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It seems entirely screwed - there isn't even a locking mechanism left it seems. What can I even do here without causing even more damage to the door frame?

enter image description here

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    Wow, everyone is far more pedantic than I usually am on this one! The door is "locked" because the bolt is still in the strike plate of the frame, therefore, it doesn't just push open. All parts of the handle except the bolt have been removed, whether in a violent manner that caused the utter destruction of the handle or because the knob didn't work and the good Sergeant carefully disassembled the rest is indeterminable and irrelevant to the question of how to get this part out.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 23, 2023 at 13:12
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    @FreeMan, the problem is that we don't see the bolt extension--we see the housing for it, which doesn't move. What would have to be done is hidden inside the small bore. I think.
    – isherwood
    Aug 23, 2023 at 14:42
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    Might be easier to take the pins out of the hinges (if they're accessible) and open the door that way Aug 23, 2023 at 15:05
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    Should be able to use a flexible piece of material between the door and frame to push the latch back to open the door, since this is a knob and not a deadbolt. It may have a locking pin but it's rare that those are installed correctly enough to work. Sometimes this is called "credit carding" but I wouldn't try with a credit card, maybe an old library card or something.
    – Tim
    Aug 23, 2023 at 18:46
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    @keshlam Sounds like you are used to some really well mannered burglars, wanting to avoid damaging the wood (after already having entirely obliterated the knob, so avoiding detection can't be a concern).
    – TooTea
    Aug 24, 2023 at 8:41

7 Answers 7

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That doesn't look like "fell apart". That looks like "was destroyed with a vengeance". You can try to grab onto what's left and pull sideways, but I can't even suggest what to pull as critical parts seem missing.

It used to look something like this:

enter image description here

#1 is what you have left (in part). It doesn't move, and therefore doesn't help you release the bolt (#3). #2 is the moveable bolt extension, which you'd normally just slide over to open the door.

You're going to have to find an angled pliers or similar and see if you can get it on the back of the actual bolt. There may be a small tab that used to engage a slide mechanism (#2, now gone).


The idea of pulling the hinge pins was floated in comments. The hinge pins are on the other side of this door. If access is available, sure, just pop them out with a hammer and a thin tool. Most aren't locked in place unless it's an outswing door.

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The picture does not show the door frame, so I don't know what you are talking about re: "... without causing even more damage to the door frame." As it looks, just use needle-nose pliers to pull the parts out, and then go to your nearest hardware store and buy a new one. Install.

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  • There's clear damage to the door stops, which are part of the frame, where someone apparently tried to Jimmy the bolt open.
    – isherwood
    Aug 23, 2023 at 14:49
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A screwdriver through the "hook" in the bolt should supply leverage enough to pry the bolt toward the center of the bore, removing it from the strike plate, allowing the door to open.

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    Where do you see a hook? What's visible isn't moveable. It's rigidly attached to the bolt sleeve, which can't be pulled through because of the faceplate at the door edge.
    – isherwood
    Aug 23, 2023 at 14:48
  • That u-shaped opening in what looks like a brass plate?
    – SteveSh
    Aug 23, 2023 at 15:11
  • As I said, that doesn't move. If it did the burglary would've been successful and we wouldn't be having this odd discussion. :)
    – isherwood
    Aug 23, 2023 at 15:43
  • "As I said, that doesn't move." It should move, provided enough force is applied. The latch is clearly a total loss so there's no harm in trying to pry the bolt mechanism from the face plate on the door. The face plate is made to hold the bolt against sideways forces so it might be weak enough on some greater inward force that some firm tugging could break it free. I'd use something more sturdy (and less valuable) than a screwdriver though, a screwdriver could get bent. Maybe a crowbar wedged between the "hook" and the inside of the hole and given a firm twist? At least worth a try.
    – MacGuffin
    Aug 23, 2023 at 17:10
  • @MacGuffin That will most likely just break the thin layer of wood surrounding the bolt sleeve and make a huge mess of the entire area (but admittedly also unlock the door). Looks like there's just a couple of millimeters of wood left, certainly not enough to hold against the sideways leverage of a crowbar.
    – TooTea
    Aug 24, 2023 at 8:37
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Depending on the security level of the door, you may be able to detach it from its hinges and then remove it from the frame. Or detach the hinges from the frame or break the hinges into two by extracting the pin. After the door is off the hinges, you can extract the wrecked bolt by unscrewing it.

Ordinary hinges are cheaper than doors, and sometimes very crappy. High security hinges are expensive and hard to break (doh!), so it may be cheaper to destroy the door so you can re-use the hinges if all else fails.

A locksmith / security company employee may know some tricks.

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  • Looks like the door swings away from the side OP has access to, so probably can't see the hinges. Interesting point about the value of the hinges vs the door though!
    – Tim
    Aug 23, 2023 at 18:43
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It may be possible to (gently) remove the trim around the door, which could give some better access to the lock. For example, to allow access with pliers to the latch or ability to slide a credit card-like piece of plastic between the door to depress the latch. After removing the trim, you could also consider creating/cutting a gap at the edge of the door where it will be hidden by the trim. I replaced a couple of doors last year, removing and reusing the existing trim, so this should be possible on at least some doors. You probably want to have some matching paint available if you attempt this ...

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    Given that there appears to have been damage to the trim from an attempt to pry open the door removing the trim may not only be helpful in getting the door open but be done anyway to replace the damaged trim. An excellent suggestion.
    – MacGuffin
    Aug 23, 2023 at 20:59
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If really truly desperate, use a keyhole saw to remove the wood around where the bolt goes.

Then repair with new wood and refit a latch bolt.

Actually, why not take the option of fitting a mortise bolt, whilst doing all this woodwork?

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If you remove the remainder of that brass casing, you may be able to retract the bolt with a powerful magnet depending on the material of the bolt.

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