Salem cannon restoration almost complete - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Salem cannon restoration almost complete

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Sanding down the edges for a smooth finish and making those perfect finishing touches.

The young pattern maker hammers in each spoke to the exact fit, all cut to the perfect measurements,

Zach Thomas checks and re-checks his work on the wheels that will be put on Salem’s World War I cannon.

"We didn't know how we were going to do it at first,” Thomas said.

But after hours of hammering out all the fine details Thomas has perfected these one-of-a-kind pieces. The cannon, once mangled after being hit by a drunk driver, is now completely restored, waiting with a fresh coat of paint at the city's maintanence shop.

“Most of what we do, people don't see it every day even though they may see it, it's around them. This is something that I would tell someone, ‘hey, I did that,’ Thomas proudly said.


For Mark Thomas, who has worked at the Pattern Shop since the beginning during the late 1980’s, this was a first.


"It's always something different, very seldom the same thing twice," Mark said.

Before the wheels landed into his hands, the city of Salem could only find one other shop in the nation to do the work - all the way in South Dakota.

As soon as Mark learned about the cannon, he jumped at the chance

"We told them that we were interested and they asked us to take a look at it and we ended up with it."

They say restoring a piece of history like this was full of surprises and challenges but it's as close to the real thing as you can get.

While the wheels may be new Zach is able to attach the original metal fittings that will bind the piece together, this all with the hopes of preserving a century old staple in Salem for another hundred years.

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