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Broken antique desk lock

Emily88's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 1

01-05-18, 01:43 PM   #1 (permalink)  
Broken antique desk lock

Hello, any ideas would be appreciated. I acquired an antique secretary desk from a family friend, and all the locks on it are perfectly functioning, except for the full mortice lock that locks the fold down desk portion. It will not budge. The key will turn in it until it stops and the bolt refuses to move.

The big problem here really is that there are no screws to remove the lock, so I'm worried it can't be repaired or replaced without having to replace the entire door. There is simply the keyhole on the front and the lock at the top of the door. Is there a specific method to removing these non-screwed-in locks? Can it simply be repaired somehow? Googling this comes up with nothing. Any input would be appreciated as I really would like to restore this desk to its full working glory.

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ThisOldMan's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 261

01-05-18, 06:38 PM   #2 (permalink)  
These locks were usually fairly simple. But a different size or type of lock (full mortise v. half-mortise) usually means a different key.

If you remove the troublesome lock, you may be able to see why your key doesn't operate that lock. Before trying to modify the key, make sure everything is unlocked, remove a lock the key does operate and see what parts of the key you CAN NOT change.

GlobalLocky's Avatar

Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 922

01-10-18, 03:55 PM   #3 (permalink)  
sounds to me like perhaps the key is incorrect or the levers have dislodged. The lock can be picked. Typically, the key will turn 360 to unlock and withdraw. If it is not turning fully, it could be because another key "flag" could have broken off inside and is preventing the bolt from retracting

rstripe's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,117

01-13-18, 10:05 PM   #4 (permalink)  
Kinda late to the party, but since OP says there are no screws visible, I assume the door is unlocked. A photo of the key and lock might be helpful. Many of the smaller sized bit-key type desk/cabinet locks were simply "pressed" into the mortise, as the force applied to the bolt when locked, would not tend to dislodge it. If, what you can see of the lock, looks like the other locks, and the key fits into and turns part way with no problem, it suggests the locks would all be keyed alike. You might try a drop of Liquid Wrench (or similar) for a few days to see if the bolt becomes free. But, if you see no screws, pry up gently on either side of the flange and see if it slides out.

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