New England School of Metalwork
7 Albiston Way Auburn, Maine 04210
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*NEW* English Latch with Peter Ross: July 31-Aug.4

English Door Latch
Peter Ross
Class runs: July 31 - August 4
Tuition: $575
Material fee: $40
Skill level: Intermediate and Up
FULL as of 2/8, please click ENROLL NOW to join the wait list 

Students in this class will use the project of a fancy, decorated latch and back plate to explore many traditional methods of decoration and the associated tools. The latch can be a conventional thumb latch (for either interior or exterior use) or a ring pull or knocker latch combination. While a relatively common object, I think you will find it full of sophistication and challenge and an excuse to develop a set of tools and techniques you can use for many years to come.

The first step will be forging the rough blanks for the assembly. Several interesting forging challenges will be presented to suit each student’s abilities.

With forgings finished, the class will focus on assembly and decoration. The back plate assembly includes  trimming with special chisels, filing of three dimensional moldings, filed line decoration, chisel and punch stamping, detailed edge beveling, cold punching for decoration, cold punching mortises for assembly, filing tennons, riveting the assembly together, and surface filing for accuracy and appearance.

A number of simple but special tools are useful and this is a good opportunity to make and heat treat them as needed.  They include:

Curved chisels

Cold working punches and bolsters

Hot working punches

Open face forging dies to use in hardy hole

Special forging tongs

We will discuss and use simple hand methods to make reliable tools (of basic materials) so that everyone becomes comfortable with making these tools whenever the need arises.

Students may elect to work in wrought iron for its pleasant surfacing characteristics.


Peter Ross took his first blacksmith lesson at Stonybrook Museums, in 1970. After attending the Rhode Island School of Design he worked his way through various shops working as a blacksmith until he moved to be the Master blacksmith at Colonial Williamsburg. Peter worked to promote the study of blacksmithing through historically accurate processes. He remained at the museum from 1979 to 2004. Peter has now begun pursuing his own ventures of producing historic hardware reproductions in his own studio.

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