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karen66 07-09-2008 01:50 PM

Help please - install door knob

I am installing an antique glass knob set in a new wooden door. I am using an adjustable latch (it looks just like a modern latch, but it accomodates the long square thingamejig that extends between the two antique knobs which turns the latch). I know that I have to drill a hole into the edge of the door to fit the latch. But what kind of hole do I need to drill on the face of the door for the glass knobs? And how far in.... do I just eye-ball it by lining the latch up along the face of the door?

Also, when it comes time to insert the strike plate; I've used my stamp pad to dab on the end of the latch to mark the correct spot on the jam where I want to cut the hole. Surely there is a more DIYer way to do it? Any suggestions? I alway like to learn the correct way of doing things.

Thanks very much for your help!


Handyman Jim Noonan 07-09-2008 04:43 PM

If this is a used knob and latch, assemble everyting and test for proper operation first, just do this on a desk or table top. If everthing seems to be in good working order,then you can mark the door for drill loctions.

The part that extends between the two knobs is the spindle. If you measure from the face of the latch ( will also later be edge of door) to the middle of the hole ,on the latch ,where the spindle inserts, that will be the location of the cross bore hole.We will call this measurement "point A "

So ,take a carpenter's square and draw a line from the exact middle of the edge bore (the hole on the edge of the door ,where the latch is inserted).The line will extend from the edge of the door,to the face of the door ;and, should should be lightly drawn to a distance of about 3''. Since you used the square, the line should a nice even horizontal line.Now mark the point for drilling along this line at "point A" .

The diameter of the hole should be of a size sufficient for all working parts to fit in properly with a little extra for movement. You can start with a smaller hole and enlarge as you find necessary or just measure the parts that will be placed in hole and drill. You can hold the knob with latch up to this area to double check ,on the face of the door ,before you drill.

To mark the strike hole, I've heard of people using everything from lipstick to tooth paste placed on the tip of the latch to help mark the location.What I use ,is a dowel approx. the diameter of the edge bore (hole the latch is placed in) with a nail protruding slightly from the exact center of the dowel. I place the dowel in the hole ,with the nail pointing toward the strike area of the jamb and push it back far enough for the door to be able to close. Then closing the door completely ,I push the dowel (with my hand through the cross bore) to leave a mark with the point of the nail. That mark is where I drill for the strike hole.

Ron6519 07-09-2008 04:56 PM

Didn't this set come with instructions?
A modern lockset has a 2 3/8" backset. This means the hole is centered at 2 3/8" back from the door edge. To get your backset, just measure the distance from the face plate to the spindle hole. You can drill a 1/2" hole through the door so the spindle has a little play. The two escutchen plates will cover the hole. The hole for the latch is usually about 1" in diameter. If yours is smaller, drill a smaller hole. Drill the spindle hole first.
Once the latch hole is drilled, insert the latch and trace the outer edge with a utility knife and then chisel out the interior. Test fit as you go so you don't cut the mortise too deep.
This is a somewhat detailed job, so don't rush it.

karen66 07-09-2008 05:39 PM

Thank you both for your excellent instructions. Very clear and understandable. And thank you for including the proper terminology. I like to learn as I go!

I found the antique set in a salvage shop ~ so it's just two glass knobs and a spindle (no instructions). I also found some antique brass collars (in case I decided to put them on another set of old doors that already have the 2 1/8" hole cut in it. However, the collars are only 2" in diameter. Anyway, from what you've said, I will keep the cross bore hole very small ~ 1/2" and see how that works.

Thanks again. I will take my time and remember what my dad always said.... "measure twice, cut once!"


Ron6519 07-09-2008 06:41 PM

You will need escutcheon plates for these knobs as the plates stabilize the spindle shaft. They actually get attached to the door with three small screws. Without it, the spindle will flop all over. They're are places on the internet you can pick them up. Renovation Hardware and Rejuvenation Hardware come to mind.

karen66 07-09-2008 08:29 PM

The escutcheon plates (I called them "collars" previously) I got at the salvage shop do not have holes for screws. I can go back and see if they have others OR is it conceivable to make screw holes in these antique brass ones? Perhaps that would dent the escutcheon or simply not look authentic.

Maintenance 6 07-10-2008 06:35 AM

You definitely want escutcheons that will attach to the door. This is what carries the knobs and keeps them in alignment. The best way to install them is to install the latchbolt assembly and then slip everything together. Slip the knobs on the spindle with the escutcheons. Make sure that everything lines up and mark the door where the screw holes will fall. The distance from the edge of the door to the center of the knob is called the backset. On modern hardware it is either 2-3/8" or 2-3/4" and is measured from the high side of the beveled edge of the door. Older hardware sometimes used 2-1/2" If the spindle you are using is threaded you can adjust the knobs to work freely. If it is a smooth spindle with screw holes, you should shim the knobs with washers so they are not wobbling in and out.

karen66 07-10-2008 01:34 PM

Well, while I have such knowledegable diyers at hand, may I ask another question about doors......

Of all of the old doors I have refinished or salvaged, only one of them had a bevelled edge. So since it was my first one and I didn't have a clue what I was doing, I guess I put the bevel on the wrong side -- I'm not positive; I simply know that I had to bevel out the chiselled hole for the hinges in order to make the door fit in the jam. So I'm guessing that the long side of the bevel is supposed to be on the outside of an inward swinging door. Is that correct? Where is it on an outward swinging door (not wanting to assume the obvious)? Also, how do you know by looking at the hinge pocket on the door or jam whether or not it it intended to swing in or out. It is obvious if the pocket does not extent the full thickness of the door that the bolt is on the open side of the pocket. But if there is no bevel, does it matter which way you face the door? What if there is a bevel and you want the door to face the other way anyway?

I hope these questions make sense.

Thanks alot for your time!!


Ron6519 07-10-2008 06:04 PM

The reason the door is beveled is to provide clearance for the door as it nears the door jamb. And at the same time, keeping the gap to about an 1/8" between the door and frame when the door is closed.
The long side, as you put it, is always on the hinge side and the short side hits the stop molding when closed.
Most of the time there are electrical switches next to a door. They are on the knob side of a door so you don't have to enter a room and reach around the door to put on the light.

karen66 07-12-2008 07:12 AM

Okay, so here's where we stand....

I cut the latch hole with a 7/8" bit. The latch fit nicely. I cut the cross bore hole with a 1/2" bit. The spindle fit nicely through the hole in the latch. I turned the spindle to the right and left and the latch opened and closed. Then I marked the screw holes for the escutcheons, attached them, and assembled the whole set. The latch wouldn't turn. I took it all apart, tried it again in mid-air and everything was fine. I took apart an antique door knob set from another door to investigate. It had been used on an old door that at some point in it's history had been updated with a modern handle, and so the cross bore hole was 2" in diameter. I noticed that when the spindle turned the latch a wing-like thingy moved up and down. I suspected there wasn't enough room in my 7/8" hole for the wing to move freely so I chipped away for hours at the inside of the hole - making it more roomy at the top and bottom. This involved reassembling the whole set several times to see if I'd gone far enough.

Eventually I decided it couldn't possibly still be too small. So I considered other problems. I made the cross bore hole bigger because I thought maybe it was creating a problem. Still won't work.

I tried the latch in the other door to see if it would work in another door. No problem - so it's not the latch itself.

What am I missing. This is getting very frustrating!!!

Thanks for your help!

Handyman Jim Noonan 07-12-2008 08:10 AM

Try it without the screws for the escutcheon. If it works then,you will know that the screws on the escutheon are too long and interfering with latch operation.

karen66 07-12-2008 08:23 AM

Right o.... I had wondered about that but discounted it because the thickness of the latch slid into the hole well enough and nothing moves to the right/left when the latch is engaged. But I'll actually check it out now. Thanks! I'll let you know.


karen66 07-12-2008 08:29 AM

Holy cow! You are brilliant! How you can read these questions and visualize it well enough to figure out the problem is beyond me. It worked perfectly. Yee haw!!

Thank you very very much, everyone. I now have a beautiful antique glass door knob on my new french door. Lovely!

Love these forums!


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