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How to Fit a Latch

Skill Level: Intermediate


If you are about to fit a latch then this is a must read. In this walk through, step by step guide the hope is to make the process easier and therefore more enjoyable. It is important to start with that you have a top quality latch, this will ensure longevity and also that the door will close correctly.


Ensure The Door Is The Correct Way Around And Find The Lock Block!!

Firstly it is very important that the door is the correct way round as you could potentially ruin the door by drilling in to the side of the door without the lock block. It is not hard to ensure the door is the correct way around. At the top of a new door the word front will be printed over to one side. This means that there is a section of timber fixed inside the frame of the door which is there to allow the door lock or latch to be fitted, this the lock block.


Mark The Point On The Door Where The Door Handle and Thus The Latch Is To Go!!

Mark on the door where you want the door handle and then using a carpenters square draw a line around the edge and both sides of the door. This line wants to extend about three inches toward the center of the door. Ensure that the line is drawn lightly so it can be easily rubbed off when you want to paint. This line serves as a marker for every part of fitting the latch.

Drill The Hole Into The Lock Block!!

On the edge of the door mark the center point of the line. Using a suitable drill, either an auger bit or a wood bit would be the advised choice. Attach to the drill bit a piece of tape to the length of the hole you require, this will be the combined length of the latch barrel and the latch plate. This will ensure that you do not drill too deeply. The diameter of the bore of the latches differ however the most common sizes are either 18mm or 22mm.

You can of course measure the size of the latches bore yourself. Now, making sure the drill is perfectly level, drill into the lock block where you have marked the center as being, ensuring not to exceed the tape line on your drill.


Chisel A Space For The Latch Plate And Make Sure The Barrel Fits!!

When the hole has been drilled, slide the latch barrel in so that the plate sits against the side of the door.

Draw around the edge of the plate with a sharp pencil and chisel out the insides to the depth of the latch plate, usually about 2mm. This is the most difficult, technically, part of the process as you are working very near to the edge of the door and it would be easy not to go over the lines and not leave any of the wood. Also you could easily dislodge the thin cover on a hollow door so be careful.

The best and surest way to guard against these possible problems is to use the same chisel technique as you would for a hinge.

Chisel out many lines to the required depth then take the rest out in stages so as not to take too much at once.

Remember that you must leave the pencil line or the latch recess will be too big.


Mark On The The Screw Holes and Lightly Drill A Hole For The Screw Edges!!

When the recess has been chiseled out, some latches have a raised edge around the hole and so do not sit flush to the door this can be rectified by using a mallet to gently tap it into place. The best way however, is to push the latch into the recess and mark the center of the screw holes with a pencil.

Withdraw the latch and lightly drill on to the marks with an 8mm wood bit, this allows the hole edges to sink into the door ensuring it sits absolutely flush to the door.


Hold Barrel To The Side Of The Door and Mark On The Door Where The Bar Goes!!

Withdraw barrel once more and place on the side of the door parallel to where the latch is to be fitted. It is important that you make sure that the plate is flush to the door thus ensuring the bar goes in the correct place. Push a pencil through the hole in the barrel and mark on the side of the door where to drill. Do this for both sides of the door.


Drill Through The Door From Both Sides and Attach Door Handles and Barrel!!

You can now drill through the door, do this from both sides. The securing plate of the handle should be able to cover any hole larger than the bar going through it, the same drill bit used for the barrel could be used here. Do be sure to check this however. When the hole has been drilled through the barrel can be put back in and, using pilot holes, can be screwed in. Push the bar through and slide the door handles onto the bar, they too can be screwed in using pilot holes. Be careful here as the screws are often slotted head screws and the driver can slip out quite easily and scratch the door handle.

Extend Mark From Door Around The Frame and Chisel Out A Space For The Keep!!

Push Door into the opening of the frame. Now, using a pencil, continue the line drawn earlier for the barrel around onto the frame. Hold the keep up against the frame with the line in the center; now mark all around the outside edge of the keep with a pencil.

Using the same technique as used for the latch plate; cut out a space for the keep plate. Screw the keep into position, and then using a 6mm chisel, remove the inside of the keep through the keep plate to allow the latch to click in to place when the door is closed.


Tools you will need:
Stanley 4-18-298 3 Piece Cold Chisel Set
Stanley 4-18-298 3 Piece Cold Chisel Set
- Rolson 6 Piece Screwdriver Set
Rolson 6 Piece Screwdriver Set

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