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If you have an older house with knobs that slip, latches that are stuck inside the door, or other minor problems, then you should follow these instructions to remove the lock, dis-assemble it, clean and perform minor repairs.

Step 1: Meet the mortise lock and door knobs.

This mortise lock set is installed in a 1930 colonial in the Boston area.

Notice the set screw on the base of the knob on the right. This screw should hold the knob securely to the spindle when you turn the knob.
<p>I have a house full of glass doorknobs from the 50's. They are on spindles and should be simple to remove but alas......I am not a novice when it comes to removing old hardware but can't get these knobs off for the life of me. I have managed to get off 2 of them with no problem. The door knob won't turn off the spindle. I was turning them counterclockwise but as a last resort tried the other direction. I brought in the strongest brutes I know but they couldn't turn them. I tried WD40, didn't work. All screws have been removed easily. This is making me nuts!!!</p><p>Any suggestions besides the obvious? Thanks</p>
<p>My entry door handle set is very similar to this one. I have one major issue, the door will not open! Both the front and the back handles will not turn. I have the toggle switch in the position that should lock the front door. When I use a key, I can hear something move but it doesn't feel the way it used to. There used to be more resistance when turning the key. Please help!!</p>
<p>If it's a lock with knobs on both sides, it won't open because the split in the spindle the knobs are attached to isn't in the center of the lock. If you can unscrew the setscrew(s) one the inside knob, you'll see the spindle. If you move it in or out a little you should reach a point where you can turn it and open the door. Out of the lock it should look like this: </p><p><a href="http://progressivehardware.net/images/193_2600LPCU_JPG.jpg" rel="nofollow">http://progressivehardware.net/images/193_2600LPCU...</a></p><p>Here's a vid that may help:</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hBQkkb1rUyo" width="500"></iframe></p><p>When you put it back together, tighten the halves of the spindle together till they stop, then back off about 1/2 turn so they can rotate independently (if you don't you'll have the same problem all over again). Insert the spindle in the lock so the split is in the CENTER of the lock, then screw the knobs on so the have a little slop-if you don't, the knobs won't rotate smoothly. Tighten the setscrews across one of the FLAT sides of the spindle securely. Test the knobs before you close the door. </p>
WARNING! If it's a lock for an OUTER door, the spindle will be in 2 pieces. When you push the button on the lock face the OUTER knob is supposed to lock. If you screw the spindle halves together tightly (rather than leaving 1/2 turn of slop or more) BOTH sides of the door will be locked! Also, the split in the spindle is supposed to be in the vertical center of the lock-pay attention when installing and TRY THE LOCK WITH THE DOOR OPEN.<br><br>The usual reason mortise locks stop working is broken springs-one would do well to replace them all, if possible. A good way to clean out the lock body is with brake cleaner spray, followed by wiping with a paper towel. One of the FEW things graphite is good for is lubing the inside of a mortise lock body-if it has a cylinder for a key, lube with WD40 (or similar light spray oil) ONLY-no 3-in-1, no grease, no silicone spray.<br><br>Frequently the bolt will be bent from attempts to close the door with it extended. Being brass, they can be CAREFULLY straightened.<br><br>Painted hardware can be cleaned with paint remover and/or with a Dremel and rotating brush. The brass can polish up like new, but will have to be varnished or waxed after. NOTE: Some finished were purposely antiqued and won't like that way after polishing!
Sorry, but NEVER use WD-40 in a lock. It is a penetrant, but will dry out and gum up rather quickly, attracting abrasive dust.<br>Use dry graphite only, use a Q-tip or puff applicator to apply.<br><br>NEVER use varnish if you can avoid it. It does not hold up as well as CLEAR LACQUER IMNSHO.<br><br>Large towns' locksmiths will (or should) have the correct key blanks to make up a proper set for the door(s). They will need to be cut to fit correctly! Many skeleton keys will NOT work, especially for entrance doors. Even the sellers of mortise locksets say that skeleton keys will fit MAYBE 30% of doors...and that does not mean they will work, just that they will fit.<br><br>One more thing: interior lock springs were of three types; flat springs, compression springs (often used on the strikes), and tension springs (used on the bolts, etc.). You CAN find close approximations at some GOOD hardware stores, auto supply stores, and GOOD locksmiths.<br>You will likely NOT find flat springs at most places. Locksmiths are your best bet, especially the older shops.<br><br>And why do springs fail? Because the lock dried out the lube or wore it away, and folks force the lock to work when it should be EASY...this is why other lock parts get broken as well.<br><br>Hope this helps.
<p>Hi,</p><p>I came across an old Peterboro key lock for an interior(?) door. It had been taken apart and partially cleaned. I cleaned the rest, but now I need help putting it together again. I looks like all the parts are there. It has glass knobs and I have bought new stems/rods for them, because the old ones were worn. </p><p>Could I send you pictures so you can identify the lock and hopefully give me instructions on how to pput it together. Of course I would be willing to compensate you.</p>
<p>Would you have a similar lock in the house? Carefully removed and used as an example, it might serve.<br>I would recommend just trying different assemblies, keeping track of how you put any particular part together...dead bolt assembly, for example.<br>I had recently tried a piece of steel from a clock spring (wound type) as a replacement for the flat springs in a few locks. While not stiff enough by itself, a couple/three together might serve.<br>I'm the type that needs a bunch of pieces in front of me to work, so sending me pics would probably not help.<br>Sorry.</p>
Sorry to contradict. I have been a locksmith for more than 30 years. Much of that experience was rebuilding/repairing older residential mortise lock, some older than 100 years. <br><br>I have used WD40 for all of that time with great success in commercial, residential and auto locks, Example: I owned a car for 17 years. In that time I lubed the locks every 3 months with WD40 and they never froze or failed. Yes, it's a penetrant-with lubricating qualities. PBlaster, on the other hand has no lubing effect, and will cause locks to work HARDER immediately. <br><br>Graphite use hails from the time when locks only had large sliding parts with lots of tolerance. It still works fine with mortise lock bodies, but not in pin tumbler cylinders. I have seen cylinders so full of graphite they didn't move. WD40, on the other hand, will dissolve old oil and I have seen it immediately loosen up recalcitrant locks. I recommend it because it's easy to find and hard to overuse (it should not be used with most plastics-they may melt). <br><br>Varnish is OK as long as it's polyurethane-some lock makers use it as a finish.<br><br>&quot;Skeleton keys&quot; come in three patterns, one of which will open nearly all INTERIOR locks. EXTERIOR locks work on BIT keys, which must be cut by a locksmith (they have more complicated combinations since they contain more lever tumblers).<br><br>The majority of spring breakage I have seen was the result of rust or loss of temper of the steel.
<p>You are even more than awesome because I was able to take the handles apart and get a screwdriver to turn just the one side! </p>
<p>Very glad I could help!</p>
<p>You are awesome! I just bought a house and my inside handle would lock when I locked the front handle and I had no clue why. Unfortunately, now both handles are locked and I cannot get the key to work on the outside. :-( I'm stuck and I have no idea how to get this door open. </p>
<p>Folks, many lock shops that have been in business for a long time may have parts for these old locks and/or can fix them. If you are in any doubt about how to proceed, ASK a locksmith. </p>
<p>Do you have a suggestion for a place for replacement keys? Our house came with these, but no keys!</p>
<p>Local locksmith quoted me $20 to make a key when I brought the key drum into him.</p>
Online restoration hardware places sell a two key set that works for most locks. House of antique hardware. This worked for me. http://www.houseofantiquehardware.com/old-fashioned-keys-pair-brass-plated-skeleton-keys?sc=10&amp;category=52
I don't know where you live, but I found a local locksmith (http://www.commonwealthlock.com/) that carried blanks, so I have to assiume they must be ablw to do something with them. I didn't ask because I wanted to try to mill a master key myself (mostly worked).<br>
<p>I have one that has a key lock not skeleton but regular key. I believe there is a part missing as the key drum has notches but nothing else to move anything in the lock and nothing visible that would in anyway make contact to trigger the lock to lock or unlock. The key drum screws into the assembly into two parts and there is a set screw visible behind that. I will re-post again after i get some photos of all the parts. </p>
<p>Thanks! I went to my local Ace Hardware, some of them carry the antique locks :-) not the brass type they sell at Home Depot.</p>
<p>anyone know where u can find lockscrews that will work on these</p>
Antiques are fragile and need special care and storage methods in order to ensure they are in perfect working condition and can continue to be used for a very long time ahead. It is better to seek professional advise when it comes to cleaning or repairing them. Else, you might just sacrifice your priceless gems to become useless junk.
Excellent presentation. Thank you for showing me something else I may tinker with.
This is really neat. I love this kind of stuff, thank you for sharing!
It appears the code for the recaptcha is broke, as it is not appearing in the reply box, only in the write new comment box... <br> <br>You can use WD-40, or 3 in 1 oil, or anything you'd like in a mortise lock. The tolerances inside are so huge dust and dirt won't affect it the way they would a modern pin tumbler cylinder. Lots of them have gobs of grease in them from the factory.
I am having a hard time replying to the comments, but I have fixed just about every kind of these locks and I'm willing to help you do the same.
I have a sargent mortis lock 5131 and the leaf spring broke that holds the latch out. Is there somewhere I can find another leaf spring?<br>Thanks
I have this same lockset in a door to a rental unti I am re-habbing. Where can I find a replacement threaded spindle (split halves), interior knob, and escutheon for the knob?
in nova scotia, as recently as a decade ago, rods, crystal and plain brass knobs, even replacement locksets, were available in the nearby hardware store(national chain). there's a kind of lockset that has a push spring, a decent effort can be made by putting the spring from a click pen into them.
Fortunately I haven't had to replace a knob, but I have seen them in nearby antique stores. If you're in Boston there's one on Charles Street, downtown: http://goo.gl/WeqKs<br><br>The threaded spindles I've picked up at my local hardware store. If yours doesn't have them try to find one in a neighborhood where there are a lot of houses of the correct age.<br>
Thank you for the response. Unfortunately, I live in northern California and there do not seem to be mnay sources for this old hardware. The old knob looked as if it had been cross threaded on the old spindle over the years and there is a lot of slop in the operation. The cam inside the lockset looks good. The spindle is split in two halves and is threaded There is a small downturn on one end of one half which looks to be some sort of catch at the cam side. The spindle is pretty badly bent which is why I am trying to find a new one. The replacement spindle and knobs which you can get commercially at places like Home Depot will not work. Also, the deadbolt I got to be functional but the small knob which operates it is also badly bent and affects its operation as theknob is turned. It looks like pot metal and I am afraid if I try to straighten it, it will snap. I plan to check a few places out today that I heard of - an antique store and a locksmith who has been around for awhile. If I luck out, it seems I have no recourse but to pull it out and plug or fill the door, then pep it for a current lockset and deadbolt. This would be unfortunate as the door I preserved and the lockset is pretty cool with the ornamentation of the handle and deadbolt.
I'm so glad I found this site as I just might be able to solve my door lock problem.<br><br>I have locks on front &amp; back door marked as &quot;E-Z Mortise&quot;, made in Taiwan. They seem to be old and are made of mostly cast iron and brass. It may be that they are a copy of the old Sargent lock as they look very similar.<br><br>What I need is the brass cam, as shown in the third picture. The cam tabs are not the same, one being wider. The wider one is worn down to the point it no longer functions.<br><br>It I can't find the cam, I suppose I could have a machine shop build up the cam but it would probably cost more than a whole new lock!<br><br>Any advice would be appreciated.
Where can I buy one of those springs?<br><br>
i also need springs--did you find them?--scott
Believe it or not, those metal reinforcing strips that are in most wiper blades will work well sometimes. BTW, it helps to lay the lock chassis down cover-side-up on a table before you take it apart. Take pix of it once you open it so you remember which way everything goes together. <br><br>If it's a Sargent Easy-Spring, the hairpin spring attached to the chassis bottom up near the cylinder opening usually goes. You can usually make a spring for it &quot;in place&quot; by using the chassis as a bending jig, but it needs very narrow stock. You can narrow the stock by grinding carefully...just don't overheat it and ruin the temper.<br><br>Another thing that goes (in an outside door lock) is the spring in the cam disc that fits in the inside cylinder opening. Not all locks have these, but the ones that do rely on the spring to keep the cam in a neutral position. Otherwise, it can flip down and jam the bolt...usually in the locked position. it's difficult to replace that hairpin spring, so I usually replace the whole disc (found at your local 'smith).<br><br>If the lock has a key cylinder, there will be either one or two setscrews holding it in place (sometimes hidden under the edgeplate, or scalp as it's called). If there is only one, it has a LEFT HAND THREAD.<br><br>WARNING: Some newer mortise locks (like General and Schlage) have VERY strong springs in them and should only be taken apart with a special fixture that controls the release of the spring tension...or you may end up in the emergency room.
I bought mine from mcmaster: <br>http://www.mcmaster.com/#9654k116/=cipe6t<br><br>I measured the dimensions of the old springs and tested some under load to calculate the bias and spring constant. Then I used their website to search for close matches.<br><br>
Thank you............
this looks like a good site, so now that i have the answer to my mortise lock question, i,ll add my own tip:have any of you tried this? <br>we had a pair of big old double doors, with very worn/dropped non ball-bearing hinges. as they were 5 inches by 5 inches, replacements were not easily obtainable without waiting. we swapped the higes from top right to bottom left, and vice-versa. this not only brings the less used inactive door hinges over to the active [more wearing side], but the wear takes place on different surfaces, depending wheather the hinge is installed as left-hand or right-hand. if you draw it out you can see how the wearing points change left to right. it got us out of a sticky situation!--nbc
I am repairing an older (1905 ish) mortise door lock. I cannot find a way to remove the knobs, there is no set screw, but what appears to be a metal dowel through the knob. Is there any way to remove the knobs without removing the metal dowel as I am not sure about the durability of the lock in general and don't want to damage it?
any experience with a mortise lock that has a set of buttons at the top that allow you to 'lock' the latch portion? that's what i have on my front entry door &amp; now that i have it cleaned up i believe it's missing a part to help keep the spindle housing pieces in place (i have 1 piece with this task at the moment). the coil spring for the latch is actually on a post inside the latch itself, so my guess is i'm either missing a solid metal piece or possibly a leaf spring. my theory that someone LONG ago opened the lock box is somewhat confirmed by the fact that i believe the piece that holds the buttons in place was upside down when i took the lock apart. all the rest of the mortise locks in my house for the inside &amp; side entry doors don't have this feature so i can't easily compare :-( she's a PENN Pat. Nov. 5 1912
Sorry , I don't have any locks like that, but thanks for posting the photo. It's a cool looking lock.<br><br>Sounds like dll932 has your back though. good luck!
I saw your note on finding a second lock. Did it have a different latch? The buttons on my lock are just as yours are, but the latch is solid with no spring. The pin that slides in the open space in the right end of your latch is instead linked to the latch.<br><br>There is a small leaf spring at the top of the enclosure that pivots the cast half circle and the latch to which it is linked back into the closed position. I can see hardware stores stocking replacement latches and springs when the correctly-sized little leaf springs were no longer available.<br><br>I'm not by the computer with the pictures right now, I'll try to post a clear picture later.<br>
here's the 2nd lock i picked up (not yet cleaned). upon closer inspection i see 2 long, flat pieces of metal in the top right corner area, likely a broken leaf spring from somewhere, so who knows if anything else is broken or missing.<br> <br> i'm also attaching a pic of one of my interior locks (not cleaned either, but clearly didn't get exposed to the weather!) with no coil spring either.
<br> Glad I live in a dry climate! just spider webs and accumulated dust to clean.<br> <br> You can see the leaf spring across the top of the enclosure.&nbsp; It goes under the two-button locking mechanism, which is not sprung (back to original question).<br> <br> Except for the solid vs slotted latch shaft your front lock and mine look very similar.<br>
Looks like your leaf spring is upside down-it should be that lever against the case.
i'm not at home right now so i don't have the lock with me &amp; i don't have pics on my laptop since i haven't cleaned it (yet?) so i'll take a look in a day or so.

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