Fitting latch in door mid rail?

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Doug71

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I'm fitting a few 4 panel Oak (veneered chipboard) doors for a customer. They ideally want to have knobs on them which means drilling the latch in the mid rail joint but they are concerned because as always the installation instructions say this is a no as it will weaken the joint.

I have done similar loads of times and never had a problem but the customer is still a bit wary as obviously it will invalidate their guarantee. Has anyone ever had a door fall apart because they drilled an 1" hole through the stile into the mid rail? I've had to cut quite a bit off the bottom of some of the doors and it looks like the joints are a loose tongue similar to a Peter Millard shaker style cabinet door so not even a dowel that I could drill into and destroy.

These are the doors, like I say I'm not worried but the customer has their reservations so just really after more experiences of "No problem", any thoughts?

https://www.howdens.com/joinery/doors/howdens-rockingham-oak-4-panel-door-obj-sku-family-die4060
 
Hi doug,
I havent fitted any of those. Are they solid timber stiles and rails?
I cant imagine howdens doing full mortise and tenon on internal doors.... more likely the whole thing is chipboard with lipping?
 
@baldkev yes the doors are chipboard with really gnarly grained lippings
In that case, there is no joint as such to compromise, just formed ( shaped ) chipboard, often with a lock block set into it. If you want full clarification, you could ask in your local branch. They may even have a damaged one you can cut up and show the customers
 
Its a door, surely there must be some expectation of the installation of handles and a latch or lock of some kind.
Next they will be saying you can`t fit hinges and can only levitate the door with magic !!!
 
A tube latch is a non-issue, especially on a chipboard door.

I have, however, seen many people fit a mortice lock in line with the centre rail of a properly joined panel door, completely removing the tenon, and removing any strength from the joint, and consequently many suppliers recommend fitting locks above it below the joint.

On the subject, there's also a special place in hell for people who fit vertically oriented mortice rack bolts into the end grain of the stiles on double doors...
 
Actually, @PerryGunn has a great point. You also get the posh looking arone roller latches, which require a 35mm ish deep hole and normal recessed plate. You have to get the spring loaded mechanism just the right pressure and they work great
 
Thanks for the input chaps, at least nobody has chimed in and said their doors fell apart after they drilled a latch hole in the mid rail which is good.

Customer has decided to put their faith in me and go with latches in the centre of mid rail, think we will be going for 4" latches as the stiles are 120mm so I won't actually be breaking through the joint.
 
as you know this is more a problem on victorian doors using horizontal mortice locks. a beautiful oak repro shopfront in leek has twin tenons( on a 2 inch door) to overcome this problem. I'm guessing those very deep mortices were a problem to do as well
 
as you know this is more a problem on victorian doors using horizontal mortice locks. a beautiful oak repro shopfront in leek has twin tenons( on a 2 inch door) to overcome this problem. I'm guessing those very deep mortices were a problem to do as well
The original lock mortices were presumably cut by the same folks who joined the doors, with a chain morticer, and the locks are designed to fit the shape of mortice created, with a radiused end, not the square shape of most mortice locks.
 
Hi @Doug71 , have you done it yet?
Im doing some holdenby doors today and ive just drilled out the first latch hole... its actually solid timber.
Theres no indication of lock side like on the cheaper press panel doors, so maybe they actually DO have a proper construction inside these? I'll ask when in depot next
 

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@baldkev you have doors made out of actual solid timber that's a novelty!

Funnily enough I was working on the doors today but won't have the latches until Monday so will see what the stiles are made of then.

It was meant to be a quick job, I squeezed it in as it's just down the road and was only a few doors to hang 🙄

One half of the house is old and the other half is a DIY extension badly done by someone a few years ago.

Example of casing in the old part, only 22mm out of level, going to be putting fillets in and dropping the architrave.

Oak doors 1.jpg


Don't know what was going on with this casing, it's in a bathroom which is part of the new extension, looks like it never really got finished. As well as chunks missing it had hinge cut outs both sides plus 25mm of twist on it as the stud walls either side were out, ended up replacing this casing with a new lining.

Oak doors 3.jpg


And I presume to make hanging his doors easier this opening was about 30 3/4", I added some beads in to take up the gap, hopefully will look like part of the architrave when painted, and again hinge cut outs on both sides so they were to fill.

Oak doors 2.jpg



Who says you can't polish a cowpat :)
 
I'm fitting a few 4 panel Oak (veneered chipboard) doors for a customer. They ideally want to have knobs on them which means drilling the latch in the mid rail joint but they are concerned because as always the installation instructions say this is a no as it will weaken the joint.

I have done similar loads of times and never had a problem but the customer is still a bit wary as obviously it will invalidate their guarantee. Has anyone ever had a door fall apart because they drilled an 1" hole through the stile into the mid rail? I've had to cut quite a bit off the bottom of some of the doors and it looks like the joints are a loose tongue similar to a Peter Millard shaker style cabinet door so not even a dowel that I could drill into and destroy.

These are the doors, like I say I'm not worried but the customer has their reservations so just really after more experiences of "No problem", any thoughts?

https://www.howdens.com/joinery/doors/howdens-rockingham-oak-4-panel-door-obj-sku-family-die4060
Hi Doug, I have fitted possibly hundreds of these doors ( not all Howdens but the same make up) and I would say that maybe 40/50% of those have had locks or latches fitted on the mid rail section and never had a problem at all. Fitted 9 last week and one of them had around 3” (sorry but I’m 70 years old and still use old and new measurements) off the bottom rail because it was a small cupboard and I am totally confident that there will not be a issue. Still working full time because I love my work. 😀
 
@baldkev you have doors made out of actual solid timber that's a novelty!

Funnily enough I was working on the doors today but won't have the latches until Monday so will see what the stiles are made of then.

It was meant to be a quick job, I squeezed it in as it's just down the road and was only a few doors to hang 🙄

One half of the house is old and the other half is a DIY extension badly done by someone a few years ago.

Example of casing in the old part, only 22mm out of level, going to be putting fillets in and dropping the architrave.

View attachment 154388

Don't know what was going on with this casing, it's in a bathroom which is part of the new extension, looks like it never really got finished. As well as chunks missing it had hinge cut outs both sides plus 25mm of twist on it as the stud walls either side were out, ended up replacing this casing with a new lining.

View attachment 154391

And I presume to make hanging his doors easier this opening was about 30 3/4", I added some beads in to take up the gap, hopefully will look like part of the architrave when painted, and again hinge cut outs on both sides so they were to fill.

View attachment 154392


Who says you can't polish a cowpat :)
That bathroom one was a shocker ! Its amazing how much effort people put into doing a poor job 😆
I'm lucky, mine are in new linings that i put in, so it was dead easy
 
Started fitting the knobs on these today and what a PITA.

The knobs the customer has got are these

https://www.doorhandlecompany.co.uk...ay-grey-crackle-glaze-porcelain-door-k-14576/
They are the type that are really well designed, you know the ones where you can't get the screws in because the knob is in the way 🙄

They are really finicky to fit, I have tried with the screws on an angle and with the screws square to the door but it's a real struggle to get them working just right, everything is fine until you give the last screw an extra quarter turn or tighten the grub screw and suddenly the knobs don't spring back. I think part of the problem is they are decent quality with no play in them so there is no give if anything is out of line. Also because of the hole placement the screws are close to hitting the latch or just spinning in the cavity around it.

Anybody fitted any of these and know something I don't?
 
Not especially, just the usual.... take a look across the back plate and make sure the mechanism isnt protruding.... ive had this 😑. If it sticks out, you can use a chisel to round out the area around the spindle hole.
Do you have an angle drive holder? Ive got a dewalt one somewhere, can be handy for those situations.
You can mark the screw positions and predrill dead square to encourage the screw to go in straight, obviously the screwdriver looses some engagement in the head, so go slow and use a bit of forward pressure. Lastly, check the screw hole distance to centre of latch. It's possible that 1 hole may line up with a hole in the latch body and the other 2 might miss.... in the past ive snipped the ends off screws and all sorts, sometimes its just a struggle 😔
 

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