Every once in a while I go to a job and find an old mortise lock that for whatever reason the customer does not want anymore, usually because it has malfunctioned. Some people like having a modern-looking lock. If they hired me to open their door because their lock malfunctioned some people elect to replace their mortise lock with a cheap doorknob because if the knob malfunctions you can unscrew it and remove it from the door (if you can get inside)
Usually these old locks have some very ornate thumblatches and other trim, and I just can’t stand throwing these away. I now have many of these but haven’t found a purpose for them yet until just now. I propose using them as fence gate pull handles.
I used to build fences and have quite a bit of experience putting them together. Usually I bought a kit including black hinges and a latch and they look very nice when installed. Lots of people opt for a cheaper latch, just a small metal latch like this:
There are other options though. For a while I was using architectural closeout pull handles. You can use dummy handles made by lock manufacturers. Why not use these stately old thumblatchs? The only drawback is if your fence isn’t attractive enough to stand up to the beauty of these timeless mortise trim thumblatches then it may look out of place. You can fix that though. You really ought to seal/stain your fence anyway to protect it from the weather and warping. A cedar fence will turn grey quickly if you don’t treat it correctly from the outset! You may as well stain it an attractive walnut or something that will look good and then the fence will be complemented by attractive trim.
If you want me to install one of these wonderful antique thumblatches on your gate let me know. I can’t bare to throw these away, I want them to be used for something.