What's the chance of success at repairing a vintage lockset? It's on an
exterior door. It might be called a mortise lock. It gets stuck and doesn't
spring back, etc. etc. What is the general availability of parts (probably a
dumb question), or the availability of a new replacement lock?
I'm not sure about parts, but people still make new mortise locks...
Rocky Mountain Hardware (http://www.rockymountainhardware.com ) is
excellent, though very pricey, and will pretty much custom-make any
finish or style you want - just talk to the owner.
You must choose between three actions:
-- Restore i.e. have a specialist repair to make
the lock work work exactly as it used to:
-- Repair i.e. keep the outside appearance
the same, even if you use new mechanisms
-- Replace with a different-working lock of
Carlsbad Springs (Ottawa, Canada)
By mortise lock, I take it to mean the lock fits in the edge of the door.
I see lots, and I mean lots, of these locks available at antique stores. I
don't know where you live, but if you live in an old area, I bet antique
shops would have a comparable replacement. If you have a skeleton key type
you can still get them. You might need to bring the lock to the smith or to
a good hardware store.
If your home is that old, why not salvage from a similar lock found in the
home you live it.
I have some old locks mounted on the outside of the inside doors, that had a
neat feature of locking it from the without a key. Most of them with that
lever did break.
Go for it.
Take it apart and fix it yourself, it may not be too difficult. My
house was built in 1925, and I'm gradually going through all the
locksets on the interior and exterior doors. What I've been doing is
taking the lockset out, take it apart (make sure you pay attention to
how it's assempled so you can put it back together again), strip any
paint off the exposed parts of the mortise using paint stripper, clean
the rest of it with steel wool, and then put it all back together
again. 95% of the time it works perfectly after that. Sometimes some
of the internal brass parts have work to a point where they don't
operate as well as they should, so that's when you have to get
creative. Sometimes I can file off burrs on parts, sometimes I can
put a little epoxy on parts to make up for missing material, and
sometimes I go to the local salvage joint and buy a used mortise
lockset that matches the one I need to replace.
For an exterior door with a lock cylinder, it the key doesn't turn
easily, there is a lock shop in town where I can take that and for
about 5 or 10 bucks they can take it apart, clean and lubricate it,
and rekey it if necessary. When we move into this house, the original
locks hadn't been used for years (deadbolts had been added) and there
were no keys to be had, so that's what I did to get the original locks
There is also a great site for reproduction and antiquee hardware,
that I am sure would have hat you are looking for:
I have hardware from the 20's and have taken everything apart,
cleaned, fixed and re-built and it is worth your while. But I agree
with previous post...make sure to remember how to put it back to
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