We've bought a 1950s home and started doing minor reno's to the place. My partner loves the old door handle & locks so I'm trying to get them all in working order. One of the latches on the lock doesn't go in or out so we can never shut the door fully.

When I took it off the door a toothpick sized metal rod fell to the floor (I've placed it on the lock in the photo). I presume this is the problem, but can't figure out where it would reattach.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Actuating the latch mechanism with the handle while the lock is open like this should make it more obvious how it should function and why it does not work. The broken spring might be unrelated to the latch not moving with the handle (although a spring would be necessary for the proper operation of the latch, turning the handle should still retract the latch).
    – Eli Iser
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 14:28
  • latch not moving with the handle doesn't have anything to do with the spring +1 "the lock [strike] doesn't go [back] in" .... Stick the key in the lock and turn it... or um, use a hammer? But it's already retracted? Then put it back in.
    – Mazura
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 17:53

3 Answers 3


I don't know much about locks but my first guess is that it was a spring and hooked up something like this:

poor drawing of my guess

the 3 notches would allow adjusting tension. Should be easy enough for you to verify by pulling the remaining part to see if it helps the lock work better.

There is probably more to it though. It's not clear in your picture if the right plate/lever might be interacting with it. There's a bright spot at its end, is it curved up such that it might get in the way of the wire?

I also suspect the slightly curved end had a purpose, such as changing tension when the deadbolt moved (assuming that's what the top right brass colored piece is). I have no idea why that would be useful but it makes no sense to attach it that far out otherwise.

If you have another of the same model which is working fine, open it carefully and look at how all the parts move.

  • 2
    @user171368 Why not just try to bend a piece of wire into this shape to make a replacement part? I don't think you can glue this.
    – Nobody
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 10:51
  • 2
    I agree with @Nobody - don't try gluing it, you don't want something that is going to fail in the 'locked' position!
    – avid
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 11:09
  • 7
    You need to make an new spring: Get straight spring wire with roughly the same diameter. Heat it to red glow on bend locations. Bend it into shape. Reheat it and quench it by quickly inserting it into cold water or oil.
    – Martin
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 11:28
  • 2
    Don't forget to temper the new spring after quenching... stick it in the oven at 300F for a couple hours...
    – Dúthomhas
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 13:23
  • 1
    Speaking as someone who has had to repair other old locks, this looks like a very good guess. You can test by applying pressure manually to simulate the effect of the spring and see if that does what's needed.
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 15:22

Not to take away from @oliviers' answer, just to offer another route for the spring since comments won't allow pictures. Look for wear marks where the spring may have gone. The movement will leave marks in places that it rubbed against during its use

enter image description here


Ironically enough. Everyone was wrong.

This door is functional. The piece of metal goes up

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.