How to Make a Sliding Wood Latch

Written by ryan hotchkiss
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How to Make a Sliding Wood Latch
Sliding wood latches are simple and efficient and work well for barn and cabin doors. (Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

A sliding wood latch is a simple and durable device used to make sure doors, window covers and gates are closed securely. A latch is secured to a stationary object like a door frame or a post with a wooden frame, and the latch moves back and forth within the frame. The swinging portion of the door or gate is rigged with an eyelet that the latch slides into, thereby securing the door or gate in place. You can make your own sliding wood latches with only a few tools and a little time. The following instructions are for a door, but the method is the same for a cupboard, window cover or gate.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Saw
  • Drill and bits
  • 1 1/2-inch screws
  • 1 by 6-inch leather strap
  • 3-inch deck screws
  • 3 feet of 1 by 2-inch wood
  • 2 1-inch washers
  • Level
  • Carpenter's pencil

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  1. 1

    Cut a 14-inch section off your board. This section is your sliding latch. Cut two 3-inch sections from your board. Drill two pilot holes in each section -- in the centre -- 1 inch apart from the other. Screw a small section to one end of your 1-foot section with 1-1/2 inch screws. Screw the second small piece onto the latch 4 inches from the first. Screw a leather strap to the second small section attached to the latch.

  2. 2

    Place the level horizontal and span it between the door and the adjacent wall. Draw a line along the length of the level with your pencil. Make a mark on the wall 10 inches from the door. Make another on the door 4 inches from the wall. Cut six 3-inch pieces from your board. Give each piece two pilot holes.

  3. 3

    Place a 3-inch section on the line, centred over the mark on your door, and drill it in. Place a section 2-1/8 inches over the first section and drill it into the wall. Place a section on the wall's line above your mark and drill it in. Place another section 2-1/8 inches above the third one you mounted and drill it in. Drill a section above the line of the wall next to the door frame and another 2-1/8 inches above it.

  4. 4

    Hold your latch horizontal with the broadside vertical. Slide it in between the sections your drilled to the wall and the door with three sections above the latch and three below. Cut three 6-1/8 inch sections from your board. Drill two pilot holes in each; one hole, 1-inch from each end. Each of these sections covers the pairs of sections you drilled into the wall and door. Hold a section over the first pair of drilled sections and drill it into place. Do the same for your last two pairs of drilled sections. They span between the two sections, over the latch, holding it into place.

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