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Old 02-10-2010, 08:43 PM   #1
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Fixing Old Doorknob


Heya everybody. New here to the forums because I need help with a problem I have. Recently I moved into an older home. The doors and doorknob styles are pretty old, and there's my problem. The living area has two doors to enter and one's mechanism won't allow the knob to turn far enough to let the door open up if it gets shut!

This wouldn't be a problem but we have a dog and regularly shut the doors to keep her from getting into the living room when we're away. I decided, finally, to take a crack at it and what I found was interesting, but I can't make too much sense of it.

The design of the door has it so a large, rectangular recess is actually cut in through the edge, rather than the front and back, of the door. The mechanism is held in by two screws, and when it comes in it basically appears like a big rectangle. One screw opens the whole thing up and, inside, is the following mechanism:

http://i407.photobucket.com/albums/p...fe/Inside1.jpg

http://i407.photobucket.com/albums/p...fe/inside2.jpg

As you can see I have, in the picture, a spring that was inside. This must be out of place because not only was it hanging out, but by putting it back together like this:

http://i407.photobucket.com/albums/p...smoriginal.jpg

It results in the problem of the knob not being able to turn fully to open and shut the door.

Can anybody give me some aid? I tried to find some pictures of older knob mechanism, but nobody seems to have them. Where the heck DOES that spring go?

Feel free to copy the photos and circle in red where the loop and end go, if you figure it out. It really isn't THAT big a deal to me, but it'd be nice to shut all the doors.

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Old 02-11-2010, 05:31 AM   #2
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Fixing Old Doorknob


That is a mortise lock, common in houses before, say, the 40's. They were pretty rugged and lasted for years. There are ways to replace them with modern locks(brass plates) without major surgery to the door. But often, people like to keep these old locks for the character they add to the house. While the locks all look alike from the outside, there were several different manufacturers and lots of different models. I am sometimes lucky, sometimes, at getting them to work, but parts are difficult to find. There are two local companies I rely on for parts and expertise. One is a local locksmith that knows of such things, the other is a used house material dealer that really knows those old locks. Check your yellow pages, there should be someone like that locally.

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Old 02-11-2010, 06:50 AM   #3
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Fixing Old Doorknob


There is a thread about the retro kit avail for modern locksets to fit into the old Mortise lockset. You can find suppliers online, but will need the measurements of the lock box before ordering. The drawings are also available online to show how to put them together. I have one in the basement on a door, but not able at this moment to take a pic of the inside.

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Old 02-11-2010, 06:50 AM   #4
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Fixing Old Doorknob


Not sure on the spring placement
But at my last house I bought a new "old" lock that was similar to replace a defective lock
They do still sell these
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:02 AM   #5
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Fixing Old Doorknob


Carefully take apart one of the locks that work properly to see the correct spring placement.
Ron

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Old 02-11-2010, 11:43 AM   #6
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Fixing Old Doorknob


The coil spring was someone's attempt at a previous repair. It is not the original. There should be a large flat piece of springsteel that runs along the top of the case. It would hook above the lug that's cast into the case. It would have a slight hook bent in it. One end would hook towards the face plate, while the other would hook under the cast "L" shaped piece in the top right. That spring serves to extend the latch bolt and re-center the knobs. If you can get some flat spring steel from a locksmith or maybe a gun repair shop, you can fabricate a replacement. Put some light grease on all of the bearing surfaces when you re-assemble.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:10 PM   #7
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Fixing Old Doorknob


I finally was able to get the one out of the spare door downstairs. Now of course, gives me a reason to fix the center threaded rod for the handle on the front door.
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:54 AM   #8
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And of course this one is a different style. And of later manufacture than number one. The stamped steel parts are a give away.
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:34 AM   #9
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It is only out of home that is pre-1940. As for the OP, theirs is also stamped out of sheet stock, but the idea is there as to how the inner workings should appear.
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
It is only out of home that is pre-1940. As for the OP, theirs is also stamped out of sheet stock, but the idea is there as to how the inner workings should appear.
Nope, different era, different mechanism. Op's lock is cast parts, and latchbolt sits well below the centerline of the knob hubs.
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:13 AM   #11
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The OP lockset is not cast, it is stamped, just like mine. You can tell if they are cast by 1) the parts would be thicker, and two, the ridge on the one piece would not be a clean impression that is the case of a stamped part. As for era, theirs may be a few years earlier, but same decade. Keep in mind, there where multiple manufacturers of those locksets, just like today, you have multiple manufacturers.

The picture I posted is only for example, so that the OP can get a idea how the inner workings are laid out, so they know how it should appear when not broke. Only way they can match info on theirs is by opening up a known good unit by taking off the cover carefully and comparing.
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:15 AM   #12
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No, sorry. Not even in the same decade. Yours is probably 1920's-1930's. OP's is late 1800's. Cast latch bolt. No place for a coil spring. Uses a flat spring. Yours uses a wound spring to tension the knob return yoke and a separate spring for latchbolt return. I worked on way too many of these. Many made by Corbin, Reading Hardware, Penn, Russwin and a bunch of others. This is the last I post on this. I explained how to fix it. The coil spring doesn't belong.

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