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How to Remove and Restore an Old Door Lock

We're down to just completing some final finishing touches in the bathroom - one of which was to restore the old rim lock.

We're actually going to be rehanging the door so that it opens up the opposite way, but more on that in another post. What it does mean however, is that the rim lock and hinges needed to be removed and re-positioned on the door. And since they needed removing anyway, it made perfect sense to restore them to their original beauty (or at least attempt to!).

How to Remove and Restore an Old Door Lock

Remove Hardware from the Door (or frame)

Both the rim lock and hinges had been painted many times over the years, meaning the screw heads were invisible and they had basically been glued to the door and frame. The way around this is to basically bash the paint off until you find a screw head and can actually unscrew it without stripping the head.

removing old door lock

how to remove painted shut lock

We then chiselled around the lock to pry it from the frame.

painted lock

restoring lock

Here's what the rim looked like before removal. You can see where the screws are, but you can't see any screw head! There's a lock on the bottom as well which never worked as it had literally been painted shut. So we could never actually lock the door. But this was going to change!

Painted shut victorian rim lock

removing rim lock

Removing the Paint

So here's what all the door furniture looked like after we'd managed to remove them from the door and frame. You can see plenty of build-up of paint, but some lovely originality peeking through too.

layers of paint on hinges

painted rim lock

painted lock

To remove the paint, I placed each one into some boiling water and left for around 10 minutes. This softens up the paint and allows it to easily be peeled off. I used a chisel for this, but be gentle, you don't want to scratch what's underneath!

how to remove paint from door lock

Cleaning Up

After peeling off the majority of the paint, it was still looking pretty grubby. It had a horrible sticky residue and some of the paint still remained too. This is where the TSP comes in (Trisodium Phosphate) which I purchased in powered form. I filled a bowl with one part TSP, three parts water and left the items to soak for a further 10 minutes. The bowl then turned this colour. Mmmm, lovely?

using tcp to clean door furniture

Using just a regular washing sponge I was able to simply to clean away any excess paint and the sticky residue. It was so easy to do with this stuff, just came right off! I did by the way, try these two stages the other way around as well, using the TSP first - but I found this way worked the best.

restoring victorian door furniture

Getting the Shine Back

Make sure to leave the door furniture over night to fully dry before this step. Using some steel wool, I removed any bits of rust that had appeared before using some WD40 over the top. This helps loosen the fittings a little but also provides a protective layer too.

restoration hinge

cleaning up victorian door furniture

As for the brass door handles, I used some Brasso and basically just rubed the hell of them. I used to work in a pub, where it was my daily job to shine up the pumps, so I'm a pro brass shiner anyway ;) Ha, but basically, the more you rub, the shinier it becomes. It takes a few minutes, so keep at it - it's well worth it!

shining brass knobs

You'll know it's as shiny as can be when you see your face in it, literally.

brass knob restoration

Didn't these scrub up WELL? I'm super impressed! They're a little scuffed in places, I assume the scuffs and scratches were already there before they had been painted in the past, as I was super careful with removing the paint so don't think I caused the scuffing myself. I don't really mind though, I think it adds character and it makes them look old, which I like. The lock by the way, is working again too!

rim lock restoration

door furniture restoration

old hinge restoration

What do you think? Have you ever restored old door furniture? What was your method?

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