How to repair door knob that won't close?

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Wife and I moved into an 60 year old (or so) row home with apparently original door knob closures. Sorry don't know the techinical word.
The door or the knobs are out of alignment, and no matter how hard you push the door against the door jamb, you can't get the doorknob tongue (the metal part that sticks out) to go into the doorjamb recess metal thingy (the part where the doorknob tongue goes into).
The previous owners put those brass looking doorknobs with crystal clear doorknobs and brass plates... but never did anything about the doorknob part on the doorjamb itself.
What do i do to repair this?
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On 7/25/2008 9:23 AM meatnub spake thus:

First of all, terminology: the parts of the door you seem to be concerned with here are the latch (the thingy that sticks out of the door) and the strike (the metal plate that's supposed to receive the latch.
Hard to tell for sure from your description (pictures might help), but it's possible that the problem is that the latch isn't aligned correctly with the strike. This is the most common problem with doors that no longer close correctly: the house has moved over time, and the jamb, which carries the strike, has moved it out of range of the latch.
Pretty easy to tell if this is the case: hunker down so your eyes are level with the latch. Close the door and see where the latch hits on the strike. If it's missing the openings in the strike, then that's your problem.
*If* this is the problem, the usual solution is to move the strike (not the latch, which would be much harder to do). Remove the strike, mark the new location, chisel out a new mortise for it, drill new pilot holes for the screws, screw it back in.
--
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Excuse my lack of terminology and thanks for the quick reply!
Latch and strike. Got it!
Ah yes, that makes sense - the jambs and house moving over time.
That's what I thought I would have to do - remove the strike and chisel a new opening in the strike. I've been a little hesitant in doing this, but I think since all I have to do is move the strike 1/4 of an inch or so, hopefully I won't have to chisel that much and make things worse. Though I don't think I can do much harm, as long as I don't chisel where the strike needs to be screwed in.
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wrote:

Excuse my lack of terminology and thanks for the quick reply!
Latch and strike. Got it!
Ah yes, that makes sense - the jambs and house moving over time.
That's what I thought I would have to do - remove the strike and chisel a new opening in the strike. I've been a little hesitant in doing this, but I think since all I have to do is move the strike 1/4 of an inch or so, hopefully I won't have to chisel that much and make things worse. Though I don't think I can do much harm, as long as I don't chisel where the strike needs to be screwed in.
--
it\'s frequently hard to drill new holes if they are close to the existing
holes. you have to plug the existing holes with something. glue in a golf
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wrote:

true. i will have to see .. hopefully not...
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charlie wrote:

If misalignment of the latch and strike is what's the problem, they might be just a little way from engaging OK.
If so, you may be able to remove the strike plate and file its opening longer on the correct end, then reinstall it without having to chisel anything more than a bit of the wood on one end of the hole behind it.
I've done it that way myself several times. Take a look see and maybe you can do it that way.
Jeff
--
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(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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On Fri, 25 Jul 2008 11:16:20 -0700, "charlie"

This could be expensive. First you have to join a golf club and that's hundreds of dollars, thousands for a really fancy one.

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If all the good advice you have here doesn't work, you may have to make your own new strike plate. Easy done with a hack saw, drill and countersink and file,. For material stop by a sheet metal shop and scrounge a piece of .060" stainless steel. Scribe the outline of the old strike plate on it, scribe a new location for the latch opening, cut, trim, file to fit and install in the old location. Spray paint it with Rustoleum brass if esthetics are vital. Used this scheme many times in old houses with significant success...
Joe
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Joe wrote:

I have actually found sources for vintage looking strike plates. I wanted some to match the existing in my house because I didn't want to have to redo all the door jambs (a lot of doors were removed by a previous owner, but the frames were still intact. Also a couple strike plates were missing on installed doors.) I don't remember where I found them from, but there were at least two different sizes/shapes, and mine apparently was less common. I can find out if it helps though, the extras are still in the envelope that they came in.
nate
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Easier could be file the hole on the strike a bit larger , chisel a bit, or not, and keep screws in same location.
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i was thinking - would they sell strikes that might have wider opening so i could just replace old with new use same screw holes?
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meatnub wrote:

No, but if you remove the strike plate, it might be a simple matter to enlarge the hole, either top or bottom, depending on where the latch is hitting.
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Well, good advice all around from everyone, much appreciated. I'll post a follow up after I get around to it this weekend.
And thanks for the civilized responses! I never know with some of these newsgroups.
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Make sure the screws in the hinges aren't loose letting the door to sage.
Jerry
http://community.webtv.net/awoodbutcher/MyWoodWorkingPage
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On Fri, 25 Jul 2008 17:05:09 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Jerry - OHIO) wrote:

A long screw will pull the jamb over, but will never prevent "sage".
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Jerry - OHIO wrote:

(and cheap) stuff first, like loose or stripped-out screwholes. If the screws are loose, and won't tighten down, get a little longer screw, and jam a toothpick in there before you replace the screw. Do 1 screw at a time.
-- aem sends...
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On 7/25/2008 11:58 AM HeyBub spake thus:

Actually, not true. Yes, you can't walk into a hardware store (at least not most of them) and expect to find a strike that has a bigger opening than the one you have. But depending on where you are, there may be places that do sell such things. F'rinstance, 'round heah (Berkeley), there's a place (Ohmega Salvage) that has lots of stuff from and for old houses, and I've actually bought just what you were asking about there, a strike with a larger opening. Some second-hand building supply places may also have such things.
And yes, as has been suggested, if it's only a little out of alignment, say 1/8" or so, then you can just file the strike. Been there, done that.
--
"Wikipedia ... it reminds me ... of dogs barking idiotically through
endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it.
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Or- looking at the latch end of the equation: If the strike is in a part of the door frame that you don't want to mess with, for some reason, you could also attack the other end of the problem.
If the door is not level because of the house settling, you could shim the hinge(s).

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Phone book. Locks and locksmiths.
--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
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Yeah, He needs to call a lock smith.

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