How to replace door handles in a door with odd mortise locks

BreadPuddnJuly 12, 2013

We just moved into a 1915 home that had a major remodel in the late 70s. One thing they did was put in three of these wood doors to the outside with lavender glass knobs both inside and outside. I would like to replace the knobs with lever handles, but am having a hard time figuring out the lock mechanism since this one was never fully exposed.

As you can see in the photo, there's a mortise lock, however, the lock mechanism within, directly below the knob, was never exposed/used on either side of the door. Instead, someone put in a separate bolt below the handle (really don't like it below).

So, to replace the knobs (and the spindles are worn, I think), how would I do this? Would I get a whole new mortise lock system with handles, put that in - and also *not* use the lock part? I'm okay with just the separate deadbolt. Or, would I get a passage set (which uses up less space within the door) and patch/fill the area within the door that will be freed up below it?

Also, most exterior/weather-proof knobs are larger than this when it comes to door thickness and scale. Should I just use an 'interior' door knob/lever outside as the prior people did?'

BTW, for what it's worth, the painted side is the exterior, the stained is the interior.


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There should be a set screw on the side of the door knob - losen that - and the knob should come off.

Since it doesn't look like the door was patched - I'm guessing they used the old lock - and perhaps it used a skelton key? You're also lacking the correct plate for a mortise latch with a lock.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Thanks. Yes, there's no plate there that should be preset with this kind of lock (it's like they just borrowed a lock from another door since there's no lock or key hole on this one). But, should I replace the whole mortise mechanism when I change out the handle (it feels a bit wimpy when in use), or just change the knob out only? I had assumed I should change out everything, but keeping the current lock mechanism would be great/easier.

(Perhaps I just answered my question. Ah well).

Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 12:41PM
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You could cut a 'plug' the same size as the mortise lock - actually make it a little narrower - and glue it in with epoxy or Gorilla glue.

The next day when it's dry you can bore a hole for a new lock set.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 2:48PM
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