Step 5: Work The Bolt

testing the filed down skeleton key in the lock's bolt, making a new skeleton key for an old mortise door lock
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Remove the cover of the lock case. Using your thumb to hold the locking lever against the bolt, insert the key from below, and turn it, as shown. The bit should push the lever out of the way and retract the bolt. If it hangs up on the bolt, file a shallow notch in the bit's bottom edge so that it turns freely in both directions.
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    Tools List

    • bench grinder
      Bench grinder (optional)
    • warding file
      Warding file
    • table vise
      Vise

    Shopping List

    1. Penetrating lubricant, such as WD-40