Norfolk latch by author

Stainless Steel Norfolk Latch

This primitive latch was made for the front door of our 180 year old Grist Mill over 20 years ago. Today the door is much worse for wear due to kids, dogs, cats, exposure and 90% humidity for 8 months of the year. However, the unfinished (no paint, oil or laquer) latch still looks exactly the way it did when I installed it. The latch has never been cleaned, oiled or waxed. Originally it may have had a very thin coat of beeswax to bring out the color and give it a little shine, but that is all. I have no doubt that 20 or 30 thousand years from now some future archaeologist will find this pecuilar piece of hardware and wonder what kind of people made a common door latch out of such expensive material.

For those of you that think sand blasting and properly painting your iron work is blastphemy this is the solution. Stainless is expensive and it is more difficult to work than mild steel. But, these costs are offset by the lack of need to clean and finish AND the fact that you can keep that natural fresh from the forge finish forever!

The latch was forged out of a 1" x 1/4" (25.4 x 6.4mm) piece of 304 stainless steel. A coal fire was used. The finished piece was power wire brushed with a fine (.010") wire wheel and lightly waxed with a mixture of beeswax and turpentine.

Copyright © 1998 Jock Dempsey