Imprisoned in my sitting room

I was relaxing in my sitting room when I decided to go to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. Automatically, my hand extended to the brass handle and levered it downwards. Imagine my incomprehension as I felt no resistance at all as the handle was depressed. I tried again and again; it was not connecting with the catch. The door should have opened in, towards me. Suddenly, the fact dawned upon me that I was potentially a prisoner in my own sitting room!

A series of possibilities flashed through my mind. I thought about   kicking through one of the door panels or smashing a window in order to make my escape, but both of these options would have been expensive. Then I mentally kicked myself and remembered that there was a second door that we keep permanently shut, behind a large armchair. I squeezed round the chair and managed to open this door, moved out into the hallway, and finally forced the recalcitrant lock from the other side.

I fetched a screwdriver and took off the brass surround. On inspection, I found that the square metal spindle barely protruded through to the handle section on the inside face of the door and that the corners had become worn down with repetitive use over the years. At first I could not think of a way to fix this.

Spindle protrudes insufficiently

I tried pushing the square bar more fully into the inside handle mechanism and turning the lever; it worked, the spindle rotated. If the door was less thick, I could get the handle to work again, but I didn’t want to start digging bits of wood out of the door. The focus of the problem therefore switched to the length of the spindle, not the thickness of the door: how could I make the spindle longer?

Sawn dowel peg as extender

I went out to my garage workshop and pottered about. In the back of my mind I was thinking about a ball bearing or a small metal nut. Unfortunately, I could not find one that would fit the cavity of the outside brass handle. I then hit upon the idea of dropping a sawn off bit of a wooden dowling peg down the hole. In other words, I was not going to make the spindle longer, but I would force its position to change in a fashion that would be functionally equivalent to its extension. I sawed the peg, dropped it in the hole, gave the mechanism a squirt of WD40 for good measure, and reassembled it. My dear blogophiles, it worked! I felt very pleased with myself. Speak to you later.

A functional handle, once more

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