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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Default Repairing Strike Plate

    Hi - I'm new here, so I'm not sure if I'm using all the proper terms - please forgive me!

    We live in a 1930s home that we're trying to get ready to sell. We bought a replacement handleset for the front door, and when I removed the old hardware from the door jamb, I found what looked like chewed up chiseling under the strike plate. It looks like someone carved out the holes for the dead bolt and the latch with the wrong end of the hammer. On top of that, there are multiple drill holes - all just about stripped - none of which work with this new handleset. I *think* the door frame itself is original, because it has that "old" but charming look to it.

    What can we do? We can't replace the whole door frame! I'm thinking the only thing we can do to repair it is to completely cut away the old section and totally replace it with new wood. But is that something that we inexperienced folks can do ourselves?

    Thanks for your advice.
    Lyndsay

    Let's see if I can post a picture of the latch --

    No, it won't let me. But I have some pictures posted on my blog - chrisandlyndsay.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,150

    Default Re: Repairing Strike Plate

    That is indeed a mess, but an easy fix.

    Start by getting yourself some white glue or wood glue and some wooden toothpicks.

    Dip a toothpick in the glue, then smear it in one of the screw holes, pushing the toothpick in to its widest point. Grab another toothpick and repeat the process into the same hole until you can't push anymore toothpicks in. Lightly tap the tips of the toothpicks to tightly wedge them into the hole and leave the whole thing to dry for a 15 minutes to an hour. Repeat this process with each screw hole until all are filled.

    Once the glue has sufficiently dried, use a utility knife to trim the toothpicks flush with the strike plate mortise. Set your new plate in place, mark and predrill a starter hole for the screws, then set the strike plate.

    If the hole is ragged around the strike plate, you can fill with a good wood filler after the strike plate is installed and touch up the paint. If the plate doesn't sit flush with the surface of the jamb leg, then you can deepen the mortise or shim the plate a little to get a perfect fit.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Repairing Strike Plate

    What Spruce said plus;

    If the old holes are right next to where the new holes need to be (and keep steering the screws in the wrong direction) drill out a decent sized hole, about 1/2" - 3/8" and insert a wooden plug. Its the same idea as the toothpicks, just larger.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Repairing Strike Plate

    Lyndsay:

    I agree completely that your butchered door and frame are repairable, however I'd use a toughened epoxy to make ALL the repairs needed, including filling splits in the wood.

    Look in your yellow pages phone directory under "Adhesives" to see who sells Loctite products in your area. It'll most likely be a sales agent or agency rather than a store. If they don't stock it, ask them to bring in a cartridge of Loctite E-20HP for you:



    Loctite E-20HP is a "toughened" epoxy, which means that it doesn't cure as strong and hard as a normal epoxy. Basically, it only cures to the hardness of a fairly strong construction grade wood like fir or pine. But, because it sticks very well to wood, it allows you to "add wood" where it's needed. If you push E-20HP into a crack in wood, not only will it bond to both sides of the crack, it'll cure to about the same toughness and hardness as wood, thereby effectively repairing the crack.

    You can drive screws into cured E-20HP (after predrilling the hole for the screw), and it'll hold a screw with about the same strength as clear fir or pine will. You can also remove excess epoxy with a sharp wood chisel just like you were removing wood. I've repaired a number of wood doors in my building (including exterior doors) with stripped screw holes using E-20HP, and it's the best way of fixing stripped screw holes I know of. You can also repair stripped screws in kitchen cupboard and cabinet doors using E-20HP.

    (never ever never try to drive a screw into regular epoxy. if you get it in, it'll hold like a SOB, but typically the epoxy will crack up or even shatter as you drive the screw in)

    The place that sells you the E-20HP will almost certainly have loaner guns that they will provide you with if you pay a damage deposit on the gun:



    Note that E-20HP has one barrel larger than the other, so you need to have the correct plunger installed in the gun to pump E-20HP. (There are different plungers available for Loctite epoxy guns and you need the one for a 2:1 mixing ratio cartridge.)

    Once you have the epoxy, gun and some spare mixing nozzles, just squeeze epoxy in wherever you need wood, allow it to cure, and then put your strike plate in place, mark the holes, predrill, and re-install the strike plate with flat head sheet metal screws like the one shown below:



    You want to use sheet metal screws because wood screws (shown below) have a smooth shank that's larger in diamter than the hole you predrill for the screw. Except for the fact that sheet metal screws are threaded over their entire length, there is no difference between sheet metal screws and wood screws.

    Uncured E-20HP can be "tooled" just like a caulk; just dip your finger in a 50/50 solution of dish washing detergent and water, and use that wet finger to shape the epoxy as desired before it cures. The soap will prevent the epoxy from sticking to your finger. And, since epoxy sticks well to epoxy, you can do that over and over again if needed, just be sure to clean the old soap off before applying more epoxy. Cured epoxy is also paintable so you can paint your repair to better hide it. E-20HP is about the same viscosity as silicone caulk and white in colour. The E-20HP cartridge is re-sealable with a plastic plug if you don't use it all.


    You will have to buy the E-20HP cartrdge (about $14 where I live) and also the mixing nozzle (as seen in the picture showing the gun) for about $1.30 each. The mixing nozzle has an insert inside it that mixes the resin and hardener over the length of the nozzle so that by the time it comes out the business end of the nozzle, it's fully mixed and ready to apply. The only drawback is that any epoxy remaining in the nozzle at the end of the job is wasted.

    However, KEEP the old nozzle with the epoxy in it. It will tell you how hard the epoxy in the door and frame are without your being tempted to start digging a finger nail into the door and frame to test.

    PS #1:
    When choosing a drill bit to predrill holes in wood, the method you use is to choose a drill bit that's the same diameter as the ROOT of the screw:



    In the above drawing, "R" is the root diameter of the screw. If you use a drill bit with the same diameter you minimize the liklihood of splitting the wood as you drive the screw in, while still ensuring that you maintain the maximum gripping force of the screw because the threads cut into wood over their entire height. That is, you grip the wood with the entire area of the threads (between diameter R and diameter T).

    Some people like to use a drill bit one size smaller than the screw root diameter when driving screws into softwoods. I've been doing house repairs for well over 20 years, and I've never had a problem using drill bits that are the same diameter as the root of the screw. I simply don't feel that there's a significant benefit in using a smaller hole so the screw compresses the softwood. You simply don't need much strength to hold a strike plate in place, so I'd just use a drill bit that's the same diameter as the screw root.

    PS #2:
    If, for whatever reason, you couldn't use epoxy, there would be another way to repair the door frame. Just go to any locksmith and ask for a "security strike plate":



    Security strike plates are the same width, but much taller than standard strike plates, allowing you to drive new screws into the undamaged areas of your door frame.
    Last edited by Nestor; 06-25-2011 at 05:04 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,692

    Default Re: Repairing Strike Plate

    You described yourself as "inexperienced folks", so Nestor's recommendation about the oversized strike plate will be the easiest for you to tackle.

    It's the best solution for a chewed up, badly damaged door jamb.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,150

    Default Re: Repairing Strike Plate

    While this is all great advice, I think some of you are over complicating things. Remember, K-I-S-S, Keep It Simple Silly, is usually the best and easiest course of action.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,193

    Default Re: Repairing Strike Plate

    The only way to satisfactorily repair this is to fit a new piece of wood, preferably something split resistant with an interlocking grain like birdseye maple or elm, and fit it in with a blind sliding dovetail joint. If you can't accomplish that quality of repair, it would be best to just hang a curtain over the opening and live without a front door. That, hopefully, will motivate you to sharpen your skills to a level where you will become a useful human being.
    Now, begone!
    That was "satire". Do not take seriously. I'm slightly less of an a-hole in real life.
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    208

    Default Re: Repairing Strike Plate

    For newbies, I'd recommend using the epoxy.

    Using the epoxy requires no skill with a chisel, and it can be used for all kinds of other DIY repairs around the house.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,150

    Default Re: Repairing Strike Plate

    Quote Originally Posted by Nestor View Post
    For newbies, I'd recommend using the epoxy.

    Using the epoxy requires no skill with a chisel, and it can be used for all kinds of other DIY repairs around the house.
    Yes, but I know few households that do not have white glue or wood glue and wooden toothpicks. As far as a utility knife, pretty much any sharp pointy object is going to do the trick, again, something the average household will have at hand.

    Again, I'm not saying that you're wrong, just trying to keep things simple, and in this instance with this repair, there is no need for purchasing specialty items. Epoxy is no easier to use, no stronger, and adds no more integrity to the jamb than the toothpicks and regular glue.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Repairing Strike Plate

    Lyndsay:

    Reattach your strike plate with longer screws.



    Can't get much simpler than that.

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