Monday, 13 May 2019

DIY door knob gripe

I learned something new at the weekend, there's a good summary here:

Sprung v Unsprung Door Handles [for 'handles' read 'knobs']

Springs are required to get door handles to return to the horizontal after they have been pushed down. The spring can be located in the handles and or in the latch/lock. Most early handles were unsprung and most modern handles have springing.

You can tell if handles are sprung because they will return to the horizontal without being connected to the latch/lock. If you select unsprung handles then you need to make sure your lock/latch has a heavy duty spring, as this spring has to do all the work.

I had to replace three latches over the weekend which were either too stiff or too wobbly. Easy job, you might think, the old latches were standard size, buy three new ones and pop them in, refix the door knobs, sorted.

The first latch I replaced had old-style door knobs with no spring/return mechanism of their own (the latches have their own spring/return mechanism, so completely unnecessary). That was a ten minute job, line up the grub screws with a hole on the spindle, the new latch clicks into the existing strike plate nicely, job done.

Two of the three pairs of door knobs had their own spring/return mechanism, which were a bloody nightmare. It is nigh impossible to line up both knobs so their spring/return mechanism co-operates with the one in the latch, i.e. still very stiff to turn and you have to turn the knobs back again to get the latch to pop out.

Her Indoors complained that she still couldn't open the bedroom door without using both hands. She had a crack herself and after two or three hours she threw in the towel.

So I bought an unsprung pair from B&Q (the last one in stock), which works a treat and only needs the lightest touch to open and it clicks shut perfectly - provided you don't over-tighten the screws holding them in place (another twenty minutes of trial and error). If you over-tighten them, the mechanism jams or is it 'jambs' in this context?)

Which maniac decided to put springs in door handles/knobs? They are more expensive to make, a bugger to fit and don't work properly. What is the bloody point?


decnine said...

And, as I've found out seven years after a self-build project, the in-handle springs last about six and a half years in the most heavily used doors....

Mark Wadsworth said...

D, I'm sorry to hear that. Planned insolence.

Ralph Musgrave said...

Solution.. Make sure the square spindle is a LOOSE fit in door handles. That can be done by keeping the spindle as short as possible and/or grinding it down to a bit less than its proper size. That way even if the two handles are not aligned properly with each other when their screws are tightened, the spindle and handles are free to turn.

James James said...

Just install roller latches instead.

Mark Wadsworth said...

RM, have you tried that? Isn't it easier just leaving the screws a bit loose?

JJ, I am coming round to that idea.

Ralph Musgrave said...

Mark: yes I've tried "that" several times. I've also tried leaving screws loose, which also works. Re the latter, I'm bothered that loose screws can work ever looser. But I dare say the world faces bigger problems...:-)

Matt said...

Sometimes it's not the length of the spindle that causes the friction. It's the moving part of the knob against the door. To fix this you need to take some of the door off to make clearance.

Or leave the screws loose.

Mark Wadsworth said...

RM, you can tighten them up a bit if need arises.

M, that's it! I checked with an old knob and the mechanism rubs against the door. What sort of cretinous design is that?