We often are presented with the task of helping with specification of a keyless entry for a residential project. Depending on what the design and function needs are, this could take us in many different directions. Let’s start with the basic options for electronic entry.

  1. Electric Strikes : Electric strikes are sometimes used on residential projects, especially when there might be a particular need/convenience to run the power on the jamb side. Basically, when you send your signal to unlock the door, the electric strike keeper moves out of the way so that the door can swing clear. The only electric strike that I know of that works differently than this is the Securitron MUNL, which pushes the latch out of the strike instead, allowing the user to then push the door open. (Be very careful with specifying the MUNLs as they have pre-load issues, are not weather resistant, and Accurate locks will need to be modified to accommodate these particular electric strikes. The MUNL cannot be used with a deadbolt.)

    PROS : Power at the jamb (not through the door), some models give flexibility to use a fixed pull on the exterior if desired, some fairly low profile options like the HES 4500C or Securitron MUNL.

    CONS : Electric strikes are not seen as a great aesthetic option due to the cutout on the jamb that is required to install an electric strike. You also don’t usually have many finish options, and limited options for strike length. Some people have complained about the sound.

  2. Electrified Mortise Locks : The only electrified mortise locks I will reference here are Accurate Lock & Hardware Motor Drive Electric Mortise Locks. These mortise locks are wired for power transfer to the lever/knob hub. When a signal is sent to unlock the door, the outside lever/knob hub is freed so that the user is now able to push down their lever (or turn their knob), retract the latch, and swing the door open. Otherwise, the outside lever/knob is always rigid/locked. Power must be run from the mortise lock, through the width of the door, through one of the hinges through the jamb, and then routed off to wherever it needs to go. Keypad or keyfob or wireless set up is typically provided by the AV consultant on the project.

    PROS : Aesthetically pleasing because all the power/wires are hidden from sight. Accurate can still build the lock to lever or knob specification of choice, keeping the design consistent with the rest of the hardware. No batteries, no worries about running out of power unless the power goes out. Can easily be changed from FAIL SECURE to FAIL SAFE in the field. Low power requirements. Keyed cylinder override. Inside lever always free with M9159E.

    CONS : Requires drilling through the width of the door to run power, requires power transfer hinge, which is added labor/cost. Always must have lever or knob to retract latch and swing door open once lever hub is freed up. Fixed pulls cannot be used. No deadbolt. Sometimes the lack of deadbolt bothers homeowners, and they will opt to have a separate “night security” small mortise deadlock, like a 9503. They can throw the bolt for added security at night, but they will need to remember to unlock during the day or whenever they want to be free to use electronic access to go in and out.

    There are other electrified mortise locks, like Schlage’s version, but they are not as easy to adapt to other manufacturer’s trim.

  3. Smart Lock-Deadbolt : Most of the smart locks out there now (August, Yale/Nest, Schlage, Kwikset, Friday Labs) can be bought online (no need to go through a dealer) and are built to work with an existing tubular deadbolt.

    PROS : Ease of use for end user. No keys needed. Works with most standard tubular deadbolts.

    CONS : Most dealers will not sell; purchaser buys at own risk. Battery operated, will need to be regularly charged or batteries changed. No option for matching the rest of the trim. Not aesthetically pleasing. Used with tubular deadbolts, which are lower security than mortise locks.

  4. Smart Lock-Mortise : The only smart lock for custom mortise lock entry is in the works at Accurate Lock & Hardware. They are projecting the SM9159E SmartPhone Lock to be ready for market by end of Q2. Works the same as their electrified mortise lock, but with Bluetooth signal to unlock the lever/knob hub (no deadbolt). Flexibility to be powered by batteries or by traditional hard wired power supply. One difference is that a turn piece is optional to have ability to lock outside lever (but cannot be used to unlock it).

    PROS : Aesthetically pleasing because all the power/wires are hidden from sight. Accurate can still build the lock to lever or knob specification of choice, keeping the design consistent with the rest of the hardware. No need to run power through door/hinge/jamb unless that is desired. Keyed override optional.

    CONS : Batteries will need to be periodically replaced (unless using hard wired power supply). Cannot use fixed pulls. Must use active levers/knobs.

  5. MagLocks : Mag locks are more widely used for commercial applications, but there are some options that may make sense for the right residential application. Be careful with these specifications as they often build up a lot of heat and should not be installed in wood jambs. See Security Door Controls for options, or Assa Abloy’s website. This area could use further R&D for high-end residential application.




ACTIVE LEVERS (Always confirm what lock/latch is being used with these levers.)

  1. STYLE / DESIGN : Do the design and measurements match the cutsheet for the specification? Is the rose (whether or attached or separate) the correct size and design?

  2. FINISH : Is the finish what was specified and ordered? Is the finish free of scratches or dents?

  3. BROACH / SPINDLE SIZE : Is the lever broached for the correct spindle size and orientation? For example, 8mm on the square (Formani) or 7.2mm on the diamond (SVB). Should this lever set get a straight spindle or swivel spindle? (See lock specification.) Is the spindle length the correct size for the door thickness.

  4. HANDING : Is the lever handed? If it is sprung, is the springing for the correct handing? If there is a set screw, make sure the handing is correct. (Set screw should never be on top of the lever.) Make sure the set screw is supplied. Make sure the set screw is not too long (should not sit above the surface of the set screw hole).

  5. MOUNT : How is the lever meant to be mounted? Is there a sub-rose that the finish rose screws onto? Make sure the threading works well to screw the rose on. Make sure the sub-rose screws are supplied. Should the rose be surface-mounted or through-bolted? If surface-mounted, make sure there are wood screws that are not too long (so that they don’t hit the lock). If through-bolted, make sure that the lock being used with these levers have holes that allow for the through-bolts to go through the thickness of the door. Make sure that the through-bolts are the correct length for the door thickness or can easily be cut down to accommodate. Make sure the finish through-bolts or screws are in the matching finish and are not stripped.

If the lever set that you are inspecting is INACTIVE - a FULL or HALF DUMMY - see below:

HALF DUMMY : A half dummy should be one single lever. A half dummy denotes fixed hardware on the exterior side of the door only. After checking design, finish, and handing, you will need to check for a half dummy mount. Some manufacturers build the lever so that it is fixed in place when you receive it. Make sure you have the proper mounting screws. Other manufacturers provide you with an active lever, and then there is a separate half dummy mount. Make sure that the mount has a half spindle that matches the broach of your lever. Make sure that the half dummy mount screw holes are not going to interfere with the screw holes of the rose. If some of the half dummy mount screw holes align with the rose screw holes, make sure that the screws are long enough to go through both the rose and the half dummy mount and have enough length to get a good purchase in the wood it is being mounted to. Make sure that the half dummy mount is not larger than the rose, as it will need to hide beneath the rose - and the installer will need to counterbore into the face of the door to install it beneath the finish rose.

FULL DUMMY : A full dummy should be a pair of levers. A full dummy denotes fixed hardware on the exterior and the interior side of the door. After checking design, finish, and handing, you will need to check for either 2 half dummy mounts or 1 full dummy mount. A full dummy mount will require the same technical inspection of how the mount will fit beneath the finish rose, but it will probably have a spindle that goes through the full thickness of the door. Make sure that it fits the door thickness.

NOTE : Sometimes half and full dummy levers are applied by using an Accurate interior or full mortise dummy lock body. In this case, there is a lever hub for the spindle to go through, but the hub is fixed in place so that the lever cannot turn.


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T-Handles and Locks

We should pause and consider any project that wishes to use ACTIVE T-handles. The normal slop/margin in the lock hub between the fit of the spindle and the play in the movement of the hub itself can translate to a few degrees of tilt. This would not be noticed for a knob because of its shape. And often it wouldn’t be noticed for a lever. For T-handles with really straight, clean lines, this can be very noticeable -- not just for the T-handle but also for the turn piece if there is privacy or deadbolt function. This means we have to think through and probably mock up the desired T-handle (and turn piece) in the desired lock and check the springing and alignment.

When I recently talked with Mark Gallo (Accurate Lock) about a bronze T-handle (unsprung) that needed to be on a 9125 passage mortise latch, he suggested specifying the lock as Knob x Knob with a #3 spring because of the weight of the T-handle. For the alignment of the deadlock/turn piece down below, he suggested using a 9503 deadlock and noting on the PO that we would need to ensure that the turn piece would be perfectly aligned. This is something Accurate is well aware of with the turn piece hubs and have not yet remedied… but they will if they know it will be an issue on a project, so we have to take care to communicate this.

…I should comment later on a FORMANI T-handle project that I saw installed with Nemeth locks. The turn pieces were perfectly straight, but a few of the T-handles were off by a few degrees. There was no problem with the locks themselves or the broach of the T-handles, but there was just a little bit of play with the hub, enough to be noticeable. There is no easy fix for this one. But there are some things that can be done if necessary.

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Astec introduces a closer for 440lbs. sliding glass doors for their b.400/b.410

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Long in development and testing, astec has just announced the release of their glass door closer for their floor-bearing b.400/410 wheels. The closer sits up in the “guide” channel which previously house the door stops on either end. With this development you can get a softclose effect on both ends of an 8ftx8ftx.5in piece of glass.

This is an excellent feature for large doors and especially in public spaces can be a highly recommended safety feature. These big doors can pick up speed.

Download installation instructions : HERE

Download drawings that show the whole system : HERE

here’s the link to the BBH page on b.410



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Square Barrel hinges with Ball Bearings


They don’t exist.

This came up on a project where they had McKinney Square Barrel hinges for many of the interior doors. A few doors required ball-bearing hinges because these doors were using concealed door closers (in this case LCN 2130s and 3130s). The

Both Lowe and Merit will do them. We haven’t received pricing yet.

found a couple of resources on hinges:

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Magnetic Doorstops : Holding Strength

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Magnetic Doorstops : Holding Strength

Summer Slamming Doors

This is an example of the sort of post that documents an issue that might require more internal discussion.

This is about magnetic door stops. This is where we can go off on our experience with holding strength. Videos and pics...

But perhaps, if we are really talking about solutions, this is about control exterior (and interior) doors so they don’t injure people or wake them up in the middle of the night with a loud bang.

Lots of modern houses show themselves open completely to the elements with entire sides of the building ready to welcome in the wind (and birds and bats I imagine). Anyway, client called that they were worried that their doors would hurt someone when the wind picks up and throws doors slamming into their frames. Forget plaster, just the possibility of getting caught by one of these things worried him.

He wanted help securing the doors and thought about magnetic stops.

Now this is the same house where he claimed one of the windows was blown clean off the house and landed, smashing on the patio below. The casement stay question probably needs to be a different post. Just to say, this might be a breezy spot.

Both mechanical connections (hooks) and magnetic (non-electromagnetic) connections to offer.

I think the question about which is going to work best is going to depend on a few things outside of aesthetics, which definitely entered into the final decisions here.

The client felt that if his teenage kids would need to bend down to hook or unhook anything that these doors would never get hooked or unhooked. So, an automatically secured and unsecured option was preferable. So, magnetic, right?

Well, it really depends. My feeling is that holding force on a magnetic stop needs to be quite strong on an exterior door where a heavy door can act like a sail if the wind catches it. I’m sure it there’s a way to figure out the force for a certain mass and area and wind speed but no one will ever make that calculation. Or at least not to spec a door stop.

The offerings we looked at :

Halliday+Baillie :

We actually did an experiment in-house a long time ago which tested the hold force of the single and double magnetic doorstops and found the double was not double. See here. Thanks to David and Ed I think for this study.

So probably good for lighter doors and probably more for interior purposes. Still, H+B has the HB760 which addresses one of the questions that needs to be asked when specifying a doorstop for an exterior door : “how much is the step down?” If the door is outswing and you are stepping down even one step, you need a stop that is tall enough. The H+B works for step downs of 5 inches max, and that is only when you use the elevating base.

All Magnetic stops require some sort of steel “keeper” (in the lingo of H+B) on the door itself.

Other floor-mounted and wall-mounted magnetic solutions from Chant offer two different positions for the magnet. One that hugs the keeper and one that is tangential to the keeper. This allows the user to choose a lighter touch (“I don’t want to have to yank hard on the door to dislodge it from the stop”) or a more secure (“I just hit myself with the door”).


Chant also has some of the mechanical type door stops, both wall-mounted and floor-mounted. These rely on hooking the door to the stop and then releasing the hook when you want the door to close. The height of these is 160mm or about 6-1/4”. These automatically drops the “hook” when the door comes toward its open position. The teenager will still need to bend down to release it though I imagine they’ll figure out how to get their toe to come up between stop and door to unhook the stop.

Anyone have photos of the Chant pedestal we had come through?


The classic hybrid idea is best illustrated by the Sun Valley combo hook and rubber doorstop :

Sun Valley Bronze DS-5HE

Sun Valley Bronze DS-5HE

Sun Valley Bronze DS-2HE

Sun Valley Bronze DS-2HE

JNF has an interesting one which is both magnetic and rubber (actually more like delrin). Door Stop with Magnetic Retainer IN.13.186

Seems pretty strong.

Another, more traditional, by JNF which was quite weak in it’s holding power. Definitely for interior use.

And similar PB30 (UB40’s younger brother) by Formani as part of the Piet Boon One collection. Total height about 6 inches :

Definitely weak for exterior use. Decent mounting for stone or concrete.

Definitely weak for exterior use. Decent mounting for stone or concrete.

Always worth looking at how the stop will be installed, especially when going into stone. The first door slamming into your stop can do a number on your stop and the door.bThe Chant pedestal option was quite impressive a (photos?). A little wind is not going to knock that thing off its, um, pedestal.

Then there’s the FixFax magnetic version that sits flush to the floor. Expensive but strong and hides itself.

What to consider when specifying a door stop that holds the door in its open position :

  • Magnet Strength. Is any strength strong enough for your wind situation. Should you consider a mechanical hold back.

  • How high does the thing need to be to engage the door?

  • Do you want a combination rubber and hook style?

  • How will this best be mounted?

  • Even doors with closers need stops and/or holds.

  • Is it ugly? Finish considerations especially on exterior applications.

Any other considerations?

or other solutions?

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