Then you get a closer look...
And in addition to the rust, the paint on the carriage is worn away to almost nothing and the wood is starting to split.
So you sand the heck out of the iron barrel, taking all the rust off, and buff down the wood and pick a nice, pleasant, greenish-blue-grey that matches what you seem to remember the carriage being painted in the first place.
And then you paint. Flat black Rustoleum on the barrel, a nice exterior flat paint on the wood.
At some point you realize that you've gotten some blue-grey on the black and some black on the blue-grey, so you spend a few hours detailing the whole thing.
Then you finally finish, and it looks very pretty.
Also--some answers to good questions:
Anachronist asked how much the cannon cost. Well...good question. I think this one was purchased used (not by us) for about $8000. You could probably swing it for less if you found someone extra nice to make the carriage for you. Anachronist also asked if anyone has tried to steal it. You know, we're really overprotective and worried about that, to be honest...but nope. We keep it locked in a trailer.
It just uses basic old black powder--we use 1F or cannon-grade. Ironically, when we sanded off all the buildup on the barrel, we found the manufacturer's mark that said to fire black powder only. Fortunately, we already knew that.
Carrie asked if we needed a license. I'm no international legal expert, so I can only answer for us--in our state, we don't. In fact, many states treat educational reproductions differently than "normal" firearms--in my state, you can actually bring reproduction and antique weapons onto school property (with permission) for demonstration purposes (which we think is pretty fab as education is what we're all about. And kids learn more about history when a cannon is involved for some reason).
And the obvious question--what did our neighbors think?!? Well, the sweet older lady who used to own our house was enthralled. But the cranky hippie next door was annoyed that it was pointing at his defunct school bus (yes, you read that right).
Anything else? Hit me up in the comments!