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Somehow the screw holding the handle of my outdoor faucet - the type you connect a garden hose to- came loose, and my faucet handle detached from the stem of the faucet.

Normally this is the type of thing where I’d just go down to the hardware store and find a replacement screw by going down the screw aisle and finding the right size by trial and error. However, it so happens that COVID-19 is exploding in my area, so I’m loathe to incur extra risk for something so trivial. Even more since I can still operate my faucet with the handle, I just have to take it on and off every time (I’ve already lost it in my bushes once..)

So, I want to just order a replacement pack of screws, which can’t be more than a couple of bucks to have delivered. I just need to know what size screw.

Top of handle

Bottom of handle Valve stem with tape measure for scale

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    It would probably be helpful if you showed a picture of the faucet stem instead of just the faucet handle. Afterall that is what the needed screw will be inserted into.
    – Michael Karas
    Jul 13, 2020 at 9:06
  • There is absolutely no sense of scale there. Even including a ruler/tape measure would help to know the diameter of the hole, but you really need to know the thread pitch, too
    – FreeMan
    Jul 13, 2020 at 11:20
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    My apologies. I've added a picture of the valve stem, with a tape measure next to it for scale. Sorry I can't get the tape measure perfectly across the opening, the faucet is actually rather hard to reach and I have to contort myself to get to it in the best of times.
    – dpw
    Jul 13, 2020 at 15:13
  • Wow, that looks bigger than the garden hose spigot I presumed it to be, more like a gate valve. Is there a pipe-size stamp on the side of the valve body? I think you might try 1/4-20, 1/4-28, or a metric screw of similar size. Jul 13, 2020 at 22:47

4 Answers 4

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Different brands and types use different screw sizes and threads. A "variety pack" probably would be your best bet under the circumstances you describe.

I will say that if you get 6-32, 8-32, and 10-24 x 3/8" and 1/2" long round head brass machine screws you have a pretty good chance of one of them fitting.

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  • I had thought of a variety pack. I was hoping for something more likely to be successful on the first go.
    – dpw
    Jul 13, 2020 at 15:17
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Order a tube of super glue, and wait out the pandemic. the glue should hold it for a few months at-least.

If you have a second identical faucet take a photo of the screw along with a measuring scale and someone here can probably tell you what size you have.

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For the record, my faucet handle was fastened with a #10-32 x 3/8 screw.

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  • Thanks for posting your own answer; you can accept it by clicking the green checkmark. Nov 23, 2020 at 21:31
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Create a square cross-section stick that will easily screw into the stem hole. Use some very soft wood, such as a match stick, or cheap paint stirring paddle.

Then you can gently turn the squared stick into the threaded stem and create an impression of the threads just on the square corners.

Unscrew the stick and count how many threads per inch (or per half-inch and double the count).

If too large, trim the soft wood on a cutting board with a sharp knife, or use sandpaper.

The idea is to trim it enough so that it cannot get tight and break.

Find which 1/4, 10, or 8 gauge nut (with appropriate thread pitch) will fit on the match stick. You may also hold the match stick beside various machine screws.

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