Rusted Ring Latches

Anyone who payed close attention to my Side Gate project a few months ago may remember that I chose to trim a good 40mm (1½in) off the length of the ring latch that was fitted to secure the gate in its closed position. This was purely for visual aesthetics from the outside; I didn’t want the latch to interfere with the ‘line’ between two of the vertical boards…

While, the gate is still awaiting its second coat of paint (!!), it wasn’t at all long after fitting the gate furniture that our old nemesis oxidisation made an unwelcome appearance!

This was in spite of the fact that I’d replaced the originals with stainless steel screws and also, apparently, all fittings were zinc-plated (if not galvanised, like the T-hinges).

It wasn’t much of a bother at first, if you could ignore the blooming brown blemishes on display. About a month ago though, we found that the latch wasn’t operating correctly. You could rotate each ‘ring’ but, that wouldn’t have much of an effect on the position of the latch. It felt as though the bar inside (between the two rings) wasn’t locating properly, if even at all. A close inspect of the disassembled parts later revealed that the innards of the external ring (front of the gate) at least had deteriorated quite badly:

Was this because I had trimmed a few millimetres off the length of the square bar but not re-sealed the cut end? …How would you do that, anyway?

I really do not know the answer. It may even be that shortening the latch had some kind of adverse effect on the durability of the locking mechanism (although, that would surprise me).

At the very least, I have now replaced the whole lot with a brand-new ring latch purchased from a local hardware store – if only it hadn’t cost me double what Toolstation charge in the centre of Bristol!! One of the drawbacks of living ‘in the sticks’, I guess. There are still some holes to fill before I can start painting again. We’ve been very fortunate with some mild, even dry, weather for this time of year of late but, I fear things are about to take a sharp drop in to the sub-zero, with a new year barely one-month away.

This replacement latch (the full 6in/150mm in length) does appear to operate much better than the trimmed version I had fitted before. At least now, as the gate closed, it all links neatly together without the gate bouncing back open again. I haven’t had to deepen the slot in the closing piece, either.

If only I can find or replace the pins now in that closing spring

Thanks for reading.

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