How to Fit a Door

Door and window fittings can be ornamental as well as practical and secure. The simplest type of door catch is a spring-loaded ball which is recessed into the door edge. The ball is inexpensive to buy and easy to fit. A more positive action is provided by the door edge and has a projecting bolt that is flat on one lace and curved on the other. As the door is pushed shut, the curved face hits the striking plate on the door and pushes the bolt back into the latch body. When the door is fully closed the bolt springs out into the recess in the striking plate, with its face providing a positive latching movement. The action of turning the handle rotates a spindle, withdrawing the bolt from the striking plate and allowing the door to open again. A mortise lock combines the same type of latch mechanism with a lockable bolt.

The most common items of hardware used on hinged windows are a rotating cockspur handle that is used simply to fasten the window, and a casement stay that props it open in one of several different positions. On sliding sash windows, the basic hardware consists of a catch screwed to the ‘back’ window that swings across to lock the 2 sashes together when they are closed.


  1. To fit a mortise latch to a new door, use the latch body to mark the mortise position on the door edge, in line with the center or lock block.
  2. Set a mortise gauge to a setting just wider than the thickness of the latch body, and scribe the outline of the mortise centered on the door edge.
  3. Use a flat wood bit in a power drill to make a series of holes between the guidelines, a little deeper than the length of the larch body.
  4. Chop out the waste using a chisel and mallet, then pare down the sides of the manse and clean out the recess. Try the latch for fit in the mortise.
  5. Draw around the latch faceplate on the edge of the door, then cut around the lines with a chisel and make a series of parallel cuts across the grain.
  6. Carefully chisel out the waste wood between the marked guidelines, taking care not to let the chisel slip and cm beyond the ends of the recess.
  7. Hold the latch body against the face of the door in line with the mortise with its faceplate flush with the door edge. Mark the spindle position.
  8. Clamp a piece of scrap wood to the other side of the door. Drill a hole large enough to accept the spindle through the door into the scrap wood
  9. Slide the latch into place in its mortise, and make pilot holes through the faceplate with a bradawl. Drive in the faceplate fixing screws.
  10. Insert the spindle and fit a handle on to each end. Check that the spindle rotates freely, then screw both handles to the door.
  11. Close the door in order to mark where the latch bolt meets the frame. Chisel out the recesses for the bolt and striking plate, and screw on the plate.


  • Decide where the cockspur handle should sit on the casement and make pilot holes through it with a bradawl. Screw the handle to the casement.
  • Fit the striking plate to the flame so that the cockspur will engage. Drill out the frame to a depth of about 20 mm or 3/4 in. through the slot in the plate.
  • Fix the casement stay by screwing it in so the plate is to the bottom rail of the casement, about one-third of the way along from the hinged edge.
  • Open the window to find the correct position for the pins to sit on the frame. Attach the pins, then fix the stay rest on the casement rail.


If you are lining lockable window catches and stays, do not leave the keys in the locks in case they fall out as you open and close the window. Instead, hang them on a pin driven into the window frame. This will also ensure that they are readily available should the window have to be opened quickly in an emergency.