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Hinged screen door locks - handed?

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  1. #1
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    Default Hinged screen door locks - handed?

    I have a couple of doors that annoy me because to open them you have to turn the handle the wrong way. That is you have to lift the end of the handle up instead of pushing it down. The lock bodies appear to have been installed upside down.

    The one door is a hinged screen/security door, while the other is a metal door with glass panes, but the locks fitted are identical. The exposed side of the lock body is stamped "MK II". Apparently there was such a thing as MK II Whitco Tasman screen door lock, but I don't know if that is what they are, as I do not see any obvious brand name anywhere on them.

    I looked to see if it would be possible to get the handles to operate in the traditional way. If I install the lock body the right way around, I would have to reposition the striker plate because the lock bolt is not in the centre of the lock body. That would be a bit of a nuisance, but no big deal. The bigger problem is that if I install the lock body the right way up then it seems I would be forced to put the snib on the outside of the door - not good.

    I see that one of the features of the current Whitco Tasman locks is that they "suit either left or right hand opening doors". From that I am guessing that some screen door locks come in left and right handed versions, and that perhaps the locks currently fitted are ones like that. Maybe somebody only had "wrong handed" locks available and hence the kludge of mounting them upside down.

    Is there really such a thing as a left or right handed lock, and if so can anything be done to them to change their "handedness" (or whatever it should be called)?

  2. #2
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    I had a look at another screen door lock which is similar but with a plainer style of handle. The exposed side of the lock body of this other one also has "MK II" on it and I found it has "Made in Australia by Whitco" on one of the other sides, so it must be one of those Whitco Tasman locks. The troublesome lock I looked at had some sort of tape on one side which may have been covering lettering like that, so it could well also be one of those Tasman locks.

    The lock I looked at now does indeed seem to be reversible, the difference being that the handles are not captive in the escutcheon plates, so they can be swapped around. I will need to double check the annoying locks when I get the chance, but I don't think the handles can be easily removed from the the escutcheon plates.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Take the handles off and have a look generally they can be reversed

  4. #4
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    I had another look at the two offending doors, and found I was wrong about them being identical, the lock bodies are the same, but the handles are different.

    The handles of one of them (the one I first pulled apart to look at) are captive in the escutcheon plates, so I don't think I can reverse them. At least, not without taking the handle mechanism apart and that is held together by some sort of internal star washer that clips in a groove, and I don't know how to get that washer off without destroying it in the process.

    The handles of the other one, however, are like the ones on the third door I looked at they can be slipped out of the escutcheon plates. For this door, I have no idea why they were installed the way they were, but I should be able to turn that lock the right way round and get the handles to work in the usual direction.

    I think I may have a solution for the other one too. The third door I looked at, which has the lock the right way around, happens to open the other way, so I don't see why I cannot use the set of non-reversible handles on that door, and use the handles from that door to sort out the other backwards one. At least, that is the theory - I will give it a go tomorrow.

  5. #5
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    If these are the ones that have the perforated pushed on washer they are easy enough to take off with a screwdriver
    and push back on.
    I have replaced the springs inside which causes the handles to sag and if you put them on the wrong way they will
    work in reverse like your problem.

  6. #6
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    Those retaining washers must be pushed on, but I wouldn't call them perforated. Having said that, I'm not sure what the correct name for them is. I turned up similar looking things called "Starlocks" or "Internal Cup Star washers". Before I got the idea of swapping the non-reversible handles to the door which opens the other way, I had a bit of a go at getting one of the retaining washers off, but I could not get it to budge.

    In any event, I managed to replace the non-reversible handles and invert the lock they were on, so that it now works in the expected direction.. There was a bit of a complication because the non-reversible handles were on the door with the glass panes, and that door is about 40mm thick, which is about double the thickness of a typical screen door, and the shaft on the snib on the other handles was too short to engage with the lock. So, I had to make an extension for the shaft to get the snib to work.

    I have not tackled the other door yet, but I don't expect any complications there (famous last words).

  7. #7
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    I did a bit more Googling to see if I could find out what those retaining washers are called.

    I found one page that confirmed the (trade?) name Starlock, but also gave Quicklock, Grifaxe, and also something like "Benzine Ring Washer". I'm not 100% sure of the last one there because the page I found was in French, but it would be a pretty appropriate name as the drawing showed one with six internal teeth - looking not unlike some depictions of the hexagonal benzine molecule. I didn't count the teeth on the one I tried to remove but I sort-of think there were more than six - it probably depends on the diameter of the washer.

    The name Quicklock got me to this web page: Quicklock Fixing Washers . That was of interest to me because a drawing there shows such a washer being used on a shaft which does not even have a groove around it, yet they say "Once fixed in a position they are so secure that they cannot normally be removed without destruction", which was certainly my impression of the one I was trying to get off.

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