Shaping the Braced Driven Catch

The braced driven catch used for the exterior Suffolk latches has an appealing shape. The stages taken in transforming the raw forging to this shape are relatively simple. A jig is used in the initial shaping -- specially configured tongs.

The forging has three elements: the tapered spike, the triangular shaped catch and the brace with its penny cusp at the end for the screw.


The special tongs used for the shaping of the catch are heavy and twice as long as our normal forging tongs. One jaw has been cut short, against which the triangular catch rests. The other jaw has been rounded at the bottom. The spike portion of the forging cannot be too long or the forging won’t fit in the tongs.

The forging is heated in the forge. It is removed using the fire tongs and placed in the jaws of the special tongs. In the photo, the brace is driven downwards by the hammer, which is out of camera range.

While still in the tongs, the brace is driven under. The bend is started against the anvil, when the penny cusp hits the anvil side.

The tongs and catch are turned over and the brace is driven so that it is snug against the bottom jaw’s lip. The tongs’ rounded bottom jaw prevents damage to the brace during this action, while controlling the bend.

The tongs are turned again and the brace and cusp are tapped by the hammer to align them. All of these shaping stages are done in a single heat. After this part of the shaping is complete, the catch is filed to true the slope of the triangular portion of the catch. A second heat is used to finish the catch’s shaping.

With the second heat, the catch is taken from the fire and held in a special jig. The jig correctly aligns the catch and brace as a hammer blow snugs the penny cusp into place.

After the catches are shaped they are checked and straightened if necessary. This is done cold. A final heat is taken to make the scale uniform before finishing with beeswax and linseed oil.

Go to the next post, Making a Suffolk Latch -- The Thumber's Slot.

Shaping the Braced Driven Catch was not posted.


Blacksmith's Blog Posts

The Shop
A Shop Shaded by Trees
The Blacksmith's Fire
Wrought Iron
Blacksmith Finish

The Library
The Blacksmith's Library -- Objects
The Blacksmith's Library -- Books

The Blacksmith's Hands -- the Hammer
The Blacksmith's Hands -- Tongs
What's It?
Using a Power Hammer

Cutting Steel Cold
Cutting Steel Hot
Blacksmith's Riveting, Brazing and Welding, part 1
Blacksmith's Riveting, Brazing and Welding, part 2
Shaping a Grip
Shaping the Braced Driven Catch
Making a Suffolk Latch -- The Thumber's Slot
Forging a Suffolk Latch Bar

Making a Latch
is a description, with photos, of the steps we go through to make a Suffolk Latch.

Making a Hinge
is a description, like Making a Latch, that shows the steps we go through to make a Butterfly Hinge.

Making a Grip
shows the process for making a Cabinet Grip.

Tools of the Trade
shows some of the tools in Molly’s blacksmith shop.

Making a Living
describes how we became blacksmiths.

Glossary of Blacksmithing Terms
is linked to various words that are not commonly known by non-smiths throughout this section of the site.