Broken Mortise Lock

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Cephus, May 13, 2016.

  1. Cephus

    Cephus Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2013
    Location:
    California
    Not quite a remodel question, but this is an ancient lock that's been on my front door forever. Last night, we locked the lock as always and inside, the whole lock exploded. Now the door is locked closed and cannot be opened. I removed the lock from the front and back and inside, the bit that retracts the tongue is free, it is no longer attached. There is nothing to turn to retract the tongue. I removed the hinge pins to see if I could pull the door and the door is wedged in place, it will not move at all.

    So how do I get the door open so I can replace the lock? Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Door Lock.jpg
     
  2. standardairconditioner

    standardairconditioner HVAC'ker

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2015
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    The door pins won't work if the deadbolt is deep into your door frame.

    A locksmith would know what to do.

    Basically it is mix of somewhat like building a ship in a bottle, and opening car doors, both which I have done a fair share of, and not necessarily professionally.
     
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  4. Cephus

    Cephus Member

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    I can get a saw and cut through the deadbolt itself which is what I will probably have to do. Luckily, it's an old lock and the parts are bronze, which ought to be easier than sawing through hardened steel. I just wondered if there was anything easier to try first.
     
  5. standardairconditioner

    standardairconditioner HVAC'ker

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2015
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Either that, or test your ship building in a bottle skills thru the naked hole you just made in the door.

    You can also wedge something (this is actually a locksmith specific item) to give you more width to access the deadbolt, and you can use a sharp knife to slide the deadbolt back into the door.
     
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    A really old one may not have a hardened steel center core in the bolt, but it could.
     
  7. Cephus

    Cephus Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2013
    Location:
    California
    I've tried to get the deadbolt to slide back and it won't budge. Unfortunately, the innards of the lock are still in place and are too big to slip out of the lock hole unless I chop it up and therefore, I can't get in to see what's blocking the deadbolt. Obviously, I don't care what happens to the rest of the lock, it's going to end up in the trash so I might try some surgery one way or the other.
     
  8. standardairconditioner

    standardairconditioner HVAC'ker

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    Nov 27, 2015
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    A grinder is your friend here.

    Make sure it's wide enough for a thin cutting disc to fit in the doorway between the door frame and the door.
     
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  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    If it's all bronze, a hack saw or reciprocating saw should easily cut the bolt off...if it is reinforced, a grinder will do it just don't burn the house down in the process. Go slow and let things cool off a bit in between.
     
  10. Cephus

    Cephus Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2013
    Location:
    California
    I'm thinking grinder because you have more control. If I pull out the reciprocating saw, I'm liable to cause serious damage to the door and frame, they're not exactly precision instruments. I'll see what Lowes has in thin grinder wheels tomorrow.
     
  11. standardairconditioner

    standardairconditioner HVAC'ker

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2015
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Correct. Avoid entirely.

    The way some door frames are built, a blade will stop at the door lip.

    I rarely use my Sawzall for cast iron pipes, only if I can't get to it with my grinder. A Sawzall dances everywhere on metal, never cuts never where you want it, nor straight. A Sawzall is awesome for abs, pvc, wood, studs, drywall.
     
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  12. Cephus

    Cephus Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2013
    Location:
    California
    Good news, it was all brass, the grinder cut through it like butter. The bad news, I was thinking I could modify the mortise lock for a new modern deadbolt but it doesn't look like that will be possible. Luckily, my wife works for a company that manufacturers mortise locks so we're looking for a replacement, otherwise it's fill the void in the door and redrill for a new lockset. Either way is really fine with me, although I'd prefer to keep the original hardware.

    Thanks everyone for your help! Knew I could count on you.
     
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