Bringing Them Back Alive: Screen Door Lock Restored

Lock challenges are always interesting especially when they involve something never seen before. A locksmith asked if I could repair a Schlage handleset. The lock turned out to be a Schlage screen door lock. The Schlage name is shown in photo 1.

Construction is simple enough. A stud extends from each side of a latch tube (photo 2). During use, the handle is moved sideways which moves the stud and pulls the latch back to unlock the door. The problem was that the latch spring was broken and there was no visible way of removing the stud to replace the broken spring.

The stud had some in-out freeplay, but no amount of pushing or pulling would allow the stud to be fully removed. Measurements of the stud were then taken. The plan was to cut the stud into sections for removal and to later make a new stud on a lathe.

As a last ditch try before ruining the stud, the latch assembly was set into a press in an effort to force the stud out of the latch. The press did its job and the stud was finally out of the latch tube. The old stud was battered but still usable (photo 3).

Photo 4 shows the retainer system inside the tube. The retainer had solidified inside the latch unit and was immovable. In order to remove the latch unit a dimple in the housing had to be drilled out (photo 5). Before replacing the spring, the retainer was liberally lubricated with WD40 and loosened for re-use. As originally designed, the retainer can now be easily released by inserting a probe between the washer and latch unit (photo 6).

The happy customer now has a one-of-a-kind Schlage screen door latch ready for another forty years of usage.

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