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A Guide to Mortise Locks

A Guide to Mortise Locks

Every locksmith should know about the mortise lock because they are going to be the source for many of your projects. This incredibly popular lock is found in many commercial and residential settings. As with any lock, working with the mortise lock isn’t difficult if you understand how the lock operates. Read this guide to learn what you need to know.

Common Usage

Mortise locks are commonly found in commercial settings because they are reliable and strong. The design is meant to withstand normal and heightened levels of wear and tear. Additionally, the internal parts are designed to be replaced easily, making repair jobs quicker and less expensive.

These locks are made from sturdy materials, feature solid metal construction and large springs. In residential homes, these sturdy locks and handles can last for decades or even generations before showing significant signs of wear and tear. If fact, many older homes feature the original door hardware because these locks are so dependable

The Basic Parts of a Mortise Lock

The mortise lock is typically part of a larger door handle set up featuring a deadbolt, lever trim, auxiliary latch and latch bolt. The lock itself is composed of:

  • Lock body: This is where you are going to find all the little bits and pieces for your locks. The lock will engage and disengage from this point.
  • Knobs: The knob is simply the door handle. Once you’ve disengaged the lock, you’ll use your handle or lever to retract the latch and enter into your space.
  • Lock cylinder: This cylinder contains the lock’s internal mechanisms and is secured through to the lock body and door. The cylinder usually has a cam. The cam is a rotating piece of metal that will manipulate the latch connected with the handle.
  • Through spindle: This spindle serves to connect the handles through the door and lock body proper.
  • Strike plate: The strike plate lines up with the deadbolt (if there is one) and the latch bolt. It’s a metal fixture secured to the doorway and attached to the lock body.

Special Features and Add-Ons

Mortise locks come with some special features and add-ons:

  • Hard Collars: This is a metal ring on the lock’s cylinder that is free to spin. It serves to render a pipe wrench and similar locksmith supplies useless.
  • Day/Night Switch: This switch will allow the lock to be locked on the outside but not the inside. Conversely, you can choose to have both sides remain unlocked.
  • Escutcheon Plates: These are also called rose plates. On either side of the door, these plates are fastened for a sense of cohesion between the handle and lock cylinder.
  • Faceplate: A faceplate will cover the lock’s internal systems and sits parallel to the striking plate. Occasionally with a mortise lock, the faceplate will be separated. In other cases, it will be pre-fitted to the lock’s body.

Preventing Rust

Servicing your locks can prevent rust and keep them in working order for longer. If you want to remove rust from an old lock, consider using the vinegar method. Simply put your rusted metal elements into a container of vinegar with an acidity level close to 5 percent. After a good soak, power away the vinegar and cover the components with baking soda. This will neutralize the acid. Wash and dry the metal part completely. Look for a polish that will fill the gaps in the metal with an anti-rust coating.

Of course, mortise locks come in varying degrees of security and in many cases are attached to deadbolt systems. Learn as much as you can about these locks as well as which locksmith supplies you’ll need to tackle this lock.

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