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I have a townhouse unit with a very old door knob / deadbolt set that I want to replace because the key doesn't fit well and you have to know how to "jiggle" it in order to get the door to unlock. Unit is probably over 60 years old.

I can't replace it with a standard knob/deadbolt set because the holes existing holes would overlap too much with where the new holes would need to be drilled. And if I made the new holes above/below the current location, i would still need to patch the existing holes (and i want to avoid doing that).

I also thought of buying a new door, but the slab isn't a standard size and the door frame is not level. One side of the door is a fraction of an inch higher than the other. Same for the width.

So before considering any of the other options, I wanted to know if anyone knows where I could possibly look for an old doorknob/deadbolt that would fit the existing one that I have. Attached are photos of the door.

door1

door2

door3

door4

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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

This style lockset is known as a mortise lockset.

Dis-assembly and cleaning won't hurt.

While you've got it apart, print the Baldwin diagram below, and note your dimensional differences. Some will be critical (holes for knob and deadbolt), others may be compensated for by strike plate adjustment or wooden block supports (under a shorter mortise body).

Backset (the distance from the door edge to the center of the knob) is a critical dimension that will determine what replacements are available. Modern backsets are usually 2 3/8", many older mortises are 2 1/8 and 2 (the new one below is 2.5)

This page lists some Baldwin mortises, they cover a range of backsets and door thicknesses. Googling "mortise locksets" will net you many choices.

enter image description here

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Awesome! Thanks for the diagram too. So if in the end I need to replace it, I'll make sure to purchase a "mortise lockset". –  roartechs Apr 21 '13 at 17:39
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The first thing I would try is lubricating the lock with some graphite. If it doesn't help you can remove the entire lockset. Bring it to a locksmith and see if it can be repaired. I would call first and set up an appoiintment to minimize the time you don't have a lock.

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If it is just the key that has problems it is highly unlikely that you need to replace the whole knob, latch and lock set assembly. The lock cylinder itself is really likely to be a separate sub assembly that you can replace.

enter image description here

From looking at your pictures it appears that the removal of the lock assembly is as simple as taking out the screws in this piece.

enter image description here

Even before trying to replace that I would investigate taking the whole latch assembly off the door and taking a look at just how the lock cylinder is secured from the innards of the unit. You may be able to take it apart your self or just take the whole assembly to a competent lock smith. They should be able to rebuild the lock cylinder and give you new keys that will work almost like new.

When you have the whole thing off the door take the opportunity to clean and lubricate all the functional parts of the latch assembly.

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That's a good idea to take it to a locksmith and get the cylinder repaired. I was still hoping to find a place that sells old hardware like this because although the deadbolt works, the knob lock from the inside doesn't work either so I would need to get that fixed too. If nobody knows where I can get a replacement, I'll accept this answer. –  roartechs Apr 21 '13 at 2:56
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@roartechs - I recommend that you first take the suggestion to take the whole assembly off the door and clean it all up. The inner workings originally had some grease and oil on the moving parts. Over the years dust and dirt gets into the mechanism and it gets all gummed up. It is a good likely hood that your inner door knob may be messed up because of this. –  Michael Karas Apr 21 '13 at 3:38
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