what is a mortise lock

Mortise locks have existed long before the birth of Christ, found in the Old Testament and in ancient mythology. The first mortise cylinders were made of wood. They were large and crude in design, yet their principle of operation is the inspiration of the modern pin-tumbler mortise cylinder of today. You can have one install today by Sy Orlando locksmith if you don’t want to learn how to install it yourself.

Today the mortise lock is a popular lock often used in the commercial locksmith security industry, and its design has stood the test of time as they are strong and reliable. Mortise locks can function for decades, in fact, these locks are found in old houses and buildings, and they have resisted the bad weather and time.

Differences between a mortise lock and a cylinder lock.

how a mortise lock works

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 vary depending on the brand, however, the grounding principle is the same. These components have a solid metal construction, large springs and built out of resistant materials.

As opposed to a cylindrical lock, all the pieces of the mortise lock come disassembled in the box, and the lock is assembled on the door, therefore it is preferable that an experienced locksmith does the job for you.

Unlike the cylinder lock, the mortises have different parts that needs assembly into the door. Also, the mortise lock differs from the unit lock, which is a pre-assembled lock that comes in the box just ready to place it in the cut area of the door.

Mortise Lock Parts:

mortise lock parts
  1. The lock body which is the inside part of the mortise, this is often seen cut out in the door.
  2. The handle or lock trim, this one comes in a number of designs of doorknobs, levers, handle sets and pulls.
  3. Strike plate – this is a metal piece that keeps the hole in the frame of the doorway where the bolt is fitted.
  4. The through Spindle is a long metal rod that connects the trim lock through the door and mortise lock body.
  5. 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 of this lock.

  • Escutcheon Plates or rose plates are the ones responsible to fasten on either side of the door to create of cohesion between the lock cylinders and handle.
  • Hard Collars, this is a metal ring, it spins on the lock cylinder, and 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.

Any homeowner with the basic understanding of woodworking tools can install a mortise lock. 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 made on the edge of the door will host the main body lock secure by screws.

The other part of the mortise lock is strike plate secured over the doorjamb where the locks fit into place to lock the door. Nowadays, mortise locks use a lever mechanism instead of the old keyed cylinder locks.

 If you are interested in a mortise lock, we suggest you call a locksmith for advice and for the installation.