When the weather is nice, we like to let the pups spend long hours outdoors where Louis shreds the contents of the recycling bin and Meg skulks around wondering why nature doesn’t have couches. Our newly painted fence keeps them safely contained in the yard, but both Weezie and I worry about inattentive visitors not fully latching the gate and providing an escape route for puttering pooches. To allay these concerns, I ventured onto the Interwebs in search of a stout, lockable gate latch, preferably operated with a key to avoid the hassle of a padlock.
Enter the Iron Aldrop Latch from Van Dyke’s Restorers:
This thing looks like it belongs on the front door of Neuschwanstein: simple, no-nonense, and more than a little medieval. Best part? The keys are skeleton keys. Instant keyring gravitas.
Installation began by carefully laying out the latch mounting loops and hasp locking bar.
Before installing the second mounting loop, I made sure that the latch rod was level and moved freely.
Once the latch was attached to the pickets, I closed the gate and marked the spot where the rod hits the fence post. I drilled a slightly oversized hole into the fence post to accept the rod in the closed position, using a scrap piece of plywood to keep the drill bit centered.
Finally, I inserted a short length of copper tubing to protect the hole from weather and wear.
The latch locks securely, with a satisfying click. Built with few moving parts and solid components, I expect it to keep our menagerie safe for many years to come.