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I'm replacing Mortise locks with contemporary levers on solid wood doors in my apartment. The doors are pine, 1 3/4" thick. I've removed the Mortise locks, leaving behind two large holes and the Mortise cut-out in the door (first photo).

My goal is to stain the doors, so I want to patch the entire area and avoid using fillers for a nice, clean look; I believe this type of patch is called a Dutchman Patch (second photo).

I purchased a low-end plunge router to cut out the area, but I'm not exactly sure what size bit is suitable to cut 1/2" deep; the area is about 4" x 7". In the video they mention "upwards spiraling" bit, I'm assuming this means "up-cut", I'm just not sure what shank size and bit diameter is suitable for cutting this area effectively, cleanly, and without me standing there for an hour; I have to make 9 of these, correction, 18 (doors have two sides :-D )

Question

What shank size and bit diameter is suitable for cutting out the area for the patch?

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  • According to the Q&A it has a 1/4" collet so larger shank sizes are not an option anyway. – Matthew Gauthier May 23 '17 at 3:54
  • I would rather use a wrap-around lock plate than cut that much wood out of what is the most important part of a door and depend on glue to secure it. – Dan D. May 23 '17 at 8:44
  • After you cut in two of these patches how do you intend to fill in the pocket hollow and trim up the edge of the door? – Michael Karas May 23 '17 at 9:20
  • @MichaelKaras fitted wood block, glued in – raffian May 23 '17 at 13:14
  • If the first picture is one of your actual doors, you could probably get away with making a much smaller patch. – Ecnerwal May 23 '17 at 13:58
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If you don't want it to take a long time, why did you purchase a low-end router? You won't be routing anything 1/2" deep with that thing successfully, I'll predict. Indeed, it's generally not a smart idea to try routing that deep in one pass with any router, but you'll be limited to nibbling away in tiny increments with a small-shank underpowered tool. If it's additionally plagued with poor bearings it will work even less well. And you'll be stopping to charge batteries on a regular basis.

More directly to your question: Since you are using the tool you have purchased, and it only takes 1/4" shanks, you'll be looking for a 1/4" upcut spiral bit. And you'll be "standing there for hours," except when you are sitting somewhere else waiting for batteries to charge.

Or you'll buy a half-decent (or decent) plug-in router with a 1/2" shank and be done a lot faster.

  • Good point about the router; despite good reviews I don't believe rechargeable units are suitable for my needs, good thing I haven't used it yet. – raffian May 23 '17 at 14:40
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Why not drill the hole larger and put a dowel rod in.

The existing holes you have are not round. They should be drilled out to the next largest size dowel rod that will make them round, if you have a lot of them drill them all out large enough so they are round and you can use the same size dowel rod. Do a google search for dowel rod and you’ll see find the sizes that are available. Cut the piece of dowel rod to the appropriate thickness. Coat with glue and insert in the hole. When dry you can sand it smooth and finish

  • I'm not a woodworker, can you elaborate your suggestion (I understand the part about drilling a larger hole, lol) – raffian May 23 '17 at 16:33
  • Assuming I did that and sanded it smooth, would it not stick out when stained? The levers I have don't fully cover those holes, – raffian May 23 '17 at 18:06
  • Yes the plugs will probably remain a different color than the surrounding door, even when carefully stained - but so will a Dutchman patch. (If you're doing this so you can more conveniently age in place, don't worry about it. Soon you won't be able to see that well anyway.) – A. I. Breveleri May 23 '17 at 18:18
  • I actually think that well functioning mortise locks would be a pleasure to use and would increase the value of the property. For some rooms special knobs could be used, e.g., cut glass or brass. but the oval knob shown is very interesting. – Jim Stewart May 23 '17 at 18:30

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