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Everyone needs to sit down at the kitchen table once in their lifetime and take apart a mortise lock,… and then put it all back together!

[box type=”info”]A mortise lock (also mortice lock in British English) is one that requires a pocket—the mortise—to be cut into the door or piece of furniture into which the lock is to be fitted. In most parts of the world, mortise locks are generally found on older buildings constructed before the advent of bored cylindrical locks, but they have recently become more common in commercial and upmarket residential construction in the United States. They are widely used on all ages of domestic properties in the United Kingdom and Argentina. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortise_lock[/box]

Our old house has mortise locks in every original door, bedrooms included. Its a lock that come the standard non-locking shaft, but below that, also has a full bolt shaft which you use the big old skeleton keys to lock or unlock. The ones here have been painted over and used and abused for at least 50 or 60 years, maybe since the house was built…

To fix them I had to pull them all out by scrapping off all the layers of paint around the flat head screws and pry them, then I had to scavenges parts from other extra ones to make the most working ones as I could. The most common missing part is the little wire spring that provides the recoil when you turn the knob.

I never did fix any of the bolts, though they would likely just work if I had the keys for them. Some of them need to be scrapped free of paint as well.

I can totally see how they would be easy for picking though if you knew how they worked internally.

So, you all need to go out and find an old mortise lock, really its like an old fashioned puzzle! Tear it apart and then see if you can put it all back together properly 🙂

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