- Level of Instruction
- Intermediate. Students should have made some chisels and punches. Anyone not comfortable with forge welding may braze the ends together in the forge.
Based on ring handles on medieval Norwegian church doors, this project could serve as a door latch, a door knocker, or a combination of both. You will forge ring handles with a pair of dragon or creature heads on either side of the swivel post. A raised escutcheon will prevent the ring from swinging against the door surface and make grasping the ring easier. Accomplished students should be able to finish the latch bar, staple, and keeper to complete the set. Some may prefer to spend the time decorating the ring handle by stamping and filing. There is a small materials fee, payable to the instructor.
Registration for this class has closed.
About the Instructor
Tom Latané started forging reproduction colonial and early American ironwork in Maryland in the early 1970s. After moving to the Midwest in 1981, he was introduced to the creative whimsy of Norwegian folk iron. Tom and his wife, Catherine, have a shop in Pepin, Wisconsin, where Tom repairs antiques and creates original pieces using a traditional design vocabulary and historic hand techniques. Tom has demonstrated for blacksmith groups and has taught at folk schools around the country. Some of Tom’s ironwork can be seen in Vesterheim’s Westby-Torgerson Education Center.
Learn more: Check out two beautiful and informative photo essays by Tom: Ring Handle and Making Repairs to Trunk Hardware. Each photo includes full instructions to complete the project.
Or watch these videos:
Collections Connection: Blacksmithing Trunk Locks, where Tom and Vesterheim Collections Manager Jennifer Kovarik highlight the museum's collection of forged chest locks and the different mechanisms locksmiths employed to secure belongings.
Collections Connection: Entry Door Lock, where Tom looks at a specific door lock in the Vesterheim collection.