Monday, November 29, 2021

Installing Barn Door Latches

Materials Needed:

  • Super Glue or other fast-acting, strong glue.  This will do the bulk of the work of holding everything.
  • Masking Tape or Painter’s tape.
  • Pliers or tweezers.
  • 1/32in drill – I use my dremel but a pinvise will also work.  If using your dremel you will need a 1/32in collet.
  • 10 Short pins with domed metal heads.  I use sequin pins but you can also use regular pins cut down to size.

Parts Inventory:

These door latches come with four parts per latch.

  • Main body of the latch
  • 2 Brackets to hold the latch
  • 1 hook for the other side of the door opening.

Before proceeding to the mounting steps, please check that your door is hung correctly and stays closed mostly on its own.  A door that wants to pop open will put pressure on these latches that could cause them to bend or fail over time.


These latches are intended as a d├ęcor element with some functionality, not as a way to force stubborn doors to stay closed.  They should never be asked to accept weight or pressure.

Installing the Latch

1. Before you start, you should paint the latch the color you desire.  A nice chrome paint will make for a bright, shiny steel while black will give you a more wrought iron look.  I use spray paint for mine to give a nice, even finish but you can also prime and paint them by hand.  I recommend painting the whole of the latch but you can skip painting the parts of the hook and brackets that will be in direct contact with wood.

If your barn in a place that gets a lot of bright sunlight, make sure you paint these in a dark, opaque color to protect the UV resin from the sunlight.

2. Begin by positioning the latch on your door in the closed position.  Make sure there is enough space on the door above and below for the full height of the bracket and that you have overlapped to the wall or post by enough for the hook.

 

3. Take a small piece of masking tape or painter’s tape and tape the latch to the door by its handle. 

4. Apply a small amount of super glue to the back of each of the hook’s feet.

5. Position the hook on the post or wall next to the door.  Make sure there is enough clearance for the latch to fully clear the hook when rotated 90 degrees.  My drawing is a bit off, but also make sure that the feet of the hook are both fully on your wall or post (not hanging off at the top like my poorly drawn example.

 

6. Load up your 1/32in drill bit.  I use my dremel for this but you can also get a pinvise and do this manually.

7. Drill through each of the tiny holes on the hook’s feet (there is one on each foot).  Drill as far into the wood as the length of your pin.  If you want a guide, mark the drill bit with a small piece of tape at the depth you want to stop. If your pins are longer than the depth of your door/wall/post, cut them down first.

 

8. Repeat steps 3-6 for each of the brackets.  

One bracket should line up with the edge of the door on one side (or just slightly in from the edge) and be against the latch’s handle on the other side. 

The other should be against the curly end of the latch.

9. Finally, you should pin all the holes you drilled.  While this is largely cosmetic, the pins do create a backup should the adhesive you used fail to adhere. 

To apply the pins, hold the pin near the head with your pliers or tweezers and dip the rest of the pin’s length into the glue of your choice, I used the same super-glue I did to hold the brackets and hook.

Slip the pin into your pre-drilled hold and press it until the head is flush to the bracket or hook foot.  It may be a little roomy, the glue will do the work of filling that extra space and holding it in place.  

If you want the pin heads to match, dab a bit of a matching paint on top of each one.  If you want them to contrast, carefully paint them in the color you wish.  Or leave them silver.  You can also choose to carefully spray the heads before putting the pins in place.

10. Give the glue time to dry and then remove the tape holding the latch body in place.  It should slide easily back and forth and rotate 90 degrees upward.