Ring Handle Photo Essay by Blacksmith Tom Latané

This ring handle is the prototype for a class taught by blacksmith Thomas Latané.

The following photo essay illustrates the steps for forging this ring handle.

Click on each image for a closer view and to read descriptions of the process.

Following the photo essay are examples of ring handles made by two of Tom’s students.

Thank you, Tom, for sharing this info through these fantastic images and instruction!

NOTE: In all the photos showing placement of tools or hammer blows, the metal would be hot during the work. Tom says, “I have given up trying to take pictures showing what I want while the metal is hot. The reader must use imagination.”

Find out more about Tom Latané here.

Whether functioning as a ring latch, a simple pull, or a door knocker, the ring handle and pivot eye forging are the same.

The backlach components for a ring latch include the latch bar, which engages the keeper on the door jamb. The ends of the pivot eye pass through a square hole in the cam and are rolled to secure the connection. The staple holds the latch bar to the door near the edge and the other end pivots on a nail.

This was the ring handle for a latch set made by in class by one of the students, Gary Hill. The ring latch is now installed on a log building on Gary’s property.

Here is Gary Hill’s second ring handle made in his home shop after the class.

Another student, Keith Spaniel, made this second handle at home after the class and entered it in the National Norwegian-American Folk Art Exhibition at Vesterheim in 2019. It received a Red Ribbon (second-place award) in the exhibit. (Class projects are not permitted in the exhibition.)

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