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Excerpt from
Issue #161 June 2004


If you’ve ever struggled with keeping the bar aligned when opening up a slot, or have a lot of them to open this press is for you. Our version, made from scrap found around the shop, serves as a general guide for making your own press. It consists of a stop and two guides that slide on heavy gauge tubing. Power comes from a bottle jack at the base of the press. To use, adjust the stop to match the length of the bar, then adjust the guides so that they are positioned above and below the slot. Place the bar in the press, heat around the slot with a torch, and use the jack to open it up. Also included: how to make a perfectly centered one heat slot with no bar size distortion.

The conceptual version of this chain first appears in issue 134. This version features a new link connector and more detailed information on how it is made.

Traditional latches of this kind feature a small thumb bar passing through a punched hole. This one incorporates a heavier bar pinned to the split end of ¾” square handle stock. It is made to operate with a standard drop bar, catch and keeper on the other side of the door.