PNWTool was created in response to finding broken window latches on our personal trailer. In our situation, our latches failed due to sun-rot of the plastic material. Initially we did like most people and searched the internet for a replacement latch, but found that even when some suppliers listed replacement latches on their websites, when we tried to order them, they were out of stock. We found out that the original window supplier, Atwood, had gone out of business and the listings we found on the internet were simply RV suppliers selling off what little overstock of latches that were still in the supply chain.
Having access to CNC lathes and mills, we decided to simply fabricate replacement latches for our trailer and since it is just as difficult to make one, as it is to make a dozen, using a CNC (computer numerically controlled) latch or mill, we chose to make two dozen and sell off the extra to pay for the initial material and development costs. We were in contact with other RVers through internet forums and several people expressed an interest in buying our extra one, which ended up selling out within a day. After receiving more requests for replacement latches, we decided to set up a small internet store and continue to made additional latches as long as people needed them. Although our trailer has single pane windows, we were able to work with other people who had new dual pane windows to also be able to design and fabricate replacement latches for dual pane windows.
Our personal philosophy is that we are disgusted with today’s business practice of “planned obsolescence”. While injection molding of the original Atwood latches from plastic was a cheap way to make a large volume of latches by Atwood, Atwood had to know that those cheap injection molded latches would fail. The two most common causes for latch failures are either sun-rot where the plastic latch just falls apart like what happened on our trailer, or someone closing a window with the latch in the half closed position and the latch striking the window frame and breaking. While it would have been cheaper and quicker to machine our replacement latch design from plastic, we knew that such a latch would not last so we chose to go the more expensive route and fabricate our replacement latches from wrought 6061 aluminum so we would never have to replace our latches again.
We firmly believe that our latches will outlast your trailer which is why we provide a lifetime warranty against breakage for all our latches. Our latches will not rot due to the sun, and we believe that a person would have to slam a window shut with enough force to damage the frame and glass of their window before our latch will fail. It should be noted that we have not tested this last theory since we do not wish to have to find where to purchase a complete Atwood window.
We are not looking for repeat business from our customers. Our goal is to sell you a replacement latch that will outlast your RV and you will never have to think about again. That is the reason we designed and fabricated our latches the way we did. You will note that we made two design changes to the physical features of the original Atwood latch design. The first change is that the handle portion of our latch has an extra 0.300 inch diameter hole in the handle itself. This hole was necessary to allow us to easily mount the blanks on our CNC mill for machining. The other extra feature you will find is that on our dual pane latches there is an extra 0.125 diameter hole in the body of the latch. This extra hole was added because we had issues with confusing single and dual pane latches during shipping. Since there is only a 3/8 inch length difference between single and dual pane latches, we had a couple of incidents where the wrong size latch was sent out so we added the extra hole to the dual pane latch so we can easily differentiate between the two latch designs. This identification hole was placed in an area where it will not affect the operation or strength of the latch itself and still provide an easy way to identify single from dual pane latches.