Old door knobs set screws won't hold!


Old 03-24-18, 12:22 PM
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Old door knobs set screws won't hold!

My 1920 English Tudor has wonderful brass door knobs throughout! But after years of tightening, the secure screws (don't know professional name) no long hold the knob in place for more than a few days! I hope there's a simple fix you might suggest! Any and all answers greatly appreciated!
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Old 03-24-18, 12:59 PM
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Do they tighten down initially and then loosen up? Is there a small "dimple" in the shaft that they seat in when tight?

If it's the first, most likely the threads are just worn in the handle and a dab of clear nail polish on the threads might hold them tight. You can also use a thread locking compound like Loctite...you'd want the blue stuff, not the red.

What you likely have is what's called a "setscrew". They can have a hole in the end for an allen wrench, or they can have a slot for a small flat blade screwdriver. The allens are preferred in most cases, but you need to have easy access to the wrench required.

The other end that contacts the shaft may have a point or a rounded end. Normally the point just digs into the flat part of the shaft and a rounded end sits in a dimple or just tightens against the shaft. Of course, it they are very old it may be hard to tell exactly what they were originally. You should be able to find stainless or regular steel at any home center or most hardware stores. If they are brass, likely you'll need to visit a locksmith or a specialty fastener store. That's only if they require replacement of course.
Old 03-24-18, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: North East Kingdom of Vermont
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I'd agree with the GunGuy, and I'd venture that the screws were Brass and that the shaft is Steel, so that the intent was that the brass be the sacrificial material . . . . and 95% of the wear has occurred on the threads of the Brass Screws. You'll probably be able to ascertain that the steel threads are still like new while the brass threads have borne the brunt of a century's usage.

In my experience, the key to resolving the matter is to get the thread size correct first, by taking one of the steel shafts to a full service hardware store and have them size the thread diameter and pitch for you so that you can then go shopping for the appropriate Brass Set Screws . . . . as far as diameter, pitch, length and head shape is concerned, Price is the least of your concerns when you find the correct item . . . . and then you can buy the correct number knowing that you have the correct brass item.
Old 03-24-18, 03:56 PM
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Thanks so much, GunGuy45 and Vermont. I'm a retired TV Producer with NO MECHANICAL ability. (Just figured out the principal of the hammer last month) What I love most about the Forum is the details and clear information that frame the answers. At 80 I'm learning things I never suspected. Thank you so much, Guys and Gals for your patience and excellent skills.


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