A-1 Lock Installation Tools

June 1, 2010
Installation tools simplify installing mortise, cylindrical and handleset locks. There are even installation tools for installing cabinet and utility locks.

As buildings age and style changes, locksmiths have the opportunity to upsell customers to new lock hardware or even new doors. New lock hardware provides a bright and fresh appearance to the front door of a residence. New doors offer additional advantages. These include custom woods in different configurations including multiple panel doors and doors with custom glazing. With a new door or an upgrade comes new lock hardware.

Installing or retrofitting new lock hardware using dedicated boring jigs saves time and reduces measuring errors that can occur when rushed using just a drill motor and holesaws or drill bits. Over time, these savings will more than offset the price of the installation tool.

For this article, I will discuss three installation tools available from A-1 Security Manufacturing Corporation: Mortise Lock & Crosshole Jig #M-100, Cabinet Lock Installation Jig #BUL-1 and Bulls Eye Installation Tool for Cylindrical Locksets #BUL-2.


To create a mortise lock pocket by hand, drill the door edge several times using up to a 1-inch diameter auger drill bit (preferred tool) to a depth of about four to five inches. Fewer holes are required for smaller mortise lock cases.

Once the holes have been drilled into the centerline of the door edge, A chisel is used to remove the web (the material left over between the holes). All of this drilling must be accomplished in a door that can be as thin as 1-3/8” thick. This means that the holes must be drilled straight and slow enough to ensure the bit does not change direction and emerge into the light of day.

Cutting out a mortise pocket in a door using a drill motor and an auger bit is difficult and time consuming. I have installed a number of mortise locks by hand and also using a mortising jig. Let me tell you a mortising jig is much easier and much faster. You can better control the positioning of the mortise pocket and the cutting tool can remove the excess wood from within the pocket easily and rapidly.

A-1 Mortise Lock & Crosshole Jig #M-100 is designed to cut out the mortise pocket, to mortise the faceplate opening and drill the crossbore holes for the handle, levers or knobs, thumbturn, and mortise cylinder. The M-100 jig comes with a 1” diameter cutter for mortising the pocket and a 1-1/4” diameter cutter for mortising the faceplate opening. Additional cutter sizes are available.

This mortiser is self-centering, designed so the cutter automatically finds the centerline of a 1-3/8” to 2-1/2” thick door. It can accommodate three different backsets: 2-3/8”, 2-1/2” and 2-3/4”. The cutter guide is attached to a threaded rod. Rotating the handle raises or lowers the cutter assembly. The jig is designed for cutting up to an eight-inch tall opening for the mortise pocket.

In addition to cutting the mortise pocket, the Mortise Lock & Crosshole Jig operates with optional A-1 side plates, which are templates providing drilling and routing locations for the crossbore holes and openings for the mortise lock trim. The hard anodized side plates are manufactured of aircraft alloy.

A-1 offers 12 make and model-specific side plates for the Mortise Lock & Crosshole Jig. They are sold in pairs to accommodate the exterior and the interior door prep.


A-1 Bullseye Cabinet Lock Installation Jig #BUL-1 is designed for installing cabinet locks using 3/4”, 7/8”, 1-1/8” and 1-1/4” diameter cross bores. The 1 ¼” bushing is designed to accommodate 1 1/8 and 1 ¼ cam locks, including interchangeable core cam locks. The 7/8” bushing is an option. The jigs can accommodate cabinet door or drawer fronts from 7/16” to 1 ¼” thick.

Unlike door lock installation jigs, the A-1 Cabinet Lock Jig does not have stops to accommodate specific backsets. Cabinet locks are positioned onto a door or drawer front at the backset necessary to accommodate the locking bolt or latch. To assist in the positioning process, the BUL-1 jig has a measuring gauge in the top of the right hand drill plate assembly ranging from 7/8” to three inches. To set the installation jig in proper position for the lock, there is a built-in vial level.

Like the cylindrical lock installation jig, the Bullseye Cabinet Lock Installation Jig has a plate leveling adjustment tool and an adjustment knob for tightening the unit flush onto a door or drawer front. Unlike the cylindrical lock jig, the cabinet jig plate assemblies are spring loaded. When the knob is loosened, the plate assemblies spread, reducing time required to remove and position the jig onto another cabinet or desk.

Note: Always protect the surface of the cabinet door or drawer front to prevent any potential damage that could be caused by the installation jig.

To remove or attach the bushings, a 3/32” hex wrench is included with the installation jig.


The Bulls Eye Installation Tool for Cylindrical Locksets #BUL-2 is a 1-1/2” and 2-1/8” diameter drill jig with 2-3/8” or 2-3/4” backsets. This solid metal installation tool is designed for preparing wood and hollow metal doors up to 2-1/2” thick.

The new BUL-2 has been upgraded with the addition of Gator Grip Pads, textured neoprene attached to the inside faces of the drill plate assemblies, eliminating metal contact with the door faces. The Gator Grip provides no-damage contact with wooden or painted doors. This eliminates the need to protect the surfaces of the door before mounting the installation tool.

This new tool does not come with drill bits. It is designed to operate with holesaws, Forstner (spur) bits and auger bits.

For those locksmiths who have the Bulls Eye Installation Tool for Cylindrical Locksets #BUL-2 without the Gator Grip Pads, the pads can be ordered separately. The Gator Grip Pads can be order using the A1 part number CJ-041.


Consider the following drilling tips when installing locking hardware:

Always wear eye protection.

Place newspaper down to protect the floor and make cleanup easier.

Use an installation tool to prevent damage to the door.

Make sure the drill bits, holesaws, pilot bits, etc. are sharp.

If adjustable, make sure the pilot bit extends from the holesaw by at least 3/16”. For wood doors, a little more.

Make sure the installation tool is mounted securely against the faces of the door.

Make sure the door is protected against damage from the installation tool.

Place the entire holesaw cutting edge against the face of the door and let the hole saw cut.

Do not push on the holesaw when cutting.

Let the hole saw do the work.

The more force placed against the face of the door, the faster the holesaw/drill bit will become dull.

Feed the holesaw/drill bit in and out to allow material cuttings to clear out of the hole being cut.

When cutting in wood, finish the hole from the opposite side to prevent splintering


Use a one-inch diameter hole saw drilling speed for the following types of doors.

Hollow metal door: approximately 350 rpm

Wood door: approximately 600-1200 rpm

Use A 2-1/8” diameter hole saw drilling speed for:

Hollow metal door: approximately 150 rpm

Wood door: approximately 300-600 rpm

Drilling speeds increase for smaller diameter holes and decrease for larger diameter holes.

Drilling too fast causes the bit or holesaw to heat up and will dull faster than drilling at the proper speed. A good way to know you are drilling too fast and/or your bit is dull in wood is smoke appears and the wood begins to turn dark.


For this article, I will install a Schlage F Series cylindrical lock into a newly installed six panel hollow core door. The lock will be installed using a 2-1/8” cross bore and a 2-3/8” backset. The edge bore is one-inch diameter.

Three doors in this hallway are in close proximity. The two other doors have locks positioned approximately 36” above the finished floor. This dimension happens to be roughly at the middle of the lower cross rail.

Tip: When installing a lock into a new door, measure the lock height of nearby doors so each installation will appear comparable. Since only the door has been replaced, installing the new lock at 36” above the finished floor is compatible with the strike opening.

I removed the 1-1/2” inserts from the Bulls Eye Installation Tool. I marked the edge of the door at 36 inches above the finished floor. This will be the centerline for the edge bore.

I found a Blu-Mol® 2-1/8” diameter arbored, carbon steel hole saw, part number 6507. This one-inch deep body carbon steel hole saw is designed for wood only and has teeth in a narrow set (kerf). The carbon steel holesaw body is thinner than a comparable bi-metal holesaw. Having a narrow set should prevent much of the undesired cutting into the jig body or inserts. The downside is a carbon steel holesaw does not last as long as a bi-metal holesaw. However, with proper drilling techniques, the carbon steel hole saw can last for many wood door lock installations.

I prefer using an auger bit for drilling the edge bore with an installation tool. The tip of the auger bit is threaded. I start drilling slowly, making sure the drill bit slides easily through the installation tool and begins cutting away material. I strongly suggest no one uses a spade or spur bit when using an installation tool.

The Bulls Eye Installation Tool for Cylindrical Locksets has movable basket tabs to set the backset. With the tabs extended, the backset is 2-3/4”. Because this is a residential lock installation, I will set the backset at 2-3/8”, the same dimension as the existing locks. Note: The F Series lever lock latch is adjustable for both backsets.

For this installation, I will drill the cross bore opening first. I will drill from one side about half way. Then I will drill from the other side of the door to complete the opening.

The next step is to drill out the edge bore. Once the auger bit has cut into the cross bore, stop drilling. Remove the installation tool and remove any rough edges.

To install the latch bolt into the edge of the door, I use it as a guide. I make sure the latch bolt is vertical and draw a line around the face. Using a 7/8” wood chisel, I remove enough material from the door edge to recess the latch having the plate flush.

The wood chips are then vacuumed up and the lock is installed.

For information on A1 installation tools, contact your local locksmith distributor or A1 Security Mfg. at 877-725-2121. Web Site: www.demanda1.com

For information on the Blu-Mol and other drilling products, contact Disston Tools at Web Site: www.disstontools.com