Locksmith Tips

What Are Mortise Locks?

Mortise lock illustration

A mortise lock is a prevalent kind of lock often used in the commercial security industry, and its design has stood the test of time as they are durable and reliable. Mortise locks can function for decades, in fact, these bolts have been found in old houses and buildings, and they have resisted the bad weather conditions and time. Any locksmith near Miami and even Caraballo considers them good locks.

When a locksmith in Miami FL, client needs expertise, they can go to our blog our call us directly from our website for info when not sure what lock to purchase.

Brief History of the Mortise lock

Mortise locks were known long before the birth of Christ. They are mentioned frequently in the Old Testament and mythology. At this time, mortise cylinder was made of wood. They were broad and crude in design, yet their principle of operation has been the inspiration of the modern pin-tumbler mortise cylinder of today.

Mortise locks are very different and heavier than the usual cylinder locks, and in its design, they use lever locks as a mechanism. The components of the mortise lock may slightly vary depending on the brand. However, the grounding principle is the same. These components have a solid metal construction, large springs and are built out very resistant materials.

The difference to the Cylinder lock

As opposed to a cylindrical lock, all the pieces of the mortise lock are found disassembled in the box, and the lock has to be assembled in the door correctly. Therefore it is preferable that an experienced locksmith does the job for you

Unlike the cylinder lock, the mortises are composed of different parts that need to be assembled around a pocket to be cut into the door which the lock is to be fitted. Also, the mortise lock is different from the unit lock, which is a pre-assembled lock that comes in the box just ready to be inserted in the cut area of the door.

The mortise lock parts:

mortise locks parts
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  • The lock body which is the inside part of the mortise, this is often seen cut out in the door
  • The handle or lock trim, this one comes in some designs of doorknobs, levers, handle sets and pulls.
  • The strike plate this is a metal piece that keeps the hole in the frame of the doorway where the bolt is fitted.
  • The through Spindle is a long metal rod that connects the trim lock through the door and mortise lock body.
  • The lock cylinder or keyed cylinder is the mechanism that operates the locking and unlocking function of the lock body when the key is inserted. The mortise lock cylinder will have a cam, which is a rotating piece of metal that manipulates the handle’s ability to retract the latch.

Other features:

  • Escutcheon Plates or rose plates are the ones responsible for fastening on either side of the door to create of cohesion between the lock cylinders and handle.
  • Hard Collars – This is a metal ring spins on the lock cylinder, by doing that it prevents any tool to remove the cylinder.
  • Faceplate – The faceplate covers the internal systems of the lock’s housing parallel to the strike plate, but on the door itself.
  • Day/Night Switch – This switch will lock the door from the outside and keep it unlocked on the inside, or engage to keep both sides unlocked.

How to install a mortise lock

Mortise-lock installation
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The installation of mortise locks can be done by any homeowner with basic understanding and knowledge of woodworking tools and methods.

This installation requires precise rectangular cutting holes within the edge of the door, for this, the homeowner or locksmith will use the traditional mortising jig which makes the job much simple. This carved hole formed on the edge of the door will host the primary body lock which will be then secured inside the available space with screws.

The other part of the mortise lock is strike plate which is secured over the door jamb and where the bolts should be fitted into place to lock the door successfully. Nowadays, mortise locks use a lever mechanism instead of the old keyed cylinder locks.

If you are interested in a mortise lock, we highly suggest you call your locksmith for advice and the installation. Though there is a small list of the best mortise locks on the market:

  • Yale PBR 8807F for around 350 dollars
  • E 2330 Keyed Mortise Lock Set for approximately 20 dollars
  • Prime-Line E 2294 Vintage Style Mortise Lock for about

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