So this post is dedicated to the installation of the half-mortise lock. I took a class not too long ago at the Philadelphia Furniture Workshop and my teachers (Mario Rodriguez and Alan Turner) have taught me well. I was able to recall some of the valuable lessons they passed on and apply them for this build. Install the lock prior to assembly. Always practice the install in the same thickness and material before the actual install. These were just a few of the many.
What I found interesting is how little information is out there about installing a half-mortise lock. Fine Woodworking had a decent article by Philip C. Lowe. I found a few online hardware retail sites that had decent instructions. And Woodcraft had a short video, but that's about it. All of them were helpful in parts, but seemed to be short on some of the details in one way or another. Even Chris Schwarz mentions that no one taught him how to install in "The Joiner". So this seems to be a skill with some common steps but adapted by the woodworker by trial and error. So I cut a sample pine board and worked out an approach.
So it is with my very limited prior experience, reading the scant number of articles I could find, and a few practice attempts that I present my method of installing a half-mortise lock. I'm sure there are many better ways to do it, but this one is mine. Please feel free to suggest better ways if you've got 'em.
First step that everyone seems to agree upon is to find the center of the box and mark in pencil. After this the steps begin to deviate. Do this on the front, top and back of the box front.
|Marking the center of the box. This picture also shows the mark out for the lock body. |
I cover that below.
Next I mark out for the width of the lock body. I do this by placing the lock on the top of the panel and aligning the key pin (or post) with the center line of the box front. Most instructions do remind you that some key pins are not in the center of some locks. So the lock is installed by centering the key pin.
With the key pin on the center line, I use a small combo square to lay out the width of the body assembly in pencil. In my practice attempts, I was overly concerned about getting this measurement super tight. However, too tight here meant I had trouble pulling the lock in and out for fitting. So I found that you can leave yourself a tiny bit of room here.
|The key pin (or post) is used to center the key in the panel. Not the lock itself. With the post on the center line I use a small combo square to mark out the width of the lock body.|
|A series of relief cuts to make waste removal easier.|
|I've defined the area to be pared out and continue to define that boundary every few paring passes.|
|Almost to the bottom for the lock body. At this point I switched to my small Lie-Nielsen router plane.|
|Here is the finished cutout. I seem to pick up alot of discoloration when using the router plane. However it was very easy to clean up with a few light passes with the block plane.|
|Here is the final product. A little gappy on the left hand side but I believe the fit to be tight enough with the human eye. This picture is more of a closeup.|