I live in a historic 18th century American home that has "drop bar latches" as door hardware on the interior doors. Although this is possibly a reproduction of a best guess at the original hardware, I want to keep them in place as I enjoy them.

drop bar latch

However, I'm curious if there's any sort of technique I could use to make their operation quieter, without being visually noticeable, as opening bedroom and bathroom doors in the middle of the night can create lots of little metal on metal dragging and clacking sounds that wake people up.

If the door striking the door jamb was the problem, I would probably use some felt pads/foam or whatnot, but as it's metal on metal and exposed, sticking any sort of foam or felt in there would look a little too anachronistic in my opinion. Oil lubricant would probably be messy and probably not reduce much of the sound, if any. The only thing I can think of is possibly waxing the contact points with some type of wax. Maybe carnauba, or regular candle wax would do. But I'm not sure if this is a silly idea and would make more of a mess than anything. Anybody have any better ideas?

  • 1
    Would a single layer of black electrical tape be noticeable?
    – RetiredATC
    Sep 13, 2022 at 17:09
  • That is not something I thought of, and would probably work. But I would rather be woken up in the middle of the night than open myself up to the possibility of touching electrical tape residue in the future. But that's probably just me.
    – brubsby
    Sep 13, 2022 at 17:33
  • Where sound is coming from metal rubbing metal, maybe graphite/lock lube will work. Should not collect dust/dirt as much. Metal hitting/banging metal will need padding.
    – crip659
    Sep 13, 2022 at 17:47
  • 1
    as it's metal on metal, sticking any sort of foam or felt in there is out of the question False, but obviously something you're to unwilling to consider, so clank away.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 13, 2022 at 17:54
  • 1
    Gluing thin black felt, or (historically correct, unlike the Phillips head screws) thin leather is not "stuffing foam"
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 13, 2022 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


I'd consider some wax on the bits where metal slides against metal if there is some squeaking or "dragging" or scraping sounds, as that would help silence those. It would, though, I'd imagine need to be refreshed pretty regularly as the was will not absorb into the metal and will wear off.

Additionally, if it were me, I'd cut and stick on small bits of self-adhesive black foam tape to all the contact points to help deaden the "clank" of metal hitting metal. Unfortunately, you've ruled that option out, so I'm not sure what you might do to pad these contact points. I suppose a couple of layers of black construction paper might do the trick, but then you've got to figure out how to hold them in place.

Something you may not have considered: If you have children, all the noise of the latches functioning will let you know (during the day or in the middle of the night) when they're up and about, moving from room to room.

This is helpful for toddlers who have learned to operate doors and are escaping their room. It's equally helpful for teenagers who may be escaping their rooms or returning to them later than they're supposed to.

  • 1
    I love that you mentioned the benefits of the sound to know when people are coming and going. Sep 13, 2022 at 22:47
  • :) @RibaldEddie. My son & DIL have a gate up on their 3-year-old's room. They know he can climb it, they just want the noise as a warning that he's doing so.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 14, 2022 at 12:47
  • 1
    What about an application of clear rubber cement on the mating surface.
    – RetiredATC
    Sep 14, 2022 at 15:31
  • That sounds like an answer worthy of an up vote, @RetiredATC! It'd get mine.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 14, 2022 at 15:32
  • rubber cement seems like a great solution! and the "alert mechanism" has already been taken care of by the squeaky stairs. but it is noted!
    – brubsby
    Sep 15, 2022 at 2:43

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