Full Chisel Blog

November 15, 2011

Not my best hardware moment

Filed under: Hardware,Historical Material,Of Interest,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 6:03 pm

I have installed a large number of mortise locks and probably a half a dozen of this type of lock but I have never done this before.  After carefully chopping the mortise for the lock and plate and securing it with screws, I was on to the strike plate.

I had built this writing desk ‘slope’ several years ago and decided to finish the project.  It is pine and will be painted and grained to look like mahogany or rosewood.  The new lock fit just fine, compensating for the slight angle caused by the angle of the slope, the mortise was also angled.  Because of the hinges I wanted this to line up properly, the reason I chose this type of lock.

After positioning the lid in the proper place I marked the pin and the lock hook and cut a mortise to receive them.  I then carefully lined things up and marked for the strike plate.  I scored around the plate then mortised out the shallow recess for the strike plate.

Next I used a brad awl to make the holes as I had done on the lock plate, then with some beeswax/tallow on the screw tip I drove home the screws.  And yes the slots in the screws are lined up.

With everything looking good, I confidently closed the writing desk and it locked snugly in the correct position.  Now If I had only cut the keyhole.  This was not my finest moment.

I was able to carve out the keyhole to fit the key, a little more trouble than doing it the proper way, don’t think I will do that again.



  1. It happens to the best of them.

    Comment by Tico Vogt — November 15, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

  2. Uggh! Sounds like something I would do. The only difference is that you were able to elegantly solve the problem, I probably would have resorted to much more drastic measures.

    Comment by Bob Rozaieski — November 16, 2011 @ 6:32 am

  3. It’s a secret lock, isn’t it?

    Comment by Gary Roberts — November 16, 2011 @ 8:05 am

  4. not your brightest moment, true; but we’re all allowed to have truly stupid times to balance out the moments of genius.

    Comment by anastasia — November 30, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  5. It could have been a whole lot worse. The keys could have been the box.

    Comment by Steven Gillan — December 6, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  6. What is the best way to cut out a keyhole? I need to cut two in a 1 5/16″ poplar architectural door with a 1/2″ mortise lockbox (done already) and I have escutcheon type keyhole covers to cover the hole. Should I drill a hole and chisel out the straight part?

    Comment by Edward Smith — January 2, 2012 @ 11:31 am

  7. Edward,
    I drill the holes and use a keyhole saw to make the cut. I use a pad saw with a keyhole blade and it works great.
    If you can depending on the work use a coping saw after the hole is drilled.
    Also depending on which way the grain runs, a saw might be easier for cross grain and a chisel for with the grain.

    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — January 3, 2012 @ 7:43 am

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