Cannon Maker: Life is a Blast for Lanark County Cannon Maker


Tony Walsh has lived in Watson Nook in Lanark County since 1978; A lover of his geography and his individuals.

“Lanark County is sort of a land-locked Cape Breton,” he smiles.

“Good individuals. Good space. To me, it is heaven.”

Gifted to the previous weapons technician and longtime, retired blacksmith within the subject, after a 30-year army profession within the Canadian Armed Forces.

Or so he thought.

Walsh, now 77, has by no means been one to place his ft up, or decelerate. He’s too busy to blow up in pursuit of his explosive ardour for historical past.

Extra weapons.

“As a blacksmith, I began doing metalwork and making elements for cannon salespeople,” he says.

However when that particular person was out of labor, Walsh had an concept.

“I had an entire bunch of cannon stuff that I made, and I figured I needed to promote it. And with a purpose to promote it, I ended up making the entire cannon,” he mentioned with amusing.

“And that is the way it started.”

Earlier than lengthy, Walsh was taking orders from throughout North America. Civil Warfare revelers and museums wanted weapons.

So did Sign HIll and the Halifax Citadel in Parks Canada, Newfoundland.

For forty years, Walsh has been manufacturing cannons to the best specs, utilizing historic technical drawings and written descriptions from the period.

His present asset is the six-pound breech loading rifle, modeled after a cannon designed by Sir William Armstrong of Britain within the 1850s.

“I actually take pleasure in it as a result of I attempt to imitate Armstrong’s strategies,” Walsh says.

“The person was a genius. The barrel was not one piece. One shrugged on the opposite, so the barrel inside is 5 ten thousand inches greater than the opening it is going into. I constructed an Armstrong from begin to end in about two months I can,” he says.

“Simply in itself, that is $22 thousand.”

Whereas most clients don’t launch projectiles from Walsh’s cannons (that is extra in regards to the bang and smoke), his weapons are able to firing.

His Accomplice Mountain Rifle is utilized by Reenactor teams within the US to fireside at targets.

“It must be correct as a result of they hearth it dwell,” he says.

Tony Walshow

Vintage equipment is vital to the manufacturing in Walsh’s store. There is a century-old lathe and an enormous energy hammer, which saves the blacksmith time and vitality when sharpening metal.

On the age of 77, Walsh feels job loss. Manufacturing each part, together with massive wood wheels, could be bodily taxing.

“A lot of the wheels I work with are about 5 ft lengthy and weigh about two and a half hundred kilos, so there is no approach you’ll be able to throw them round,” he says.

Regardless of the challenges of the job, watching their weapons work makes all of it worthwhile.

“I’ve a ball,” he laughs.

So the journey of Tony Walsh continues.

“So long as I am cranky,” he smiles.

Appears like there’s nonetheless loads of hearth left on the Lanark County cannon maker. Should watch for his retirement.

“I need to work inside three days of shoveling sand of their face.”


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