Old mortise lock..how to remove

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  #1  
Old 11-26-06, 08:37 AM
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Post Old mortise lock..how to remove

I am trying to remove the exterior mortise lock from my parents' front door so I can clean it and polish it. The lock is 55+ years old as it was in the door when they purchased the home in 1950. I have two problems:

1)On the exterior of the door is a handle with a thumb latch which I easily removed. However, above the handle/thumb latch there is a lock cylinder/keyhole which I cannot remove. The name NESCO is on the cylinder. On the side of door on the mortise lock body there are two holes which I thought contained screws going into the cylinder. However, neither a small slotted screwdriver nor various allen wrenches seem to catch anything. Shining some light into the holes, it doesn't appear that a slotted screwdriver or allen wrench will work. If there are screws in there they are at least 1 to 1.5 inches inside the lock and not flush with the side of the door. Any help or suggestions? Am I going in the right direction? Could the screws be missing and the cylinder held to the exterior of the door by the old paint? Its seems to be planted more solidly than paint would hold it.

2)On the interior, the brass door knob always moved freely but eventually caught. I rotated it until the set screw was visible and removed the set screw from the spindle, but nothing seems to come apart. Now I am at a loss. I don't want to force anything because I doubt I could find replacement parts if I broke anything. Once again, any help or suggestions. I still haven't figured out why the door knob didn't come off or whats holding it on the the spindle.

And finally, a question about the brass finish. My parents haven't cleaned or polished the lockset in ages. Much of the brass has a red patina which brass polish and hand rubbing doesn't seem to remove. Any ideas how to remove the red patina or am I stuck with it.

Thanks in advance for suggestions.
 
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  #2  
Old 11-26-06, 09:08 AM
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answering my own question

I got the interior doorknob off by just unscrewing it. But I did loose the slot for the set screw on the door knob so I guess the integrity of the door knob is not very good. Anyone know how to "tighten" the knob so i don't loose the slot for the set screw? I guess there is some sort of sleeve inside the knob. I really don't know how to describe it better than that. I figure once re-install the knob i will be able to turn the knob on the spindle so the slot for the set screw re-appears.
 
  #3  
Old 11-26-06, 09:33 AM
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answering my own question again

I think I am screwed. Upon shining a light into the two holes on the side of my mortise lock I think one of the screws holding the dead bolt lock cylinder is missing and the other is broken off by the lock cylinder. Its hard to see in there though. Looks like its time for a locksmith.

Any help on cleaning/polishing the brass would be appreciated .
 
  #4  
Old 11-26-06, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tommycharlie
I am trying to remove the exterior mortise lock from my parents' front door so I can clean it and polish it. The lock is 55+ years old as it was in the door when they purchased the home in 1950. I have two problems:

1)On the exterior of the door is a handle with a thumb latch which I easily removed. However, above the handle/thumb latch there is a lock cylinder/keyhole which I cannot remove. The name NESCO is on the cylinder. On the side of door on the mortise lock body there are two holes which I thought contained screws going into the cylinder. However, neither a small slotted screwdriver nor various allen wrenches seem to catch anything. Shining some light into the holes, it doesn't appear that a slotted screwdriver or allen wrench will work. If there are screws in there they are at least 1 to 1.5 inches inside the lock and not flush with the side of the door. Any help or suggestions? Am I going in the right direction? Could the screws be missing and the cylinder held to the exterior of the door by the old paint? Its seems to be planted more solidly than paint would hold it.

2)On the interior, the brass door knob always moved freely but eventually caught. I rotated it until the set screw was visible and removed the set screw from the spindle, but nothing seems to come apart. Now I am at a loss. I don't want to force anything because I doubt I could find replacement parts if I broke anything. Once again, any help or suggestions. I still haven't figured out why the door knob didn't come off or whats holding it on the the spindle.

And finally, a question about the brass finish. My parents haven't cleaned or polished the lockset in ages. Much of the brass has a red patina which brass polish and hand rubbing doesn't seem to remove. Any ideas how to remove the red patina or am I stuck with it.

Thanks in advance for suggestions.
Hi Tommycharlie,

Let's take it slow here, and go through this. First of all, you say your lock says NESCO on the face. This is probably just the manufacturer of that lock cylinder, and not the brand of Mortise lock you really have.

What is on the inside of the door? Does it have a lock cylinder also? or is there a thumbturn? The reason I asked is, if there is a thumbturn, you will only have one screw to hold a lock cylinder in the lock body. (Why put a screw where one is not needed?)

Now, about your inner door knob. It is possible there is a sleeve installed inside the knob due to differing size between the knob, and the spindle. I've personally never seen this, but with a set screw, this could be the case. If it is, on the inside of the hole where the spindle fits, you may notice notches where a screwdriver can be used to turn the spacer to line it up.

As far as the polishing the lock, I have no idea. I can tell you suggestions, but they may not get the red patina off the brass. I'll leave it up to some of the other locksmiths, or members to suggest something. (In the service, we used koolaid to clean bronze pieces. If you do this, use lemon, and make it with about 25% of the suggested water. Citric acid is what does the cleaning, and lemon should not discolor the brass).

Hope all this points you in the right direction. Drop back to the board and let us know how it goes.

cuedude
 
  #5  
Old 11-26-06, 06:06 PM
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to cuedad

thanks for your reply. I do tend to act kinda fast if you notice the other thread i posted. But I write faster than I act. There is no key for the dead lock cylinder. My parents installed several other locks on the door and have not used the deadbolt associated with the mortise lock in many many years. Its a single cylinder deadbolt (its keyed only to the exterior). However, the thumb turn has been missing for years and I just ordered one from a internet source hoping it will fit.

I had a similar mortise lock on a home I owned (keyed deadbolt on the exterior, thumb turn on the interior) and the lock cylinder was held in place by two very long screws but easily accessible from the side of the door. I removed this several times when painting. Not so with this mortise lock.

I think I resolved the spinning handle. If not i can get a longer set screw to stop the handle/sleeve from slipping. I also solved the finish problem (see chapter 2).

But I will fish around to see if i can find a slot for a screw holding the lock cylinder in place. I would much rather do it that way then drilling the lock out or calling a locksmith. Thanks for your input. I will post how things turn out.
 
  #6  
Old 11-26-06, 06:32 PM
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Hello again,

A picture showing the screw you discussed holding the cylinder in place. Is that possible?

cuedude
 
  #7  
Old 11-26-06, 07:40 PM
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to cuedude

There are no keys to the lock. No way I can take a pic of the screw holding the lock cylinder. The only way I can see is putting a strong flashlight close to the the two screw openings on the side of the door. And it is hit or miss depending how the light hits. It appears the *screw hole into the lock cylinder* on the interior side of the lock cylinder is empty. This would jive with your saying only one screw is necessary to secure the lock cylinder if there is a thumb turn. But I can't see any slot for a screw driver thru the other little hole although the cylinder hole doesn't look empty like the interior side. That screw head would be about 1.0 1.5 inches deep inside the door. That is why I thought it was broken off. I can't imagine how anyone would ever be able to insert ii or how i could replace it.

I will try tomorrow to see if I can catch a slot with a screw driver on the exterior hole. But I am not hopeful. Thanks for your help. Older homes with no maintenance can be a chore.

If you have any other ideas, please let me know..Thanks
 
  #8  
Old 11-27-06, 03:31 AM
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Good morning tommycharlie,

I think you have three options here. First, you could get lucky and find a slot for a thin bladed screwdriver on that screw; or you may find it is allen head, and need a small wrench for it. This is what I suspect. And the third possibility (of last resort) is taking a pair of channel lock pliers, grab the lock cylinder and just turn it on out. I don't recommend this, but if it comes down to it, you'll damage the screw, and the threads on the lock. If you are planning on pulling the lock body out of the door, the screw is easily replaced with one of your choice. If the threads are damaged, either take the lock to a locksmith,(to save a service charge), and have the threads cleaned up. Or simply replace the lock cylinder as they are fairly inexpensive.

After all that is said and done, try the allen wrench. This is where I feel you will have good luck. And again, keep us posted?

cuedude
 
  #9  
Old 11-27-06, 07:02 AM
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gm to you cuedad

I tried both the slotted screw driver and allen wrench yesterday to no avail. The little I can see it looks as though screw is broken off but I am not positive. I am gonna try again this evening with the screw driver and allen wrench Maybe a bit more time will reward me with some results.

I have no problem if I have to replace the lock cylinder but if I force it out, will I ruin any of the components/mechanisms associated with the rest of the lock? In layman's terms, if I force out the old cylinder and replace it with a new one, will the deadbolt work? Or is that an impossible question to answer? I can't remember/don't know how the lock cylinder relates to the rest of the lock. I am at work but I believe the deadbolt is below the lock cylinder so there has to be some mechanical connection between the two.

I'd rather pay a locksmith to do it right as opposed to me damaging the mortise lock for which replacement parts are probably unavailble. Thanks for your suggestions and I will let you know how things turn out.

The good news so far is my mother is impressed how nice the brass door knob looks since it has been cleaned and polished.
 
  #10  
Old 11-27-06, 03:47 PM
WGW
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Greetings tommycharlie
I originally posted this to your other tread, then realised it was a duplicate of this topic. Hense the other being deleted.


It is normal for a mortise box to have only one screw.
The second screw would be used to hold a mortise thumbturn secure if that was the type used on the inside of the door, so because yours does'nt have the second screw your thumbturn is likely a surface mount that secures to the door instead.

I assume that you've had a look into the mortise box with a flash light and saw that the retaining screw is indeed broken and not simply a short one.

That said, drilling the keyway will not accomplish anything.
Faced with your situation, I would try gripping the cylinder trim ring and break it off by twisting it. It may not be easy, but with patience you'll get it off.
Once you've got this far, you should be able to see the end of the groove on the side of the mortise cylinder. This groove is where your broken retaining screw sits to hold the cylinder in place.
Using about a 3/16 drill bit, you should be able to drill along side the groove and hit the end of the retaining screw where it engages the cylinder.
Once through it, you can turn your cylinder out (counter clockwise) of the mortise box.
With careful drilling, all you'll need to replace is the drilled screw and the trim ring.
Let us know how you made out with it.

Hope that helps.

I'd be interested in seeing pictures of your finished hardware once your done too.

Regards
 
  #11  
Old 11-27-06, 04:49 PM
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hello WGW

Hi WGW…You guys are great putting up with amateurs like me. I thought this was going to be an easy project: remove the lock, clean and polish and re-install it. But at least I am learning more with each post. And the lock isn’t even that attractive, it’s just old. I just enjoy restoring the old stuff if I can. If I can figure out how to post pics on Comcast when the job is finished I will do that. But to your suggestion.

The exterior cylinder trim ring is a 2.5 by 2.5 inch piece of brass held in by 4 screws which I removed. So your suggestion to break it off might be kind of difficult to do. It also matches the back plates at the top and bottom of the exterior door handle with the thumb latch. So I’d rather not destroy it. I think you might have thought the cylinder ring was one of those little round ones they have on newer locks.

If I can get a grip on the lock cylinder, can I try turning that hoping the screw will break? The existing lock cylinder is history no matter what since there is no key.

The original thumb screw is missing in action although there is a back plate (terminolgy??) for it (covered in about 3 coats of paint). So I don’t know if it was surface mounted. I have purchased a new surface mounted thumb screw on the net hoping it will work.

One of the ironies is this is the original lock (I think) installed when the house was built circa 1930. The front door has 15 glass panes and glass side panels. I guess security wasn’t as much as an issue back then. (There are now more secure locks on the door which allow me to fool with this one).

Once again, thanks for your post.
 

Last edited by tommycharlie; 11-27-06 at 05:42 PM.
  #12  
Old 11-27-06, 06:26 PM
WGW
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So there's a decorative trim that matches the rest of the hardware instead of a ring. My idea is out then.

You can try breaking the screw by twisting the cylinder (1/4 turn each way) with channel locks, but that screw is likely brass and being such, it would probably bend and dig into the cylinder instead of break.
This method also may mess up the threads on the mortise box as well as the cylinder.

Still thinking on the drilling of the screw, you could drill through the trim plate for the retaining screw, then once everything is out of the door, you could have the hole you drilled either brased or filled by a plating shop.

By the way, having no existing key for the cylinder does'nt mean it's scrap because keys can be made for it at any Locksmith shop.

Regards
 
  #13  
Old 12-01-06, 12:55 PM
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mortise lock is out...cuedad, WGW thanks

Just thought you might want to know, I got the mortise lock out. I decided I had to drill out the broken off retaining screw (from the side of the door). Then I jammed a screwdriver in the key slot and with vise grips and channel lock pliers unscrewed the cylinder. So much for subtlety. Maybe I could have done that without the drilling. I don't know. I haven't taken the mortise case apart yet so I don't know how badly I damaged the threads for the retaining screw. I am hoping the screw was softer than the lock case. Or maybe I can secure the cylinder using the interior side retaining screw hole.

If I can't secure the cylinder, I will install a new one for show since I have two other locks on the door and wasn't using this deadbolt anyway. Either way, I can refurbish & clean the mortise lock, add a missing thumb turn to the interior and wind up with an fairly attractive piece of old brass hardware at minimal cost.

If i can figure out how to do it, I will post some before & after pics of the brass trim. Once again, thanks for your help.
 
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