A landscape architect firm in Boston called with a conundrum. They had re-built a beautiful hundred year-old gate but the only latch that fit on it was an old gravity latch with a string on it. The client wanted an architectural latch that was more complementary to the home. At first they’d thought that an off-the-shelf thumb latch would work, but because this gate had pickets and its uniquely arched upper rail, the thumb latch was not going to fit.
The vertical edge of the gate (the stile) was 2″ wide, which left us with no off-the-shelf choices at all. Additional constraints were that the latch needed to be self-latching (client preference) and powder coated black to keep in style with the home.
We decided to design a petite, simple lever latch for the project. Although a ring turn might have been more historically appropriate, a lever was chosen simply because there was not enough room for a ring to turn; with a spring-loaded latch we’d run the risk of the gate closing on the ring.
Some engineering was required on the inner workings of the latch due to the small size of the plate. We need to scale down the dimension of the latch-arm so it didn’t look out of whack with the diminutive plate and handle. Again, due to the tight clearance, we chose a surface-mounted strike plate that would allow the latch-arm to attain the most up-down movement possible.
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