Door with mortise lock stuck—need ideas

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Old 10-05-19, 11:47 AM
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Door with mortise lock stuck—need ideas

The 100 year old mortise lock on our door to our guest bedroom (and unfortunately the room that also has my tool closet inside of it) is not functioning and door is stuck closed. The knob will turn but the latch won’t release fully. The door opens away from me so the hinge pins are not accessible to remove it. Further complicating the problem is the door trim extends about 1/2” over the door frame, preventing me from sliding a sheet in to work the latch back.

I’ve been reluctant to fully remove the knob (I’ve taken the handle and plate off the exposed side) since I don’t have a spare around and it would push it through into the locked room. Any ideas on how to get this guy open??
 
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Old 10-05-19, 12:01 PM
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On most door frames, the part that covers the door up by 1/2" is called a door stop. It is usually a separate piece of wood that can be removed, if needed. It usually looks like it is all one piece because of the number of coats of paint that are on it, which make it look like it's all one piece. But if you score along the edge of the stop with a utility knife, or chip at it with a sharp chisel, you can usually break that paint line loose, then once you do that you can get behind it with a pry bar and pry it loose. The sometimes are very brittle though, so you have to be pretty careful as you pry on it not to break it.

Once the door stop is off, you will be able to slip your credit card or what have you between the latch and strike plate.

When you put the stop back on, a little bead of painters caulk down each side and some paint will make it look like it always did.
 
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Old 10-05-19, 04:30 PM
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Try using some WD40 or similar, with the little tube, to direct some spray into the hub....the part surrounding the hole in the lock where the square spindle goes through, to the extent you can reach it. It may allow the worn parts to function just enough better to open the door. Keep the spindle from the inner knob in place so you have something to grasp to operate the lock.
 
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Old 10-05-19, 06:23 PM
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No luck so far

Thanks for the suggestion! Unfortunately, the transom window and frame above the door is built over the door stop (which is continuous to about 9.5 feet), so no way to remove it without deconstructing the entire transom window and frame above (and the window is not hinged so I can’t open it and climb over the door—already tried that SMH).

WD-40 bath yielded no results so far...
 
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Old 10-05-19, 06:58 PM
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Well, all you need to do is pry the door stop loose, you don't actually have to remove it in order to slip something past the latch...
 
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Old 10-06-19, 09:05 AM
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You could use an oscillating saw with a narrow flat blade to cut a slot behind the stop enough to slip a thin piece of metal (or even the saw blade with the saw not running) behind the stop and force the latch open. The slot might be an easier thing to patch than the paint chips that will result from prying the stop.

In a house that old (mine is 112) lead paint on wood trim is a definite concern. Wear a mask and use a shop vac when sawing to capture any dust.
 
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Old 10-06-19, 08:21 PM
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Thanks!

Final update. Peeled back the front trim to access the door stop only to discover that it is actually part of the door frame and not separate trim—of course. So I ended up buying a cheap chisel and just chiseling 1.5” x 1.5” recess into the frame. Then I cut a 1.5” wide piece of .025” sheet metal to slip in at a soft angle to work the latch back. 15 minutes of fighting with it and success! Just a little patchwork on the frame left to do.

Had the same thought on the oscillating saw, only mine was in the room locked behind the door LOL.

Appreciate the help and ideas!
 
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Old 10-06-19, 08:39 PM
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Wow, that's a bummer. Glad you got it... how frustrating!
 
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