Converting the old style lock to the new style lock

Posted: January 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

Many older homes have panel doors that the owners want to keep, but they want to replace the old style lock with the new style lock and don’t know what to do with the mortise lock or how to fill the void left behind, once they remove it. Since almost all of these doors are painted and you’re going to end up painting the edge of the door and possible the front as well at some point, I usually remove the door, put it up on its side edge and fill the mortise with bondo. After it dries, I sand the bondo, prime and then paint the door as needed. Most of the time the door only needs touch-up paint, where the bondo was applied. Once I get to this point, I drill the holes for the new style lock and it’s pretty straight forward from here. As you may tell from my description here, the process of converting the old style lock to the new style lock is not exactly easy if you’re not familiar with using bondo or a hole saw. Also, the fumes from the bondo can be pretty strong, so it’s best to do this process outside. You may think that after reading this post, that converting the old style lock to the new style lock is more trouble than it’s worth and that you might as well replace the door. This is far from the truth. Actually, when you consider that the new door will have to have new mortising for the hinges, holes bored for the new lock so that it matches the height of the existing strike plate on the jamb, not to mention the fact that no door comes in the exact width or height of the jamb opening, unless it’s a pre-hung door… which means that you’re going to have to cut down the door width and height to match your door jamb. Then the door will most likely need painting or finishing of some sort. All this to say, it’s way more involved than converting the old style lock to the new style lock. The other thing to consider is that the older doors were made way better than the newer ones, many times with solid mahogany.

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