In-Person – Forging a Door Lock and Key (SOLD OUT)

Folk Art School

Vesterheim Folk Art School

In-Person – Forging a Door Lock and Key (SOLD OUT)

Tuesday, November 2 - Sunday, November 7 (9am-5pm) with Tom Latané

Level of Instruction
Students should have developed hammer control to the extent that the hammer strikes where intended and they can assess the result of each hammer blow and adjust accordingly. Students should also be comfortable with a file.
$430.00 Members
$480.00 Non-members
Materials Fee
There is a materials fee of $15 payable to the instructor.

Students will forge and fabricate (file and join with rivets and tenons) a door lock with parts exposed when mounted on the interior surface of a door. If not used on a door this lock could be mounted on a display board. We will begin by making the key, and then the ward box, which receives the key, will be made to fit. The backplate of the lock will be chisel cut from sheet steel and the ward box and other parts will be mounted to it. The lock will have a single spring-loaded bolt with a handle for drawing the bolt on the interior side. A spring will be forged and heat treated. Two “staples” will be fitted to the bolt and secured to the lock plate. Lock design and strategy will be discussed so students can recognize parts and their function when looking at other locks.

Please wear clothes made from natural materials such as cotton or linen and sturdy, closed-toed shoes. Synthetic clothing can melt when close to heat. 


***This class is an in-person class at the Vesterheim Folk Art School in Decorah, Iowa***

Please read our COVID-19 Policies here.


The Folk Art greatly values the health and safety of its learners, teachers, and staff and is continuously monitoring local and national COVID-19 statistics, government recommendations, and peer institution guidelines. As with any activity in a public place, there is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to COVID-19 infection, please stay home. By registering for a class, attending a program, or visiting the Folk Art School, you voluntarily assume all risks related to COVID-19 exposure and assume them willingly and you agree to follow Vesterheim's COVID-19 policies. Thank you for your continued patience, understanding, and respect for the safety of our community as we navigate these difficult times. If you have additional questions, please contact Josh Torkelson, On-Site Program Coordinator, at or call 563-382-9681.


Enrollment Deadline: October 12

Registration for this class has closed.

About the Instructor

Tom Latané
Tom Latané
Tom Latané

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.