I live in an older tenement flat and the doors all have doorknobs like below:

doorknob back

doorknob profile

I don’t think it can be screwed into position on the door / spindle without removing the backplate, as no screwdriver I own can drive straight with the knob in the way.

I’m sure I’m missing something obvious, but how can I detach these so I can screw the plate / assembly onto the door?

  • You need an offset screwdriver. It will have a Phillips on one end and straight slot on the other. Any hardware store will have one. Oct 8, 2019 at 18:19
  • They still make knobs like this. I bought the cheapest possible brand at the home store for somewhat temporary use and was shocked they still made them almost impossible to screw in.
    – JPhi1618
    Oct 8, 2019 at 18:27
  • A good lesson: Rather than asking how you should do a job the way you think it should be done, ask how it actually should be done. That knob doesn't come apart.
    – isherwood
    Oct 8, 2019 at 18:35
  • I figured there would be something like an allan key for cross head screws, but every single video / guide I watched discussed how knob and plate will separate - that is, except for these cheap ones! @isherwood - understand the XY problem, had just hoped in this case there’d be an ‘avoid another Amazon purchase’ alternative I’d missed. Oct 8, 2019 at 19:53
  • use a flexible shaft screwdriver
    – jsotola
    Oct 9, 2019 at 1:28

2 Answers 2


I've used an offset screwdriver for similar cases like this. Even if you did disassemble the doorknob from the plate it would be impossible to re assemble it after screwing in the plate.

Try one of these:

enter image description here


A fresh Phillips bit and the necessary angle, plus firm pressure, will do the job. Go slowly and watch for slip so you don't damage your screws. A rag or cardboard scrap on the knob will prevent finish damage. I've installed hundreds this way, and I'm fussy about them being secure.

Other options:

  • A Phillips insert bit with a 1/4" box wrench
  • A flexible bit driver

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