Jill of All Trades fixes loose door handles

This week, our Jill of All Trades, Jill Washburn, shows us how to fix loose door handles on hollow core doors.  

Many of us have hollow core (meaning they're not solid wood) bi-fold doors on our closets. Jill says it's difficult to keep those knobs tightened because you can only tighten them so much before it starts to damage the door. On the flip side, the handles on Jill's doors had been loose for so long that their movement had loosened the screw holes and damaged the face of the doors around the knobs. Time for a Jill of All Trades fix!

Jill started by assembling the tools and materials she'd need, a 1 ¼ inch paddle bit for her drill, a drill bit the same diameter as the screw from your knob, a flexible flush-cut saw, some 1 ¼" dowel, some 2" lattice board trim and some wood glue. Next, release the door from its track, so that you can get access to the back of it. Now, on to the repair.  

First, Jill removed the existing knob and screw. The she used the paddle bit to cut a hole on the back side of the door. Jill cautions to be careful to center the hole over the existing screw hole and to be careful to only cut the back side of the door. Once you've done that, push the dowel through the hole until it's touching the back side of the front of the door. Now, take the flexible saw and cut off the excess dowel.

Next, you want to remove the piece of dowel that you just cut. Jill says that you may have to push it back through from the from with a nail or screw. Now take your lattice trim and cut off a 2" length, so that you have a small square. (It doesn't have to be exact. Nobody's going to see it.) Now, take your regular drill bit and drill a hole down through the center of the short piece of dowel that you just cut (from cut side to cut side), and drill another hole through the center of your small square. Now you're ready to put it all together!

Put your wood glue on one side of your wood square, and both cut ends of the dowel. Feed the screw for your knob through the wood square, keeping the unglued side to the head of the screw. Then put the screw through the piece of dowel. Feed the dowel back into the hole you just cut in the back of the door. Jill says that it'll be a tight fit. Push it through until the dowel touches the back of the front part of the door. Your wood square should now be flush up against the back of the door. Now, just wipe any excess glue off the end of the screw and replace your knob, tightening it all the way down.  

Put your door back on track and you are good to go! Problem solved… for good! Jill says that once you master the process, you can make this repair in a few minutes. She went through her house and did all ten bi-fold doors!

PROJECT RATING:  Medium + (depending on your experience level)

To watch Jill take you through the process, click on the video player above.