how to remove a mortice lock without key

Removing a mortise lock without a key can be a bit challenging, and it’s important to note that attempting to do so on a lock that you don’t own or have permission to remove may be illegal. However, if you own the property and have a legitimate reason to remove the lock (e.g., you’ve lost the key), here’s a general guide to help you remove it:

Tools you will need:

  1. Screwdriver
  2. Pliers or vice grips
  3. Hammer (optional)
  4. Drill (optional)


  1. Identify the Lock Type: First, determine the type of mortise lock you’re dealing with. Mortise locks typically have a faceplate and a cylinder (keyhole) where the key is inserted. Some may have visible screws or fasteners on the faceplate.
  2. Remove Faceplate Screws: If there are visible screws securing the faceplate of the lock, use a screwdriver to remove them. Once the screws are out, you can try to gently pry off the faceplate with your fingers or a flathead screwdriver. Be careful not to damage the surrounding door or frame.
  3. Locate the Cylinder Set Screw: Inside the lock, there is usually a set screw that holds the cylinder in place. You may need to look through the keyhole or behind the faceplate to find it. Once located, use a screwdriver to loosen and remove the set screw.
  4. Remove the Cylinder: With the set screw removed, you should be able to pull the cylinder out of the lock housing. This may require some wiggling and gentle force. Be patient and avoid excessive force, as you don’t want to damage the lock or door.
  5. Retrieve the Bolt (Latch): With the cylinder removed, you may need to reach inside the lock housing to retract or release the bolt (latch) that secures the door. This can be done with your fingers, pliers, or a flathead screwdriver. Once the bolt is retracted, you should be able to open the door.
  6. Optional – Drill Out the Cylinder: If you cannot access the set screw or if the lock is damaged, you can drill out the cylinder. Use a drill with a bit suitable for metal, and carefully drill into the center of the cylinder. Be cautious not to damage the door or frame. Eventually, the cylinder will break apart, allowing you to access the bolt and open the door.

Remember that attempting to remove a lock without a key should only be done on property you own or have explicit permission to access. If you’re not comfortable with the process or if you’re unsure, it’s best to contact a professional locksmith for assistance. Additionally, consult local laws and regulations regarding lock removal, as unauthorized lock removal may be illegal in some jurisdictions.

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