Step 6: Locate the spindle hole

Locating the spindle hole.
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Mortise locks require holes for the spindle and keyhole. New locks come with templates to locate these, but be sure you use the holes spaced for your lock's backset (distance from spindle to door edge).

Line up the template and tape it in place. Use a centering punch or a hammer and nail to make a starting hole for your drill bit at the spindle location and the keyhole location (if applicable).

Remove the template. Using a drill/driver fitted with a ¾-inch bit, drill through the face of the door at the spindle location. Use a -inch bit to drill two holes to make the keyhole.

Tip: To keep the face of the door from splitting as you drill, hold or clamp a scrap block of wood against the door where the drill bit will exit.
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    Tools List

    • folding ruler
      Tape measure and folding ruler
    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • bench plane
      Bench plane
    • combination square
      Combination square
    • wooden mallet
      Mallet
    • drill
      Drill/driver with auger bits
    • centering punch
      Centering punch
    • ratcheting screwdriver
      Screwdrivers
    • hand clamps
      Clamps

    Shopping List

    1. DOOR

    Measure the width of your opening, jamb to jamb, in three places (top, middle,bottom) and the height, threshold to jamb, in three places. Note the largest of each and use these as a guide to buy the door.



    2. KNOB SET

    A set for a cylinder lock should include two knobs, a spindle, and two round escutcheon plates. For a mortise lock with a bolt, two escutcheons or a long backplate with a keyhole may be required.



    3. LOCKSET

    Choose between a cylinder lock (a tube-shaped ;acthset with a lock on the knob) or a mortise lock (a rectangular set with a bolt and a skelton key). You can reuse an old lock, but a new mortise lockset might be worth the cost (less than $20) just for the mortise-cutting template that comes with it. Before buying a mortise lock, make sure the distance from the spindle hole to the keyhole matches the one on the backplate you choose, and that the lock body isn't too thick to fit your door.



    4. HINGES

    You will likely need three to hanadle the weight of a solid-wood door or solid-core door. Many doors come with instructions that indicate the size and number needed.



    5. LOCK INSTALLATION KIT

    If necessary, for drilling for a cylinder lock. Tool companies make these kits, which come with two different hole saws that attach to a drill, along with a jig to guide where the holes go. Some kits also include a drill-mounted router bit and jig for carving out shallow mortises for the lock's faceplate and the strike plate.



    6. WOOD SHIMS

    To hold the door in its opening as you check the fit and mark for hinges.