Repairing Old Latches

kwilson308 says:
For the push button function to work you will need a ┐split┐ spindle where the door knobs rotate ind...... more
For the push button function to work you will need a ┐split┐ spindle where the door knobs rotate independently. A regular 1/4┐ square spindle will work for just opening and closing the door but if the lower button is pushed in then neither door knob will turn. A split spindle will let the inner knob rotate while keeping the outer knob from turning. Otherwise a skeleton key would be required to unlock the door again. Know any good locksmiths?
 
This story shows how to repair old door latches.

An older interior or exterior door, and some newer high-end exterior doors, may have a mortise latch. These fit into rectangular holes (mortises) in the edge of the door. In many cases the mortise latch assembly includes a key-operated dead bolt.

If the latch does not operate smoothly, scrape away any paint buildup. (The latch itself should not be painted, though it often is.) Dig out any debris that may be holding the latch bolt. Spray a bit of graphite or silicone lubricant around the latch bolt. If these measures do not work, remove the unit and inspect it.

Repair parts or a replacement unit may not be available at a hardware store or home center. Renovation supply dealers and locksmiths may have them, or you can search Internet sources.

Prestart Checklist

Time
Less than an hour for repairs, but finding replacement parts may be difficult

Tools
Screwdriver, pliers, vacuum or canned air

Skills
Some mechanical aptitude

Prep
Place a drop cloth on the floor below the door.

Materials
Spray lubricant, replacement parts as needed

Remove mortise lock

To remove a mortise lock, remove both knobs and the shaft. (Usually you loosen a setscrew on one of the knobs, then pull it off. Some knobs screw onto the shaft.) Remove the two lock retaining screws and pry the mortise latch out.

Remove lock cover

Place the latch on a worktable. Unscrew one or two screws and carefully remove the cover. Study the parts and how they go together so you can replace them correctly.

Remove broken parts

If you see a broken part -- usually a spring or an arm that connects to the latch bolt -- remove it and try to find a replacement part. It may be easier to buy a whole new unit.

Clean lock

Vacuum away dust or clean the lock with canned air. Lightly spray with silicone lubricant or graphite (not oil; it gums up), then replace the cover. Test and then reinstall the lock.

 

Comments (2)
8076036684
kwilson308 wrote:

For the push button function to work you will need a ┐split┐ spindle where the door knobs rotate independently. A regular 1/4┐ square spindle will work for just opening and closing the door but if the lower button is pushed in then neither door knob will turn. A split spindle will let the inner knob rotate while keeping the outer knob from turning. Otherwise a skeleton key would be required to unlock the door again. Know any good locksmiths?

6/5/2014 11:21:29 AM Report Abuse
grampy8 wrote:

I have a door with an old skeleton key latch that appartently someone pushed in one of the lock buttons and now i can't get the door open. Any suggestions on how to overcome this problem. I thought those buttons were like a night latch and could be opened with the inside handle, but apparently I was wrong or else something has screwed up the mechanization and it won't work now.

5/29/2012 06:20:49 PM Report Abuse
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