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Strange door cutout for knobs


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  • Strange door cutout for knobs

    I have a 40s home with an odd configuration for the doorknobs. Instead of a standard 2 1/8" drilled hole for the knob and drilled-through latch, it has a large rectangular cutout which the whole doorknob assembly goes into. This forum won't let me post the images directly since I'm new but here they are on Twitpic:

    Here's the doorset assembly:

    Anyone seen these before? I can't find any info on what they're called, or where I could find replacements. Since there's a big cutout in the door (and the doors are fine, don't want to replace them) I'm not sure where to turn.



  • #2
    that cutout is for a standard cast iron lockset. the whole lock assembly goes into the door leaving just a hole for the knob and key. from both sides of the door. if you were to replace this lockset with the newer type, you'd need to make up a wooden adapter or filler for the jamb side.


    • #3
      Thanks for the quick reply. The only references I can find to cast iron locksets are ones that fit inside the door, not that have this large 1.5" x 3" hole cut out of the edge of the door.

      Any idea if any companies still make these sort of doorknob sets? Every door in our house has them, and I haven't had any luck finding one online, and of course the people at Home Depot have no idea.




      • #4
        yes, renovator's supply from Millers Falls Mass still has and makes them.


        • #5

          First of all, let me welcome you to the forum and we sincerely hope that you will use this forum often.

          In regards to posting images. When Troy first set up the forum to permit posting images we were over run with unscrupulous individuals who would sign on for membership them flood the forum with advertising images or worse, porno. In order to retain the ability to post images for the benefit of our trusted members it was necessary to require an individual to make 5 or 10 posts before they could post an image.

          For clarification I have gone to your photo site and copied your picture, which I will post for you.

          The lockset that you have is properly called a "Full Mortise Lockset". That type of lockset was in common usage in residential construction up until the late 50's or early 60's however those type of locksets were rapidly phased out of residential construction with the advent of the cylindrical locksets which offered better security and were much less labor intensive to install. Full mortise locksets are still commonly used in commercial applications such as the primary entrance doors of retail establishments, however modern full mortise locksets are very expensive and generally only distributed through commercial mill supplies or commercial locksmiths.

          At this point you have a number of options;

          1. The old style cast metal full mortise locksets such as yours are a very simple mechanism.
          Generally those type of locks are what is technically known as "Warded locks" which means they do not have tumbler pins.

          In most instances homeowners desire to change those locks for one of two reasons, either they do not have keys to fit the lock or the lock is not functioning correctly. Although I doubt seriously if you will ever find anyone in your local home supply center that knows how to do how to work on those locks if you take it to a real locksmith he/she could quickly inspect it and tell you if it is in working order.

          Generally there is only two problems with that type of lock,

          a. an internal spring breaks. The springs are made of flat spring stock and a locksmith can repair that very quickly.
          b. an internal metal casting is broken. Here again, a locksmith can generally make a new piece out of flat stock, but the cost of hand making the piece would probably not be cost effective unless you are doing a historic renovation and you want to keep the original aesthetics.

          The simple solution, as Hayzee mentioned previously, is to make a wooden plug that will fit inside the door cavity, then you can drill and install a modern cylindrical lockset.

          You can also get a U shaped metal security Push plate that will wrap around the door on both sides at the lockset location. The security push plate will re-inforce the door at the lockset location while helping to keep all the components of your new cylindrical lockset in proper resister for proper function.. (Note-if you elect to get the push plate you will need to know the thickness of the door to select the correct push plate.)