How to Fit a Ring-Gate Latch.

The gate ring latch is used, as the name implies, to securely close the gates when not in use; it’s a simple latch only (no locking option). When fitting to a pair of gates, the handle parts of the latch (Shown as A & B) fixes to the active gate (i.e. the gate without the dropbolt) which you open first for pedestrian access.

The parts of the ring gate latch

The named parts of a ring gate latch
A – Ring latch handle
B – Ring handle
C – Spindle – This goes through the gate to connect the Ring latch handle (A) and the Ring handle (B)
D – Keep – This keeps the latch bar in the correct position.
E – Receiver – Latch sits in receiver when gate is closed.

The round part of both the ring handle and ring latch handle is known as the ‘rose’.

Tools required to fit the ring gate latch to a wooden gate

Tools required to fit a ring gate latch
The following tools will be needed to fit the ring gate latch to a wooden gate:

16mm drill bit with spur(for drilling spindle)
3 or 4mm drill bit (for pre-drilling screw holes)
Hacksaw (if needed for cutting spindle bar)
Rule or tape measure

Which side of the gate does the latch part go on?

Side of the gate that the ring gate latch fits to

The ring latch handle (Part A) can be fitted to the front or rear of the gates, however, where you fit it to on YOUR gates depends on which way your gates open.

If you’re facing your gates and looking at the front face of the gates and the gate opens away from you (opens in), then the Ringlatch handle (A) must fit on the rear of the gate. And likewise, if the gate opens towards you (when standing looking at the front face of the gate) then the ringlatch handle fits on the front of the gate.

The ringlatch can be fitted to either a single gate or pair of gates that open in both directions (i.e. hung with fieldgate or wraparound hinges) – another words gates that can be opened towards you and away from you. However, you will stop the gate with the ring latch handle attached from swinging in both directions.

How to fit the ring gate latch

The ringlatch will need to be fitted to one of the gate rails; if the rails of the gates are either too high up or too low down, then you will need to fit a latch block to the rear of the gates at the height required.
If fitting to a pair of gates, then fit the ringlatch handle to the gate that will open first (the active gate).

To start with, fit the ringlatch handle (A) first as this is the main part of the latch. The first part of fitting this is to mark and then drill the hole through the gate for the spindle bar; but first, we need to position the ring gate latch handle where we intend to fix it upon the gate.

Place the ringlatch handle on the gate rail where you intend to fit it, making sure you allow around 2″ (approx 50mm) of the latch bar protruding from the gate you are fixing it to.

In height, centre it upon the rail; this is not really necessary, but it looks better!

Westie with a ring latch

The overlap of the latch bar (from the gate) is being allowed so there is enough of the latch bar to locate itself in the receiver (Shown as E, above). This 50mm overlap allows for the 10mm gap between the two gates I’m fitting the ringlatch to in the video, thus giving me a 40mm overlap of latch onto the other gate; this measurement would still apply if I was fitting the ringlatch onto a single gate with the receiver being fitted to a post. The only thing to bear in mind being if your post that the receiver is being fitted to is less then 40mm thick, then you will have to adjust this measurement or the latch may foul depending on your situation!).

Please click to enlarge either of the images below.

The first thing we need to do before screwing the ring latch handle to the gate is to drill out for the spindle bar.

An easy way of marking the position of centre line for the spindle is to mark all four of the fixing holes for the latch handle onto the gate, then using a rule or straight edge, join the lines up diagonally as shown in the picture on the right.

Use a drill bit a couple of millimetres wider than that of the spindle (in our case, the spindle is 10mm wide so we’ll be using a 16mm drill bit). Again, as with drilling our for the hinge bolts, do not drill right the way through the gate from one side (you’ll burst out the opposite side with your drill bit and risk splitting the face of the gate).
16mm drill bit for spindle bar
Using a drill bit with a spur, drill through the gate until the spur protrudes through the opposite side of the gate, reverse the drill and go to other side of the gate. Line the spur of the drill bit up with the small hole in the gate and drill through.

Drill through the gate until the spur (pointy bit) of the drill bit starts to stick out on the other side of the gate

Drill bits with spurs

Click to enlarge image

Go to the other side of the gate, put the spur of your drill bit into the small hole you’ve just made (when drilling from the other side of the gate) and drill through.

You should now have a hole right the way through the gate (argh, I hear you cry!).

Slot the spindle bar into the ringlatch handle and reposition the ringlatch handle on the gate rail, with the spindle bar going through the gate.

Drilling through a gate

Pre-drill the four screw holes into the gate through the rose (round bit) of the ringlatch; use a 3 or 4mm drill bit.

Screw the ringlatch handle to the gate using the pre-drilled holes you’ve just made
(don’t worry about filling all the screw holes up at this stage, just do at least two now for now and you can the rest later once you know everything is correctly placed).

Get the receiver (Part E) ready. Close the gate over if it’s not already and sit the latch bar into the receiver. The receiver will fit on to the other gate.

Lift the latch bar so the bottom edge is approximately horizontal.

Mark the position of the two holes with a pencil and then pre-drill them both.

Fitting the ring latch receiver

We’ll now fix the keep; this fits to the same gate that the ring latch handle is fitted to. Its purpose is to make sure the latch bar doesn’t drop too low down, which in turn would stop the latch from closing properly and from sitting in the receiver.

This sounds a lot more awkward than it is, so please bear with me!

You need to position the keep so that the latch bar sits within in it ,touching the bottom, and that when the gate closes, the bar lifts up when it hits the receiver and drops into place; it’s a bit of trial and error doing this!

Slide the latch bar into the keep and position the keep on the gate so the latch bar is horizontal. Now keeping the keep in position, slowly close the gate; if the latch bar rises and drops into the receiver when the gate is closed then the keep is positioned perfectly, if not, then lift the keep up slightly and repeat the process until the latch bar rises and sits in the receiver.

Ring latch keep being fitted

Mark out and pre-drill the two screw holes for the keep onto the gate and screw it up.
Double check that the latch bar still lifts up and drops into the receiver when they make contact with each other.

If so, then we’re good to fit the ring handle! If not, then adjust as necessary.

We’re going to fix the ring handle onto the other side of the gate now, however, depending on the thickness of your gate and the length of the spindle bar we may need to make a cut in the spindle bar.

Place the ring handle over the spindle into position.

Ring handle sits against face of gate
If the ring handle sits nicely on the face of the gate, then nothing needs cutting; simply pre-drill the four screw holes through the rose of the handle into the gate and screw up; job done. Just check it turns easily and lifts the latch bar up.

The ring handle doesn’t sit against the face of the gate

You’ll need to cut the spindle bar!

Again, we’ve an easy way of knowing how much to cut off the spindle bar.
With the ring handle still in position, hold it parallel to the face of the gate.
Measure the distance from the face of the gate to the back edge of the rose (round bit of the ring handle); this gives you the measurement that needs cutting from the spindle so the ring handle fits onto the gate.

How to measure and cut spindle bar on a gate ring latch

Remove the ring handle and the spindle bar from the gate.
Mark out the measurement you’ve just taken (distance from face of gate to rear face of ring handle rose) onto the spindle bar.
Cut with a hacksaw; if you’ve not got a vice handy to hold the bar whilst you cut it, grab a pair of pliers or pincers and hold it with these.

Your ringlatch is now fitted!


The ring gate latch is pretty easy to fit, but once fitted, you may run into a couple of problems:

Handles don’t turn

If either (or both!) the ring handle and ring latch handle are difficult (or impossible) to turn, then in all likelihood, the spindle bar that goes through the gate is too long and when you have screwed the ring handle (the last part) on it has tightened the whole latch up.

Firstly, test this by unscrewing the ring handle from the gate, but don’t remove the handle from where it is sitting.

If it now moves freely, then the bar is too long; remove the handle and spindle from the gate and give the end of the spindle bar a filing down, then re-fit and see if the problem has gone; if not, repeat till it works.

Filing down spindle bar of ring latch

File the spindle bar down to reduce the length

If it is still very difficult to turn, then it’s not the spindle bar being too long; try applying some WD40 (or similar) to all the moving parts and try again.

The handles turn, but the latch bar doesn’t lift

If you turn the RING HANDLE and the latch bar on the other side of the wooden gates doesn’t lift, then the spindle bar has been cut too short.

Fear not we can fix that with a great little cheat (keep this to yourself! 🙂 ).

Remove both the ring handle and spindle bar from the gates.

Grab a piece of card, (something like an old screw box is great for this) and tear a piece of long and wide enough to wrap around one end of the spindle bar.

Slot the spindle bar back into the ring handle; you may have to compress the card a bit for this, or even reduce the amount of card to get the bar back into the handle.

Slot the bar (with the ring handle attached) back through the gate so that it locates into the ring latch handle.

Please click to enlarge either of the images below
Ring latch spindle bar too short

Getting a ring gate latch working

Try turning the ring handle and the latch bar should now lift up!

If it all works, then the job is done and you’ve fitted your ring gate latch!

More gate fitting guides