Item # 4481

Roll Top Desk Locks

Roll Top Desk locks with smooth locking mechanisms are reproductions of an original 19th century style. Traditionally they were used on desks with a tambour top made up of wooden slats in a frame. Lock is mortised into base of tambour frame facing downward. Square strike with spring loaded trap door is mortised flat in desk surface. Top rolls down in a track to close. When top closes, lock mechanism drops down into strike. Lock is opened and closed with key. Escutcheon mounts to exterior of frame, outlining keyhole.
  • Sold each
  • Material: Steel Lock with Brass Selvedge
  • Includes: Brass Strike, Brass Keyhole Cover, 2 Brass-plated Steel Keys & mounting screws
  • When replacing locks, the backset is most crucial as it must match cutout in furniture for lock to line up correctly with existing keyhole
  • Backset-Distance To pin: 1"
  • Selvedge: 5/8" x 3-1/4"
  • Box: 1-3/4" W x 1-3/8" H
  • Trap door strike: 2-3/8" x 13/16"
  • Keyhole Cover: 3-11/16" x 1-3/8"
  • Full Mortise Lock Information

    Full Mortise Locks are a popular style, Lock-mechanism fits into a pocket in wood, This style is often desired for it's minimalist appearance as only selvedge is visible on door/drawer edge. 


    Drawer Locks were commonly used on drawers. Lock-bolt shoots up into case above drawer, a strike is rarely used.

    Door Locks are handed meaning right-hand or left-hand. Please note: some full mortise locks are not available in both left and right options. When looking for door locks be sure lock is handed according to your needs.

    • doors hinged on right - bolt shoots to the left.
    • doors hinged on left - bolt shoots to the right.

    Desk Locks were often used on roll top desks. These applications require a trap-door strike with the lock. 


    Full Mortise Lock Diagram

    • Before looking for a replacement it will be necessary to measure your lock.
    • Please view diagram below to determine how to measure your lock.
    • The backset measurement, is the most important measurement, must match precisely.
    • Once the backset measurement is determined you can look at your various options.
    • If potential substitutes have different lock-body or lock-plate measurements cabinet work may be necessary to fit the lock.

    Determine desired location of lock

    • Adjust position to allow for location of keyhole as it is often off center in lock
    • Lock should be positioned in middle of wood thickness, providing a wood edge around selvedge
    • Mark location of lock-selvedge on door or drawer edge
    • Hold lock-selvedge, at desired location, on wood thickness and trace outline
    • Inspect outline for accuracy , straighten lines where necessary
    • Mortise Selvedge

    Full Mortise Lock installed


    • Trace lock-body outline into selvedge-mortise at correct position
    • Cut lock-body-mortise
    • Mortise can be slightly off as selvedge will conceal lock-body once installed.
    • Check lock with mortise, lock should sit in mortise with selvedge flush with wood surface
    • Strikes are rarely use with reproduction full mortise locks. Traditionally a simple mortise was cut in the wood to accept the lock bolt.

    Keyhole Placement

    • Measure distance from top of lock-plate to center of key pin
    • Measure distance from side of lock-plate to center of key pin
    • With these two measurements locate keyhole on furniture front, make sure key pin is aligned with keyhole location
    • Drill small pilot hole at key pin location, hold lock in position and check to make sure hole lines up with key pin
    • Drill hole larger to accommodate key barrel

    Mount Lock

    • Mount lock in a mortised- pocket in wood thickness/edge
    • Selvedge edge should be level with top of drawer or edge of door
    • Attach with wood screws
    • For a finished appearance: mount an  escutcheon/keyhole plate, on furniture front.

    Using Brass Wood Screws

    Care is required when installing brass screws. While these screws are the best match for most antique hardware however they are not as strong as steel screws. The screw is easily damaged if the hole is not properly prepared.

    The best practice is to first drill a pilot hole. Use a drill bit slightly smaller than the overall width of the screw, including threads, to drill the hole. Then use a steel screw, the same size as brass screw, to “cut threads” in pilot hole, by screwing steel screw into and then out of hole.

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