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David Kailey

Replicated riveted latch sets, and a speakeasy door/grill

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I was commissioned to reproduce a latch set for a customer in Arizona, and a Speakeasy door and grill for a local customer.

Small 7.5" x 14" door and grill


Plasma cut 14 ga, weld on hinges, with a squirrel tail handle latch set.


This is the original latch set I was asked to reproduce. Its a bit crude but the customer really liked it. the end of the handle and the clip are slightly forged out and then there are very thin fuller marks on the ends, so i duplicated that. I was not able to match the 3/8" rivet because the ones made now have a slightly smaller head. I did grind an angle on the latching end of the handle because the clip is angled and this allows the latch to friction fit nice and tight, so the doors do not rattle. I had 2 hours tooling up a couple jigs, and about 5 hours cutting, forging, drilling holes, assembling,....... I had to heat all of them up to orange heat so the unforged parts would scale up and be wire brushed, for a more consistent look that the customer asked for, the orange heat removes all the mill scale and so the rusted patina will take more evenly over the piece. I used scale dust on the piece to work the handle loose from the mounting plate its riveted to. Scale dust is very abrasive and effective at getting the handles loosened up so the function nicely. 


8 sets forged and riveted together.


Tomorrow I will pull them out of the muriatic acid Spray with hydrogen peroxide to rust them, then apply wax to darken the rust up to match the original.

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On 11/29/2016 at 9:00 AM, ThomasPowers said:

If they continue to loosen up will the handles be so heavy that they will open by themselves?

I asked the same thing. but the sample I was sent dose not have that issue. But I was concerned about this as well. that is why I ground a bevel on the latch and angled the hook side so it kind of friction fits and holds its self.


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Another route. I've seen a couple of fireplace doors where the handle was intentionally heavy and the keeper was upside down from that shown above. Gravity on the handle holds the latch bar in place, and one lifts on the handle to open.

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