Question for my OLD mortise lock! PLEASE HELP!

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  #1  
Old 11-26-12, 11:01 PM
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Question for my OLD mortise lock! PLEASE HELP!

Hi all,

I just moved to a 1950s 2 story row house like apartment in NY. I have a very old mortise lock and I want to replace it with a modern lever set but not sure if I could do so:

front plate is 2.75" x 10"
backset is 2.75"
mortise is 7.75" x 1"
back plate is 2.25" x 7"

Can I replace the lock set with a smaller plate? Or what can I do? Or which brand/model fits my setting here? How about the latch? My door frame is very old hollow metal frame, I am not sure if I can install a new latch there...thanks!
 
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Old 11-27-12, 03:21 AM
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As with the bathroom floor, consider this is an apartment and any modification you make without the written consent of the landlord will put you in legal jeapordy. If you opted for a regular lockset, you would have to remove the mortise setup you have now and fill in the door cavity and the strike cavity, completely with bondo or Minwax wood repair (same stuff) and sand it smooth. That would give you a brand new starting palette. After all that, you could make two bores for the latch set and the dead bolt.
 
  #3  
Old 11-27-12, 07:29 PM
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Just wondering, if you're renting, why spend $$ on a new lock you won't own?

As far as replacing the lock, can we assume the door is hollow metal, & the frame (jamb) is wood? Ok, the best result would be to retain the doors' mortise prep & shop for a replacement mortise lock with "escutcheon" trim, ie., knobs or levers on rectangular plates.

Carefully measure the dimensions of the existing lock to see if you have a commercial or residential prep: Measure the edge height & width, then the backset (door edge to centerline of knob/cylinder).Most important, both preps should mount on the same body screw centers, with minor differences in where the spindle & cylinder centerlines are located. You may have to "drift" (file) these holes a bit, as well as drill new thru-bolt holes in the door, but the old holes should be covered up by the new escutcheon.

I noticed you have an ancient Trine electric strike in the jamb, possibly this was a multi-tenant apartment at one time. Assuming this has not worked since the JFK administration, it should be removed & replaced with a strike plate much longer than the standard 4-7/8" one than comes with the lock. Your local locksmith will have a suitable selection, make sure it has the 2 slots for mortise lock prep, and use long enough screws to anchor it to the first wall stud.
 
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Old 11-27-12, 07:50 PM
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Mortise locks are not cheap, & it takes patience to determine compatibility with new ones, but the result is good security (even better if the stock key cylinder is replaced with a "hi-security" type, & long strike plate screws are used), & nice appearance.

If, however, cost is a primary factor, (at the expense of esthetics), you can buy a wrap-around sleeve that has the necessary holes positioned to accept a standard "Cylindrical" lock, but to retain good security, you'd have to install an auxiliary
deadbolt above.

Why do you want to replace this lock, anyway?
 
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Old 11-27-12, 08:00 PM
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Sorry, if I'd paid more attention, you DID give the dimensions....residential prep.

Check out these 2 manufacturers: Marks and Baldwin....both have a wide selection of residential mortise locks.
 
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Old 11-27-12, 10:11 PM
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Thanks so much for the input

First of all, it's the co-op house I own. And if I don't want to fill up the cavity of the door and strike, does a smaller plate/ mortise lock fit? Because I find it is very hard to find an exact match! My door is somewhat like MDF and jamb is metal (guess it's original). I am looking for clean, modern lever set like Omnia (see pic). Thanks a lot!!
 
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Old 11-28-12, 05:38 PM
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Marks mortise lock bodies are avail. in optional front size (the door edge opening) of 7.75" x 1.0625". You can probably force fit or file the extra
.0625". A number of lever/escutcheons are avail. And the company is based not far from you: Amityville, NY.

Not as familiar with Baldwin, but they specialize in high-end residential mortise locks, so I'll bet they have this same front size avail. as well.
 
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Old 11-28-12, 08:29 PM
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"Marks mortise lock bodies are avail. in optional front size (the door edge opening) of 7.75" x 1.0625". You can probably force fit or file the extra
.0625"." Sorry I don't understand! Please explain in details! Thanks so much!
 
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Old 11-29-12, 06:41 PM
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Sorry, the "front" is the edge of a mortise lock, where the latch and/or deadbolt protrude.....this opening measures 8" H x 1.25" W for commercial doors but most residential doors measure 8" H x 1" W, with older ones measuring 7.75" H x 1" W. This is yours. I don't know why with Marks, the closest you can get to 1.00" W is 1.0625"......but it's only 1/16" oversize, & generally, the lock body front plate itself is slightly smaller than the decorative (finished) faceplate (AKA "scalp"), so most likely the lock body itself would fit fine, & only the faceplate may need to be filed a bit to fit flush. Or it may fit fine as is, after all, we're only talking about a 1/16" difference.

Now this does not guarantee the distance between top & bottom screw centers will be spot on....many times these specs are not avail, but they should not be so far off as to be unusable.

The front dimensions are most important on hollow metal doors, as the existing threaded fastener tabs must be used to secure the lock body properly. All other attachments (knobs, cylinder, thumbturn,) will follow, but are dependent on a well-anchored lock body for proper operation.
 
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Old 11-30-12, 01:30 AM
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Oh...OK! I got it, you are talking about the actual lock body. So you meant I need to change the actual mortise lock, that I can't just change the trim and level only? And I have a fiber wood door, does a narrower but taller trim plate fit? I tried to ask a hardware store, they just ignored me...=.= Thanks, rstripe and everyone for any input!
 
  #11  
Old 11-30-12, 05:24 PM
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Yeah, trim sets (that's the knobs, spindles & escutcheons) generally don't interchange between lock brands, & even within brands, changes are made from one generation to another, especially with residential mortise locks.

The fact that you have a WOOD door greatly simplifies things...you can easily chisel a larger front mortise if nec.

With the new lock, choose an escutcheon design that would cover any existing holes.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 04:54 PM
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Don-Jo is a manufacturer of retro-fit plates purposely designed to fill old holes when modernizing a fitting. They are plates designed to cover rather than fill. There are many alternatives. Look up Don-Jo online and you'll see many options.

Then you can use push plates to cover the holes on either side of the door and install a handleset of your choice.
 
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Old 12-05-12, 12:40 PM
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THANKS!!!!!!! I will look it up!
 
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