Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blake Style Thumb Latch Hardware: Interior Door Installation and Latch Bar, Catch or Keeper Fixes

Hits continue apace on my two posts on thumb latches, which you can find by clicking on the "thumb latch" category along the righthand side of the home page under Topics. Today, I am making a third post on the topic, showing two things at once:  1) how a thumb latch is installed on an interior door, and 2) how a thumb latch can be tinkered with if it is not catching or latching properly.

Fair warning that I did not install or tinker with this latch. It seems to have been repaired a couple of times, but prior to me. In my mind's eye, I see Martin, the previous owner, up here with his ball peen hammer, sinking in a little silver nail to help the latch latch.

This is called a Blake style thumb latch, which according to Ed Donaldson Hardware Restorations,

were manufactured by most of the major hardware manufacturers for many years. Patented in 1842 -- this type of thumb latch could still be found in some form in catalogs for about 100 years.

In any case, without more ado, here is the outside of one of the bedroom doors upstairs ...

Close-up of the thumb-latch handle from the outside:

Now, close-up of the handle and the latching mechanism on the edge of the door ...

That mechanism is inset into the edge of the door, like so ...

Here are a few more clear views ...

Here's where the repair comes in. You see a small nail underneath the latch bar, keeping the latch bar high enough so that when it is pulled closed, the latch comes up and over the hook or catch or keeper on the doorframe.

Here's another view:

If the  nail wasn't there, the latch would stick under the keeper, rather than being in position to slide up and over ...

So that's one fix. There is another, which is to tinker with the position of the keeper. That has happened to our bathroom door, and I will do another post on that soon. In any case, here are a series of close-ups showing how the keeper is countersunk into the doorframe. 

You can see, just below it, another place where an earlier keeper was countersunk lower down in the frame. God knows when or why, but that's what I love about old houses. There's such a sense of unwritten, lived history.

And now, again, a series of photos showing the latch bar latching.

And now closed, the inside of the door. Don't mind the odd top hinge ... another fix for an old door.

And there you have it. An old thumb latch for an old door.

1 comment:

  1. I read this post your explanation is very good by using photographs. I think thumb latch is nice idea when you are going to install it in inside doors of home.