Old knobs on new door?

s8thrdOctober 12, 2009

As part of a remodel our GC purchased a new interior door; it's pre-hung and pre-drilled (2-1/8 bore, 2-3/8 backset). It's in the kitchen, and the other doors in the room (which are immediately on either side of it) have original 1916 plain white porcelain oval knobs. We would like to match the knobs, but nobody makes these anymore.

We have a set of knobs available, from another door which was scrapped during the remodel. But our GC knows of no way of using the old knobs on the new door. Is there any easy way of doing this? Can we buy a knobset which will fit on the new pre-drilled door, but which will allow us to substitute the antique knobs? Any ideas?

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homebound

I find it hard to believe your GC knows of no way to do it. Perhaps he means not without the old mechanism handy (and not without more time to deal with it). Do you have the accompanying mechanism, or just the knobs and spindle?

If you had everything, it would be a matter of using high performance wood filler for whatever holes need to be refilled and sanded, etc.

And if you do have just the knobs and spindle, you could get the rest from an architectural salvage type of place.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 8:14PM
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s8thrd

We have the entire old door. Well, our GC isn't going to deal with it, but I guess we could hire a specialist at our expense to transfer the mechanism. Could be pricey -- we live in a very high labor-cost area. But thanks for the idea.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 10:45PM
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worthy

A builder who uses pre-hung doors is what we call a "production" builder. You can't reasonably expect him to then do custom work.

Unless your door is custom wood, it's usually more economical to start over with a new slab--not drilled and not pre-hung.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 9:58AM
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brickeyee

Renovators supply has mechanisms that can be used in pre-drilled doors, but take any knob designed for a square 1/4 inch shaft.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 12:16PM
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izzie

maybe these places can get hardware you need.

http://houseofantiquehardware.com/s.nl/sc.10/category.14/.f

Maybe some kind of kit is available or conversion kit.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 1:03PM
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worthy

it would be a matter of using high performance wood filler for whatever holes need to be refilled and sanded, etc.

I'm not aware of any fillers that can be used to fill such a large hole. First, the hole would have to be roughly filled with wood, then filler. I've actually done that on on my own homes with varying degrees of success. But by the time a trim carpenter at $45 per hour + has finished, you're usually ahead buying a new door and starting over.

Renovators supply has mechanisms that can be used in pre-drilled doors, but take any knob designed for a square 1/4 inch shaft.

I couldn't find it in their catalogue. But maybe I missed it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Renovator's Supply

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 9:50PM
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Circus Peanut

YES, there are very easy kits to do this. (Done it myself.) It involves replacing the modern latch with a special one that fills in the round bore hole and takes the square shaft for your vintage knobs. Check them out via eBay sellers (I'm linking the one I used below) and probably elsewhere It's not very pricey, easy to do yourself, and lord knows much cheaper than a new door.

Here is a link that might be useful: here's the complete kit I used

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 12:01AM
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homebound

Worthy,

Maybe it's not for everybody, and I didn't know if was a stock, hollow core door (or special order, or wood, masonite, whatever).

But anyway, I use Minwax high performance wood filler similar to the way you described; fill hole with wood (use a bored plug, a bit thinner than the door), glue in place (clamp with board scraps + single layer of cardboard on the plug, both sides), then finish with the filler. I opted for that route since I could do it faster than the trip to buy another stock door. Even more reason if it were a special order door.

(Now that I think about it, next time I may shim the plug in the hole..if there is a next time...before using the filler.)

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 12:19AM
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brickeyee

"Now that I think about it, next time I may shim the plug in the hole..if there is a next time...before using the filler."

Use the filler to glue the plug in the hole.

By the tie I repair doors, windows, or molding with the high performance filler you cannot tell anything was done under the new coat of paint.

If you catch the stuff as it is setting up you can use carving chisels to make it match molding patterns.

Wait for it to finish curing and make another pass with the chisels, then some light sanding.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 11:34AM
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brickeyee

"Renovators supply has mechanisms that can be used in pre-drilled doors, but take any knob designed for a square 1/4 inch shaft."

"I couldn't find it in their catalogue. But maybe I missed it."

You may have to call them, or they may have stopped selling just the mechanisms.

Van Dykes has mortise lock mechanisms.

Here is a link that might be useful: Van Dykes Interior Mortise lock

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 11:42AM
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s8thrd

I would like to thank all of those who replied.

Circuspeanut, that kit looks like it's just what we're looking for. I'm going to show it to my contractor and see what he thinks. Up until now, everybody I've spoken with has told me that no such thing existed, which seemed strange.

If the kit seems problematic, we've found a modern latch set with knobs we're ok with. (They don't match, but neither does the door -- it has glass panels while the others have solid panels.) We're not going to try to convert the door -- it's not worth it.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 10:18PM
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homebound

Yes, but will your rosettes cover the larger hole? You may need to get new rosettes (and make sure they fit your knobs snugly, since there are vatiations.

And here's a vintage place I use in Washington, DC: Maybe they have a suggestion:
http://www.thebrassknob.com/index.html

And here's a random link I just came across:
http://www.oldrosehardware.com/html/samplesrosettes.html

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 7:46AM
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Circus Peanut

hey there,
Just checking in to see how your knob project went?

The retrofit kit I got from the eBay seller (Rousso Designs) is still going strong.

They make all sorts of retrofit parts, like rosettes that fit over the modern boreholes, glass knobs with privacy buttons etc. And they also sell some gorgeous reproduction hardware for a very reasonable price compared to others I've seen.

This sounds like a shill, but actually I'm a long-term Gardenwebber & antique doorknob addict and just very pleased with the quality items and service I got from these guys. If you contact them they'll tell you exactly which doorknob parts you need.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rousso Reproduction Designs

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 10:13AM
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glendakm415

For those still finding their way to this question, houseofantiquehardware.com sells a variety of door knob styles in conversion kits. I also have researched Nostalgic Warehouse as they used to sell conversion kits as well--don't know if they still do.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 1:30PM
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AboutToGetDusty

We're doing that right now! We have two new doors, and we're going to confiscate door knobs and plates from the backs of closets. Our local hardware specialty store told us two companies make hardware that will often work with old hardware...I just brough the original piece and they were able to screw it on to Baldwin and Nostalgic sets. Voila! As far as the door, our GC bought doors without holes...but then one of the guys drilled a big hole into the door by accident. Oops. So they're going to fill that hole and fix it. The only question I have is it's on the fireproof door to the garage...can the wall filler be fireproof? Or should I demand a new door?!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 9:30PM
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