Mortising a Door Latch

Under 2 hours

Create a perfect mortise for the faceplate of your door latch

Mortising a Door Latch

Use a rotary tool to help you make a perfect mortise for the faceplate of a door latch when installing door hardware. 
This project guide features step-by-step instructions to tackle after you have already drilled holes in the door. You can also refer to the manufacturer’s instructions that were included with the door latch or deadbolt you are installing.


Remove door latch
Remove door latch - Mortising Door Latch

• Slide the door latch into the latch hole and trace the outline of the faceplate onto the edge of the door with a pencil.
• Remove the door latch.

Cut the faceplate
Cut faceplate - Mortising Door Latch

• Outfit a rotary tool with a 650 router bit and 335 plunge router attachment.
• Set the depth of cut on the router attachment to match the thickness of the faceplate.
• Test cutting depth on a scrap of wood. The depth of the cut should allow the faceplate to align flush with the edge of the door.

Create the mortise
Create mortise - Mortising Door Latch

• Using a router attachment, remove the wood between the pencil lines drawn on the door edge to create a mortise for the faceplate.
• Fit the latch and faceplate into the door.
• Use a bevel edge chisel and hammer to square the corners of the mortise if the faceplate has square corners.

Screw the faceplate into place
Screw faceplate place - Mortising Door Latch

• Mark holes for the faceplate and drill with a bit smaller than the fastening screws.
• Screw the faceplate in place and continue with lockset installation.