Introduction: Cleaning and Repairing an Antique Mortise Door Lock

Picture of Cleaning and Repairing an Antique Mortise Door Lock

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.

Picture of 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.

Step 2: What's a Spindle?

Picture of What's a Spindle?

The spindle is threaded to hold the knobs on, but has flats to operate the lock mechanism and to allow the set screws in the knob to hold the knob securely to the spindle.

If the set screws become lose they will allow the knob to turn without actuating the lock mechanism. If your knob is "slipping" try tightening this screw.

Prolonged use with a lose set screw can damage the spindle. If tightening the set screw does not help, you should be able to buy a new spindle at your local hardware store (not the chain with the 16 year old clerk, find the one with the proprietor who is approximately as old as your home).

Step 3: Loosen the Set Screw.

Picture of Loosen the Set Screw.

To remove a knob, find the set screw on the base and loosen it just enough that the handle turns freely on the spindle.

Step 4: Remove a Knob From the Spindle.

Picture of Remove a Knob From the Spindle.

Unscrew that knob from the spindle. Make sure not to drop it!

Step 5: Remove the Spindle From the Door.

Picture of Remove the Spindle From the Door.

To remove the spindle, pull on the other knob with the spindle attached.

If you need to replace the spindle loosen the set screw on this knob, and unscrew the spindle from the knob to remove it.

Reverse your steps from this point to install the new spindle.

Step 6: Free the Lock Face From Any Paint.

Picture of Free the Lock Face From Any Paint.

Before you remove the lock mechanism from the door, you may want to score the gap around the lock front with a razor to free any paint that may be attached to the metal.

If there is paint on the lock face, then when you remove the mechanism the paint may stick to the lock face and peal off the wood of the door.

Step 7: Remove the Lock Face Screws.

Picture of Remove the Lock Face Screws.

To free the lock mechanism from the door, remove the two screws in the lock face.

Step 8: Pop the Lock Case Out of the Door.

Picture of Pop the Lock Case Out of the Door.

To extract the lock mechanism from a tight mortise hole, place a small screw driver through the hole where the spindle was and gently push forward to free the lock face from the wood.

Step 9: Remove the Lock Case From the Door.

Picture of Remove the Lock Case From the Door.

The lock mechanism should come freely out of the door.

Step 10: Open the Lock Case.

Picture of Open the Lock Case.

Beware that several components inside the case may be attached to springs. If you are not careful when you open the case, you will not get a chance to see how the inner workings are supposed to fit together, or worse parts, may fly off into the far corners of your workspace.

Carefully remove the screw while holding the case together.

Step 11: Freeing the Latch

Picture of Freeing the Latch

If you need to reverse the latch so that it closes the other way, gently remove the latch while holding the other parts in place, and re-insert it with the angled end facing the other direction.

If that's all you needed to do, reverse your steps from this point to re-install the lock.

However, look at all those cobwebs! Lets continue on to clean the lock.

Now would be a great time to take a photo of your lock mechanism so you can put it back together later.

Step 12: Disassemble the Latch Mechanism

Picture of Disassemble the Latch Mechanism

The latch/knob mechanism should not have particularly powerful springs, just be careful not to lose any of the pieces.

Step 13: Disassemble the Dead Bolt Mechanism.

Picture of Disassemble the Dead Bolt Mechanism.

The deadbolt mechanism will have a powerful spring. Press the gate toward the top of the lock mechanism, lift it over the top of the cam on the deadbolt , and gently release the spring tension until you can safely lift the gate off it's pin.

Step 14: Keep Track of the Parts!

Picture of Keep Track of the Parts!

I warned you about losing parts, right?

Step 15: Secure the Lock Case.

Picture of Secure the Lock Case.

The main lock body should be cast and fairly durable. The lock face is likely brass and is therefore easy to dent and even bend. Use a vise to hold the case body so you can clean the face, but do not over-tighten the vise or clamp directly to the brass face, or you will damage your lock.

Step 16: Polish the Brass Lock Face.

Picture of Polish the Brass Lock Face.

Use 0000 steel wool to polish the lock face. Do not think you are clever and use sand paper to rush the job along. Be patient. Remember you are here because some lazy sod didn't bother ot remove the lock before painting. Look at all the gunk on there! Do not repeat their mistake. Patience!

Step 17: Decide What to Do About Dings and Dents.

Picture of Decide What to Do About Dings and Dents.

You may reveal marks from the craftsman who built your lock. All mine have unique numbers stamped into the faces.

Deep dents or gouges in the brass will resist polishing. You can decide to try to clean them out but I just leave them dark. They add character.

Step 18: Polish the Exterior Latch and Dead Bolt Surfaces.

Picture of Polish the Exterior Latch and Dead Bolt Surfaces.

The latch and possibly even the deadbolt will also be polished brass. You can clean them with steel wool in the same way you cleaned the lock face. I don't put them in the vise to polish, I just hold them in my hand.

Step 19: Clean the Case and Parts With WD-40.

Picture of Clean the Case and Parts With WD-40.

If you did it right, your lock case will be full of steel wool dust. Clean it and all the other parts with a paper towel and WD-40.

Do not use oil!

Get all the dust, cobwebs, and steel wool out of the case and off the parts.

Step 20: Re-install the Deadbolt and Prepare the Gate.

Picture of Re-install the Deadbolt and Prepare the Gate.

The first tricky part of re-assembly is to get that gate back on with that stiff leaf spring. With the deadbolt in place, reverse your steps: gate on pin, leaf spring against the stop, gently squeeze the gate into position...

Step 21: Attach the Gate to the Dead Bolt.

Picture of Attach the Gate to the Dead Bolt.

...and drop it onto the cam of the deadbolt. Tension should keep it in place.

Step 22: Replace the Latch Spring.

Picture of Replace the Latch Spring.

If your latch spring is broken or weak then you'll need a replacement.

You can take the lock to a local locksmith (find the one that's been around since your house was built).

If you have a good spring (maybe in a different lock) you can measure the length of the spring when un-tensioned. Then hang weights from it to determine the amount of force needed to start stretching it (the spring pretension force) and then amount of additional force needed to stretch it a specific distance (the stiffness of the spring) then you can go find one online.  The McMaster-Carr site has a great search engine for springs.

My locks took this spring:  http://www.mcmaster.com/#9654k116

Step 23: Prepare the Latch Mechanism.

Picture of Prepare the Latch Mechanism.

The latch mechanism can be tricky since the top of the case normally holds it in place. I put the parts together as much as possible with the spring un-tensioned.

Step 24: Tension the Latch Spring.

Picture of Tension the Latch Spring.

I use a screw driver to tension the latch spring and hold everything into place.

Step 25: Use the Screw Driver to Hold Everything in Place.

Picture of Use the Screw Driver to Hold Everything in Place.

Notice that the case top is already on the screw driver so I can drop it into place.

Step 26: Close the Case Top.

Picture of Close the Case Top.

Once the case is closed, the latch mechanism should stay in place while you tighten the case screw.

Step 27: Test the Mechanism on the Bench Before Re-installing.

Picture of Test the Mechanism on the Bench Before Re-installing.

Do not over-tighten the case screw or it will bind the mechanism. Test by using a screw driver to actuate the mechanism. If the latch doesn't come back out when you release the screw driver, then you've either over-tightened the screw, or something else is out of place inside.

If you have a key for the lock, also test the deadbolt.

Now is your chance to fix things, if you don't test it until you have it back in the door, you'll be sorry when you have to tear it all back out and bring it back to the bench.

Make sure your latch is the right way too, if it's backward fix it now.

Once you're satisfied, reverse your steps to re-install the lock set in the door. If the case doesn't easily slide in to the door, use a rubber mallet to gently tap it into place. Do not use a metal hammer or you will mar the surface of the lock face. If you do not have a mallet use the plastic handle of your screw driver.

Step 28: Note That There Are Many Kinds of Locks.

Picture of Note That There Are Many Kinds of Locks.

Note that not all mortise locks are the same inside. I have two kinds of lock mechanisms that look almost identical from the outside but have a slightly shorter face and a slightly shallower backset.

The latch mechanism on this lock is easier to work with because it doesn't fly apart when you open the case.  There's a leaf spring for the knob return and a separate coil spring for the latch return. Also the the spindle cam pushes directly on a combined arm/transit.

Comments

dll932 (author)2011-07-17

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.

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.

Frequently the bolt will be bent from attempts to close the door with it extended. Being brass, they can be CAREFULLY straightened.

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!

ShellieW2 (author)dll9322017-07-07

Thanks for this bit of info. I had no idea to leave the 1/2 turn of 'slop'. Makes all the difference.

rgrimm1 (author)dll9322011-09-29

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.
Use dry graphite only, use a Q-tip or puff applicator to apply.

NEVER use varnish if you can avoid it. It does not hold up as well as CLEAR LACQUER IMNSHO.

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.

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.
You will likely NOT find flat springs at most places. Locksmiths are your best bet, especially the older shops.

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.

Hope this helps.

hsparre (author)rgrimm12015-12-27

Hi,

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.

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.

rgrimm1 (author)hsparre2015-12-28

Would you have a similar lock in the house? Carefully removed and used as an example, it might serve.
I would recommend just trying different assemblies, keeping track of how you put any particular part together...dead bolt assembly, for example.
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.
I'm the type that needs a bunch of pieces in front of me to work, so sending me pics would probably not help.
Sorry.

dll932 (author)rgrimm12011-09-29

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.

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.

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).

Varnish is OK as long as it's polyurethane-some lock makers use it as a finish.

"Skeleton keys" 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).

The majority of spring breakage I have seen was the result of rust or loss of temper of the steel.

controlsgirl (author)dll9322015-12-11

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!

dll932 (author)controlsgirl2015-12-11

Very glad I could help!

controlsgirl (author)dll9322015-12-11

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.

ShellieW2 (author)2017-07-07

Thanks for this tutorial. We have a house that was built in 1907 or 1909 and the cleaning & repairing is most necessary.

TimothyD69 (author)2017-04-12

I have the same lock that was posted by n toxic ated 6 years ago. The latch does not spring out and stay out. There is a spring missing but I am unable to determine.

GaryS217 (author)2016-08-28

I just moved into an apartment with mortise door knobs in which I don't know the first thing about them I can fix modern locks but this is one I don't know where to begin my landlord said he fix them but I told him I want to because I never worked on locks like this any advice will be appreciated and thanks in advance.

SuzanneS22 (author)2016-01-25

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!!!

Any suggestions besides the obvious? Thanks

dll932 (author)SuzanneS222016-05-09

You may have to apply a crescent wrench or vise grip type pliers to the ferrule (the metal part closest to the door) and use force to unscrew them CCW. This will likely destroy the knobs but they can be had at many hardware stores inexpensively. NOTE: I am assuming the knob setscrews have already been removed.

Pagen (author)dll9322016-06-03

bad advice. You cannot get these knobs at the hardware store! Try a product called break free. Talk to a plumber about it. Also try the other side of r

The j

Knob if you didn't think of that

I've sometimes been able to remove one side but not the other

dll932 (author)Pagen2016-06-03

Au contraire, mon frere-Aftermarket mortise lock knobs are easily available at many hardware and Big Box type stores. And there's always Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Ultra-Hardware-43010-Solid-Brass/dp/B002O75DBS/ref=sr_1_6/184-3008833-0059929?ie=UTF8&qid=1465012229&sr=8-6&keywords=Mortise+Door+Knobs.

Pagen (author)dll9322016-06-03

bad advice. You cannot get these knobs at the hardware store! Try a product called break free. Talk to a plumber about it. Also try the other side of r

The j

Knob if you didn't think of that

I've sometimes been able to remove one side but not the other

dll932 (author)2016-05-09

For anyone who has more questions, I would suggest googling the subject, because someone else is sure to have had the same problem you ran into. There are HUNDREDS of different mortise lock designs, if not more. That means sometimes only a general answer can be given here. If you know the name of the lock, try googling THAT. There is an amazing amount of material on the web about old locks.

controlsgirl (author)2015-12-11

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!!

dll932 (author)controlsgirl2016-01-01

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:

http://progressivehardware.net/images/193_2600LPCU...

Here's a vid that may help:

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.

dll932 (author)2015-12-11

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.

TranN (author)2014-11-21

Do you have a suggestion for a place for replacement keys? Our house came with these, but no keys!

NapaNASCARNutNed (author)TranN2015-11-08

Local locksmith quoted me $20 to make a key when I brought the key drum into him.

tvodny (author)TranN2014-11-29

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&category=52

chriswren (author)TranN2014-11-22

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).

NapaNASCARNutNed (author)2015-11-08

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.

JamesJ26 (author)2015-07-05

TranN (author)2014-11-24

Thanks! I went to my local Ace Hardware, some of them carry the antique locks :-) not the brass type they sell at Home Depot.

tafranz (author)2014-08-18

anyone know where u can find lockscrews that will work on these

AndrewCampbell (author)2013-07-30

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.

KI0DN (author)2013-04-27

Excellent presentation. Thank you for showing me something else I may tinker with.

Pat_Maroney (author)2013-04-21

This is really neat. I love this kind of stuff, thank you for sharing!

parkwood60 (author)2013-01-20

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...

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.

parkwood60 (author)2013-01-18

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.

browne (author)2012-04-05

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?
Thanks

jmichaelkel (author)2012-02-28

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?

skaar (author)jmichaelkel2012-03-02

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.

chriswren (author)jmichaelkel2012-02-29

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

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.

jmichaelkel (author)chriswren2012-02-29

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.

Yokena (author)2012-02-24

I'm so glad I found this site as I just might be able to solve my door lock problem.

I have locks on front & back door marked as "E-Z Mortise", 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.

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.

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!

Any advice would be appreciated.

vcortlandt (author)2011-05-17

Where can I buy one of those springs?

i also need springs--did you find them?--scott

dll932 (author)vcortlandt2011-10-23

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.

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 "in place" 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.

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).

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.

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.

chriswren (author)vcortlandt2011-05-29

I bought mine from mcmaster:
http://www.mcmaster.com/#9654k116/=cipe6t

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.

vcortlandt (author)chriswren2011-06-02

Thank you............

n_b_c (author)2012-01-07

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?
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

joldfield (author)2011-12-07

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?

n_toxic_ated (author)2011-07-06

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 & 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 & side entry doors don't have this feature so i can't easily compare :-( she's a PENN Pat. Nov. 5 1912

chriswren (author)n_toxic_ated2011-10-03

Sorry , I don't have any locks like that, but thanks for posting the photo. It's a cool looking lock.

Sounds like dll932 has your back though. good luck!

Utemike (author)n_toxic_ated2011-08-06

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.

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.

I'm not by the computer with the pictures right now, I'll try to post a clear picture later.

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