How to build a wooden latch for a gate

Written by cameron easey
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How to build a wooden latch for a gate
Wooden latches are an inexpensive way to secure a gate for a fence. (wooden gate image by Kathy Burns from

Wooden gates that are attached to a wooden fence will require a latch, of some kind, to keep the gate secured when it is closed. A metal latch can be used or, if you do not require this type of latch one, can be made out of another material, such as wood. This can be done by using a scrap piece of wood or a piece of fence board that is left over from the construction of the fence.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • 1-by-2-inch board
  • Circular saw
  • Power drill
  • Bolt
  • Nut
  • Socket wrench
  • 3-inch galvanised nail
  • Hammer

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  1. 1

    Measure the width of the fence post, with the tape measure, where the side of the gate rests when it is shut. Mark the middle of the fence post with the pencil.

  2. 2

    Measure 6 inches from the mark onto the gate and make a another mark with the pencil.

  3. 3

    Measure and cut the 1-by-3-inch board to 8 inches. Place the 8-inch board over the marks you made on the fence post and gate. There should be a 1-inch gap on each end of the board. Make a mark on the board with the pencil.

  4. 4

    Place the 1-by-3-inch board on its side. Cut into the board to a depth of 1 inch, over the mark that is on the left side of the board, with the circular saw.

  5. 5

    Place the 8-inch board over the marks on the fence post and gate. Drill a hole into the mark that is on the right side of the board with the power drill. Drill the hole though the board and the gate.

  6. 6

    Insert the bolt though the hole and hand-tighten the nut on the opposite side. Tighten the nut with the socket wrench while still allowing the board to rotate around the bolt.

  7. 7

    Drive the 3-inch nail 1½ inches into the fence post, on the pencil mark, with the hammer. Lower the latch onto the nail to secure the gate when it is closed.

Tips and warnings

  • Galvanised nails will not rust when exposed to rain and weather.

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