My brother has 17 doors in his house that need mortise locks installed.
He wishes to cut the mortises with the doors hanging. I would like to
know if there is a cheap, simple way to bore for the mortises that is
better than hand-drilling. I have bored out many mortises with my drill
press, but never free-hand.
A door lock mortising router jig sounds like what you're looking for,
but the ones made strong and safe enough to be used on a hanging door
are probably $400.
Whereas, there are several decent, inexpensive jigs meant to be used on
a door on its side.
A pair of homemade door blocks to hold the door on its side costs less
than a cup of coffee.
I can't think of too many woodworking tasks that are easier than taking
a door on and off of it's hinges. :-)
If you're installing simple cylindrical locks, you can find a decent jig
for those, that work on a hung door, for well under 50 bucks.
What are you installing?
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
A great deal easier, and more important, less hard on the door. If I
am re-locking or retrofitting, I go in after the finishing or painting
I will not go in, fit locks and install them, then take them off,
store them, then go reinstall them after finishing. So when you "lock
out" a house, you are tail end charlie.
1) You cannot take a chance on scuffing or scratching finishes from
handling doors when removing or reinstalling. No matter how careful
you are, you will slip somewhere and the door will need a refinish.
So you leave them on the hinges, then put the locks on in place
2) When you install a door, the installation of the frame and the door
reveals, final placement of the door in the jamb, etc., are more of a
feel you get rather than installing with a level or square. Twisted
jambs, uneven floors, etc., all make the tongue/strike relation very
relative. In a perfect world, the door is in a square frame that is
plumb and level. You can get close, but no cigar most of the time.
If you are in a tract home or production home, the "close" tolerance
rule applies. You move the strike, fill the screw hole with a sliver,
them mortise out to the new position. This is common with shop built
doors that are fitted door-to-jamb in a plant and bored and mortised
If you have the door hung on site and it looks great, reveals all
perfect, tight fit against the jambs, etc., you can mark the door for
lock/strike location, and since you aren't moving the door, when it
closes it will always return to the same exact place. This makes your
measured and carefully marked door and jamb line up every time.
If you mark the door and the jamb and remove the door from the jamb,
it may not hang back the same way. With today's crappy hardware, I
have seen many, many bent hinge pins that still work fine, but hold
the door a certain way. If I take a door off the hinges by pin
removal, I now label the pins. I learned this the hard way, and you
can't seem to spot "those" hinges until it is too late. So now, look
at the three hinged doors that are so popular. These hinges are
pretty flimsy since they now use three instead of just two. NOTE: The
third hinge BTW is to assist in keeping the masonite/particle board
doors from warping in the jamb, not to make it a better door. I have
removed doors for refinishing (oops... trim carpenter error!) that
were these 6 panel masonite doors, and found that after working on
them for a couple of hours they have warped on the saw horses.
I don't want to wrestle with rehanging a potentially warped door,
wagging around a door in a house to get it to my work area, or winding
up with doors have a less than *click* close when I am finished with
For a guy like me, it is easier to mark, drill and chisel once to get
a good fit. I mark, drill, then sit on a five gallon paint bucket and
do the rest of the fitting. Also, when drilling the tongue cylinder,
I find it much easier to gauge left and right by keeping the drill
parallel to the door by doing it this way.
Depending on the lock/latch/strike, I can go start to finish (marking
to final adjustment) in +/- 30 minutes.
In the end, the door isn't moved so the finish isn't in danger (no $$$
for finish repair, even if it someone else that knocks over the door
or drags their nail bags across it), and it always goes back to the
original spot after the hardware is prepped and installed.
Bingo ... and ONLY until _you_ get finished will the bank release the
remainder of the construction loan, something they will not do with a
construction door still on.
I've had houses that were *completely* finished but for the damn
construction door that only qualified for 70% release of funds as long as it
was still in place ... on a $400K project that's a damned expensive door and
<and I hope those particular bankers are rotting somewhere in bailout hell>
Well, not only is that stupid on their part, but just brutal on
yours. I would probably have a stroke on the spot of that happened to
I'm tellin' ya.... I ain't that strong!
I always used to fantasize about a banker's head as a cover for a 2"
ball hitch. Think of the fun you could have with that one!
Personally, there are a few I know that I am hoping found gainful
employment in the janitorial industry. It would sure suit their skill
I once got over good on a bank. I felt good for years. It was all legal and
knew they didn't know what a piece of equipment was worth. I ended up
getting 3 pieces that were worth 60,000.00 for 6800.00. Ive told the story
at least 100 times and it still brings a smile to my face. :)
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK"
My father's words still ring in my ears on the subject of bankers.
"If you can prove to the SOB's you don't need the money, the skies the
limit on how much they will loan you, but God forbid you need the
money, you're between a rock and a hard place."
(The cleaned up version<Grin>).
This is pretty much the industry standard for <<mortise>> locks, and
has been for many decades. Nice piece of equipment!
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
If you are talking about plain drilled out locks with only the tongue
and strike mortised out, in the industry these aren't considered
"mortise" locks. Just plain door locks.
There are a dozen versions of this model, which will do the standard 2
3/8 backset with 15/16" or 1" tongue cylinder hole.
If he isn't good with a chisel, I think Amazon has an IRWIN model that
has a router guide that will attach to the door and you can router out
the small mortise on the tongue cylinder instead of chiseling it out.
For an installer, an chisel would no doubt be faster, but for someone
that doesn't use tools a lot, chiseling out those little mortises can
take a lot of time.
Robert, I agree on the Porter Cable. Mine is a 1950's version. I
wouldn't loan it out and I'm not aware of anyone who would rent
one. I also would not care to take on multiple mortise locks with
speed bore and chisel.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
If I had the PC version of that vintage, I wouldn't even let anyone
touch it, much less use it. I have only seen a small few over the
years, and the old ones are much better made and to tighter tolerances
than the newer ones.
And no one rents those things.
I don't have one myself, regardless of the age.
And in fact, I only install from scratch a box lock about every 18
months or so. It seems clients started spending more money on the
castings and finishes, and less on the mechanical workings of
locksets. Just doesn't seem to be much call for that type of
I work for a major school district. The only kind of locks we use
on new or old are full mortise. When I went to work for them,
they had not ever seen the Porter Cable, so I brought mine in.
The project had over 60 doors. Once they saw how mine operated,
they purchased the current model. Not an everyday use, but
indispensable. I've never looked for one on Craiglist or Ebay.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
On Fri, 10 Apr 2009 22:40:03 -0700 (PDT), " firstname.lastname@example.org"
...I bought my PC 'bout 10 years ago when I had alot of hotel
work...used it for a half-dozen box lock installs and it was
wonderful...and it still *is* wonderful as it sits in my shop waiting
to be utilized again!
No kidding. That's a real understatement. I knew a lock guy that I
used to run into that sub contracted installation of full mortise
locks. He only installed top line Baldwins, etc. NO bored locks,
Full box mortises were all he did.
He did one to two a day in the upscale neighborhoods for several of
the high end remodelers. I was stunned when he told me what the PC
mortising machine cost and I thought he was kidding me. Nope.
Then he told me what he charged for the installation of full mortise
lock and matching deadbolt. $375 - $425.
He had a three week wait. I thought he was a pretty sharp old guy
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.