This mortise lock works as both a door lock and a door latch. To operate the door lock you need a skeleton key (Figure 3) to "throw" the lock bolt; to operate the door latch you use doorknobs that have a 1/4" to 5/16" square spindle joining them together to throw the latch bolt (Figure 2). A strike plate (Figure 3) is mounted on the jamb of the door to receive the latch bolt (shown in Figure 1).
So the first step in finding hardware for your old door is finding a mortise lock. You can buy vintage mortise locks, or reproduction mortise locks. You need to measure the hole (called a mortise) in the edge of your door to determine the size of the mortise lock that you need, because they come in all different sizes. You may also use our mortise lock search form to submit the size of the hole to our staff and we will search our inventory for an appropriate lock for you. This form also shows you the anatomy of a mortise lock and explains terms such as backset and spacing.
Once you have a snug fitting mortise lock in the door, you are ready to select your doorknobs and door plates or rosettes. For each door, you will need one pair of doorknobs, or two doorknobs mounted on a spindle which you learned about in Figure 3.
Because of the different manufacturing techniques, it is not always possible to mix different styles of door knobs on the same spindle. You will see some pairs of knobs threaded onto their spindles, usually with 16 or 20 threads per inch, so it is not always possible to mate different knob styles onto one spindle. You will also see some knobs attached by set screws (Figure 5) that thread through the doorknob's neck and into a threaded hole on the spindle.
For each door you will also need a pair of door plates or door rosettes, also called roses or escutcheons (Figure 4). Roses are the round escutcheons that the doorknob sits in, they serve the same purpose as plates. You need two per door. You may also mix and match and have a door plate on one side, and a rosette and keyhole escutcheon (Figure 4) on the other side. We offer a great selection of antique door knobs and plates as well as new or reproduction door knobs and plates to use with mortise locks. It is important that you measure the spacing (Figure 6) of your mortise lock to determint that the plate you have selected will work. Spacing is the measurement between the center of the doorknob hole and the center of the round part of the keyhole. Many of our reproduction locks have the same spacing as many old mortise locks. There are variations in spacings on some old mortise locks so be sure you measure carefully before selecting your door plates. If you have an unusual spacing, you may decide to opt for a rosette and keyhole because the spacing is variable with these pieces.
So, to summarize:
1. Find a mortise lock. Use your existing one, or choose a reproduction that will fit into the mortise already cut in the edge of your old door. Don't forget the strike plate and key if needed.
2. Choose a pair of vintage or reproduction knobs.
3. Choose a pair of plates or roses that match your spacing.
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