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A mortise lock is one that requires a pocket the mortise to be cut into the door or piece of furniture into which the lock is to be fitted. In most parts of the world, mortise locks are generally Chicago Mortise Lock Installerfound on older buildings constructed before the advent of bored cylindrical locks, but they have recently become more common in commercial and up-market residential construction in the United States.

The parts included in the typical mortise lock installation are the lock body (the part installed inside the mortise cut-out in the door); the lock trim (which may be selected from any number of designs of doorknobs, levers, handle sets and pulls); a strike plate, or a box keep, which lines the hole in the frame into which the bolt fits; and the keyed cylinder which operates the locking/unlocking function of the lock body.

The installation of a mortise lock cannot generally be undertaken by the average homeowner since it is labor intensive and requires a working knowledge of basic woodworking tools and methods. Many installation specialists use a mortising jig which makes precise cutting of the pocket a simple operation, but the subsequent installation of the external trim can still prove problematic if the installer is inexperienced.

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