Archive: Nov 2011

Front Door Hardware

As many of you might remember, over two years ago some friends of ours gave me a door for my birthday. Steffi and I spent many hours stripping the paint, sanding, and refinishing the door. Then we hit a roadblock… old doors have holes in them for old hardware. However, unlike modern hardware nothing was standard. The old mortise style hardware comes in a gazillion sizes, shapes, offsets, etc. Apparently you just bought the hardware and cut the hole to fit. That’s all good if your door doesn’t come with holes, but ours had holes!

At first we looked at the internet. You could buy a new handleset from one of the companies that makes reproductions, and spend $600+ for hardware. That wasn’t going to happen. Or you could try to buy mismatched handlesets from eBay that may or may not fit once you receive it. After a lot of searching we decided this was not a purchase to be made online.

Did someone mention Scott’s Antique Market? Sounds promising! Now if only we can find the time to get down there. A few months passed and we finally made it. We go straight for the outdoor warehouse that has all of the old hardware. There has to be something there. We’re armed with all of the measurements, and we’re confident that we’re going to find something. So we start digging through all of the milk crates of handles, faceplates, and locking mechanisms. My hands are covered with rust, but nothing seems to match up. We find a faceplate we like that matches a lock box, but we couldn’t find a matching faceplate (and any faceplate that would fit) for the other side. Grrrr… We just spent what seemed like an eternity digging, but no luck. We decide to give up. We are defeated and will never find hardware for our door.

So we move on to the next stall. What’s that over there on that table? Could it be!? It’s a complete handleset made of bronze (which means no rust). We’re thinking there is no way it will fit our measurements, but it does! It will take some minor adjusting. A 1/16 of an inch here and there, but it fits! And even better it isn’t going to cost us an arm and a leg!!

Just a little work on the door and we’ll be in business.


Steffi looking very closely to determine where it is getting stuck.


A snug fit in the mortise.

Door Hardware 3

Using the router to make space for where the knob needs to go. I don’t advise you actually have the router on while looking at the camera. Leave that to the professionals.


And everything fits. We just have to clean it up a little.


Now it is anybody’s guess how long it will take us to get the door installed, but at least the hardest part is over.

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