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Where to get parts for a centered front door knob

front-doors-centered-door-knobsWhere to get replacement parts to fix — or create — a centered door knob / door set? This question comes up several times a year, and now, thanks to reader Emma, we have an answer. Two answers, in fact! Above: The gorgeous front doors on this stunning 1961 time capsule house. [Photo by Mike McCaw/Spacecrafting.]

Responding to a question about this that came up in our story about Rejuvenation’s reproduction escutcheons, Emma wrote:

…You actually CAN get brand-new keyed knobs that have a long enough backset to be centered on a door (usually 15-18 inches, depending on your door width) . In my research, I found only two extended-backset offerings, both from commercial lock companies: Sargent’s “8 Line”, and Yale’s “5400 Series”.

Sargent’s knobs offer backsets up to 18 inches, and Yale can do even LONGER backsets – up to 42 inches (I’d love to see THAT door!). Both companies’ knobs come in common MCM finishes: brass, brushed bronze, and chrome.

schlage door knobs
Schlage’s door knobs are pretty groovy looking….

Being commercial-grade, the knobsets are pretty expensive ($250 to $350+ per set), and the long backsets likely make them special order items. However, you may consider total lock replacement a worthy investment, if it means keeping the period look and functionality of your door without modification.

Here’s PDF files for each company’s extended-backset offerings:

Yale (from their commercial line website; backset info on page 3):
http://extranet.assaabloydss.com/library/catalogs/Yale/pdf/42126_YALE_5400_Cat_lo.pdf

Sargent (8 Line Series knobs are on page 3; this PDF is from a lock supply company):
http://www.mfsales.com/book02/445-448.pdf

Woot! Thanks, Emma — great find!

Want to research more:

  1. Marc says:

    Adding a centered knob makes a strong architectural statement. Well worth the up-charge from a traditional lockset in the right setting.

  2. Matt says:

    It’s not centered, but for a 5 inch backset (useful with vintage escutcheons) Schlage A-series work. The 5″ extensions are commonly available, and they offer satin bronze through their commercial line.

    To put it all together we went with a satin bronze escutcheon (ebay), NOS unkeyed, exterior satin bronze knob in either Orbit or Plymouth (Habitat), and a new commercial deadbolt in satin bronze that was keyed to match the lock to the garage. The new satin bronze is the same shade as the old. We’re happy because it all matches and we have one key to get in and out from either door.

  3. db says:

    We acquired two doors with long (9″ and 7″) but not centered backsets, and wanted to replace the locking handle (for which we didn’t have keys) with a non-locking entry knob and new deadbolt.
    We replaced the knobs with a commercial-grade non-locking tulip design from Schlage and then just re-used the original knobs’ backset links with the new handle and latch mechanism.
    Possible option if you’re interested in the greater security of a deadbolt, and recycling parts you already have!

  4. Chris says:

    If you want to maintain the look of the centered knob but upgrade to the security of a deadbolt I think it may work to reverse the deadbolt so that the cylinder is mounted in the door frame and the bolt slides into the door. Schlage offers deadbolts for applications up to 4″ thick. You could potentially recess the cylinder flush with the door frame which would look pretty slick.

  5. Chris says:

    Another use for these knobs…. There’s a bar in Shanghai and the owner has a great sense of humor. One of the things he did is put the door knob on the hinge side of the bathroom door. The hinge is on the inside so the customer doesn’t know that until they get into the bathroom. If you try to open the door by pushing on the handle then you can’t get in – unless you know the trick and push the opposite side of the door. It’s fun to see new customers try to figure it out – and the expression on their face when they see how the door really works.

  6. Paul - CT says:

    I’m very sad to report that my 57 year old doorknow with the 14 inch backset completely failed. I could no longer open the door and the local locksmith could not get any replacement parts for it.

    So, here is a great solution the guy came up with: Use two dummy doorknobs in the center and just put in a new, sturdier deadbolt to replace the vintage one.

    That’s what I will do and it will save a ton of money but retain the look!

    P.

    1. Paul-CT says:

      I wanted to follow-up on this post to offer additional advice on a mid-century door knob replacement. So, first, I got two dummy door knobs at Home Depot, Nickel for the inside (I’m upset about not being able to use my original Walnut knobs) and Antique Brass for the outside. I was able to keep my original brass backplates for the outside and they sort of match. For the inside, the locksmith put in these awful thin shiny backplates that look like they were cut from tin foil. I ordered something nicer on Amazon and will have those installed but at least no need to paint!

      So all the new knobs are where the old ones were and look nice. The shocker was on the right door, the original dummy knobs didn’t go through the door like the new ones do so a hole had to be drilled.

      The dead bolt with key was placed into the old knobs backseat channel so it could use the existing channel (another hole needed to be drilled) and latching hardware. By doing this, I also kept the original dead bolt above and use it as a night lock. All in all it worked out and I retained the original look as best I could. It’s very easy to open and close the door but the door won’t stay closed unless I bolt it. $560 for everything! 🙁

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