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Lockset components wear out. It requires patience to remove decades of old dried out and caked on grease, rust, usually replacement of springs, and replacement of components by machining or casting new bronze elements. Even the latches wear down and may need rebuilding, as below. But restoring old locksets is often your best option to maintaining your historic entry door, and minimizing future problems with flimsy locks made today.


An advantage of vintage hardware and locksets is that it is often much better made and longer-lived than modern hardware. Certain types of locksets, like heavy duty narrow backset locksets are very difficult to find for heavy doors that are out of fashion today, such as wrought iron doors. Modern locksets made for narrow door stiles are difficult to find with a thumb latch, which is needed for heavy doors. Using a lever knob with a heavy door is a sure prescription for modern lockset failure, in a short time. Old locksets for heavy doors that had levers were generally made with 3/8" spindles, or excellent quality steel. Today locksets are not found with such thick, sturdy spindles, and can,t handle levers on heavy doors. A thumb latch is a better option as it allows the handles to take the stress of opening a door, and doesn,t put stress on the latch or on the lockset mechanism. Modern Locksets with thumb latches are difficult to find with handicap access mandates. In short, modern locksets often perform poorly on heavy old doors.


Old locksets often had a built-in form of weather proofing, a step that is known as a "half-lapped" shape, that forced air to go around an angle rather than straight through as in todays, flat edge lockset. Today,s doors rely wholly on weather stripping, which unless maintained well, often doesn,t last. Replacing a half-lapped lockset with a flat edge lockset also poses challenges that are not encountered restoring the original half-lapped lockset.


Worn out half-lapped lockset

Two examples of half-lapped locksets. The lockset above has a worn latch requiring rebuilding or replacing.


Restored half-lapped lockset

Lockset Latch clad and machined to compensate for wear, bolt similarly repaired to lengthen and enlarge around margins, and half-lapped bronze lockset strike plate repaired by building up with bronze by tungsten inert gas welding. Worn internal Lockset components replicated with Lathe, Machining, and Forging.


Locksets as removed, from 1875 doors

Lockset internal mechanism, Victorian period

Rust and old grease Lock are removed first, after disassembly of the components.


Lockset internal mechanism, Victorian period

All Locksets from Solarium doors

Lockset Parts Disassembly

Lockset components cleaned, rust and grime removed

Tag: Restored Victorian Period Locksets

Cleaned and lubricated locksets Repair with components replaced as needed, will last another century, and certainly outlast most contemporary locksets. These locksets were made in 1875.


Locksets restored, ca. 1875

Lockset after restoration

Hinge Restoration & Replication Gallery

               Fort Hamilton