We were called to open a wooden door with one mortice latch and one mortice deadlock. We realised that the deadlock was working but the door would not open. We removed the handles to the mortice latch and could see that the spindle carrier had broken away completely, and had also had a very bad repair or rather bodge job previously. The red you can see is loft insulation used to stuff the holes. (Pic 1/2) which was preventing the handles operating the latch.
The door and the frame were in such bad condition, we actually thought that they might fall apart when we started working on them which would not help at all.In order to get the door open we decided to try to gently spread the door and frame and leaver the bolt back manually watching for the slightest visible sign that the door might fall apart. To do this we had to pull away a portion of a strip (Pic 3) which we re-secured at the end.
Luckily, this worked and once the door was open we were able to replace the latch. We had difficulties in getting it secured however. The old latch being a lot older was smaller in size than the new one. To allow the latch to actually work we had to pack the face out to stand off of the door.
The replacement strike plate in the packet was not required so we cut it up and used to make metal spacers which together with some cup washers helped to pack the latch out (Pic 4). Once the new latch was in place we smoothed the area with filler to tidy the job. (Pic 5).
The old keep had to be moved slightly on the frame to allow correct operation and again the area tidied up.
It is amazing how much hassle a small and basic latch can cause.