the plans." (Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"The completed carriage prior to the barrel being refitted."
(Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"The Admiral checks on the final fit of one of the wheels."
(Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"After many, many hours the cannon is ready for final finishing and staining."
(Photo by Christopher Hall))

"The carriage was too heavy to be moved in one piece, so it had to be assembled at the Admiral's dockyard. Oh dear-- what is it about men and socks!" (Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"All the original iron work was shot blasted and powder coated prior to refitting."
(Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"A few final adjustments ..."
(Photo by Kimberley Reeman)

"The finished product ..."
(Photo by Christopher Hall)


Copyright Highseas Authors Limited