New Handle installation on old doors


Old 07-27-08, 09:40 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 5
New Handle installation on old doors

My question will probably be very remedial for most of you. I'm not very handy, that why this site is really helpful to me.

I trying to sell a condo built in 1978 and the closest, bed and bath doors do not have a notch cut in them for the plate the bolt goes through. Also, the hole for the bolt is smaller than the bolt of the new handles I bought.

I can increase the hole with a drill. My question is what tool is best to cut out the plate? Again, this is the plate installed on the door where the bolt protrudes.

I have seven doors to correct, so if you think they still sell handles that would fit my older configuration maybe that would be better. The old handles are no good. Damage to the finish and flaking really stand out when I show the condo. I have to upgrade or find new handle compatible with my older door setup.

Sponsored Links
Old 07-27-08, 06:40 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 17
You may be able to replace the knob and stems only depending on the stye you have. You should try to remove them first and go to a hardware store to try and match the pieces.

If not you will need to drill bigger holes in the doors with a correct size hole saw. Whatever new knobs you buy will come with instructions for installation, will tell you the size hole you will need in the door and also have a template for the layout.
Old 07-27-08, 07:35 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 5
Thanks for the reply ppspens. The hole is not really the issue. I've never widen a bolt hole on a door before, but figure the local handyman can sell me the right attachment or bit for my power drill.

My big issue it the space that is grooved out of the door for the plate where the bolt pretrudes out of. I have just looked online so far, but cannot find any interior knobs sold without this plate. I'm guessing this configuration is not out there anymore and have already throw away the old knobs. They were just no good. Too damage for me to fell comfortable showing the condo to potential buys.

If anyone can tell me the tool I need to use to cut out the groove and if I can do it without taking the doors off the hinges, that would be great.

Would it be a laminate Trimmer Router?
Old 07-27-08, 07:46 PM
WGW is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Ontario
Posts: 313
I've always used a good sharp wood chisel to cut the door edge out to accept a larger face plate.

Put the new latch into the door and use the edge of the chisel to trace around the face plate.
Then remove the latch and you can just follow the outline left by the chisel edge.
Go very lightly with the hammer and chisel so you don't split the door.

Hope this helps
Old 07-27-08, 08:37 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,019
The latch is called a “drive-in latch”. They can be sourced on the Internet and from (some locksmiths, door shops, better hardware stores). The backset will be 2-3/8” (most likely). If sourced of the Internet a potential problem you may have is the handle spindle type and size (if your spindle is square sourcing will be easier). Drive-in latchs are an option for less expensive hardware.

Do not overbore the latch bore with a slightly bigger drill bit, unless you're very good, or you're just feeling stupid. This is a good way to sprain joints or break bones when things go wrong. Buy a rat-tail wood rasp & rasp the size of the hole larger (slower, but safer). If you want speed buy a rasping bit for your drill.

The mortise for latch faceplate is SLOWLY and CAREFULLY cut with a hand chisel and hammer. The typical latch faceplate for a 1-3/8” interior door is 1” wide & 2-1/4” high. The typical depth of cut is 1/8”. Once the hole is enlarged turn the latch around and place the faceplate flat against the door style. Align the faceplate and mark the perimeter with the point of a sharp knife. With a hammer & chisel (angled face of the chisel toward the hole) follow the cut lines just made using light blows. Still using the hammer chisel make a series of cuts every 1/4” horizontally and vertically within the waste area. It should look like a checkerboard when done. This makes it easier to remove the waste. Starting at the hole position the chisel (angled face of the chisel toward the hole) at about a 30 degree incline. Use light taps to remove the waste. Do the same in the other direction. Check the fit of the face plate. Repeat steps until the faceplate fits flush against the style face.
Old 07-28-08, 09:07 AM
GlobalLocky's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 940
Have you thought about taking the original hardware to a plating company to re-finish the original hardware.

It can be expensive but then you wouldnt have to re-drill anything....just put the original re-plated stuff back on.
Old 07-28-08, 09:41 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 5
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I understand and now know how to proceed.

Globallocky - It would have been VERY wise for me to hang on to the old knobs. I am the point now where as bad as the finish was on the old handles, I think paying the extra money to get them refinished would be a option to consider. However, in my zest to "get-r-done", I very arrogantly threw away the knobs and other hardware. Poor decision on my part, but one I must move on and deal with now that the trash man has my knobs.

Thanks again. I'll check back in when the project is done and maybe try to post some pictures to make this post more valuable for future thread searches.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes