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Fixing Loose Door Knobs

If you live in an old home, as well as loving old things, you probably know from personal experience that EVERYTHING in an old house is old. Sounds obvious, I know… but that means that every piece of plaster is old, every window lock is old, all the cupboards are old, and much of the wiring will be old. Every time a tradesman comes to fix something, you’ll be reminded of how old absolutely everything is! When door knobs get old, they get loose. I have lived with countless knobs that you have to know the trick for to be able to open them. But only because I never before knew how to fix a loose doorknob!

Old door knobsMost of you with door knobs through us will have mortise locks – these are the more likely type to be jiggly because they are the older type. The problem with mortice locks is usually that the knob itself is loose. However the blessing of mortise locks is that they are relatively easy to fix! Basically, the knob has an internal thread which locks onto the threaded end of the spindle, which goes from one side of the door to the other. A setscrew on the sleeve of the knob (between the door and the part you grip) holds the knob onto the spindle so that they turn together.

  • First, undo the grub screw on one side of the door knob. You may need a screwdriver or a hex wrench. You may need to undo one side before being able to access the grub screw on the other … look at both sides before you throw your hands up in disgust!
  • Once this is off, unscrew the knob from the spindle. Look at the grub screw on the other side and make sure it is tight.
  • Turn the knob still on the door so that the flat side of the spindle is facing upwards. Hold the knob firmly against the trim of the handle while you thread the other handle back on.
  • Make sure the knob you replaced is in contact with the trim but isn’t too tight.
  • If you push the grub screw in loosely and then turn the knob slowly, you should be able to feel when there is a flat face of the spindle contacting the grub screw’s end. Screw in the grub screw until it is very tight.
  • If you want to adjust the knob’s resting position, repeat the above operation but turn the back knob more or less when you are screwing in the grub screw.

Voila! Just unscrew it, and then put it back. Almost too easy…

 
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