Many replacement door handle knobs come with a screw built-in. Some have it glued, but I don't think this is the case for the one in the photo.

I want to remove that screw, to reuse another one I already have in the wardrobe. Otherwise, I'd need to shorten the screw for 16 different knobs...

Is there a tool to help unscrew the screw? I tried it with pliers, but they're not strong enough and are just destroying/chipping the screw...

Door knob plus screw Door knob plus screw

  • 9
    I'd strongly suggest getting used to the idea that you'll be cutting 16 screws, and possibly buying a 17th knob after you break one while trying to remove the screw from it....
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 12:20
  • Yeah... after reading all the replies, I won't cut them anymore... Oh well, time to shorten them... Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 15:01

4 Answers 4


Do not remove these, they are glued in. Removing them without breaking the knobs will be difficult, and then you'll have nothing to screw back into. You can't screw into the ceramic knob. You'll have to glue new threaded rods into the knobs you didn't break.

These knobs are meant to be held to the cabinet by nuts from the back of the door or drawer. If they didn't come with nuts, take one to a hardware store and buy them. You can buy matching brass nuts, or ones with built-in barbed or plastic lock washers, or put two nuts on each one.

enter image description here

If they are too long they are very eaasy to cut with a $10 hacksaw. They are soft brass. Thirty seconds to saw each one, and you won't break the knobs that way. It would be easy to saw them to length after they are installed but then you'll get brass dust all over everything in and around the cabinets so I suggest you install one, mark its length, then (see commments) cut them all outside after checking the length of each one.

  • 5
    Or, depending on the doors/drawers they're going into, mark each one individually to ensure that each is long enough. It's possible that doors will be different thicknesses than drawer fronts so the lengths will need to be different.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 13:38
  • 1
    Good point, there are lots of reasons they can be different thicknesses (repairs, replacements, renovations) and the drawers especially can be double thick if pretty fronts are attached to plain boxes.
    – jay613
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 13:42
  • 2
    Thanks for accepting this answer, specifically on not destroying your knobs, but please see @Tetsujin's answer for some good ideas on how to cut them and ideas for nuts that look better.
    – jay613
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 15:05

If the screw will not unscrew, then the screw may not be threaded in the handle.

Some handles are cast around the shank - which is often flattened and serrated to fix into the handle with little chance of it turning or slipping. If the handle is not cast, then a strong glue or resin can be used to fix it, which also means it is extremely difficult to remove.

So, instead of pliers, which damages the threads, lock two nuts together (You lock the nuts together by tightening one against the other. one spanner and a pair of pliers or two spanners needed or clamp one nut in a vice) on the thread then use a spanner to turn it.

If the double nut does not work then you will be shortening the threads - a grinder or dremel is quick and easy. Even a hacksaw... Tidying up the thread after cutting is best done with a thread file, but a triangular file can also be used. Winding a nut off and on is a (poor) substitute as it leaves sharp edges and burrs which can easily cut you.

  • Good idea. I'll try that. Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 11:25
  • How do I lock the nuts on the thread? So that when I move them, I don't just move the nuts (because that's what's happening at the moment... Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 11:33
  • @JohnAssymptoth You lock the nuts together by tightening one against the other. one spanner and a pair of pliers or two spanners needed or clamp one nut in a vice...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 11:45
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    Note, if you end up going the "cut the stud short" route, thread a nut on first, all the way to the knob. Then you can use the nut to clean up the threads at the cut as you unthread it—wind it partially off, then back on several times before you remove the nut entirely.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 13:15
  • 3
    Putting the nut where you want to cut the thread and using the nut as a guide for the hacksaw can help you get a nice square cut and can help keep the threads cleaner as you cut, plus has the "clean up the threads as you remove the nut" advantage noted above. It might still need a bit of filing to remove the sharp burrs.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 13:29

Alternative nuts idea.
You still need to cut the thread to length - as in comments you do this by running two nuts up the thread to the desired cut-point, nipping them together & using as a saw guide. Turn the thread over 3/4 of the way through to avoid the edge burring on the last stroke.

Then 2 choices…
Dome nuts which will give a smooth if protruding finish, or
My old favourites, barrel nuts - which may require pre-drilling the door from the inside first to the depth of the barrel.

Dome nut…
enter image description here

Barrel nuts, countersunk & shallow dome…
enter image description here enter image description here

A dab of superglue on the end of each thread before you fasten it up ought to be enough to hold a door handle solid for years, whilst neing easy enough to break away should you need to. I don't see the need for a dedicated thread-lock on something like this, unless you happen to have some handy.

  • 1
    A countersunk barrel nut is a pretty idea. Please don't tell my wife or I'll be spending the next two weeks replacing every cabinet screw in the house! The only issue with this (your second) suggestion is OP would have to enlarge and countersink every hole ... not difficult but makes the project a lot busier and messier. Also OP note you would have to cut the pre-installed screws "too short", ending inside the front.
    – jay613
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 14:59
  • DOme nut... I was looking for that term. I'll probably also add that. Thanks. Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 14:59
  • @JohnAssymptoth, they're often called "Acorn nuts" in the US.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 15:30

I think an easier way to cut the bolts is to use wire strippers. They have built in bolt shears and they usually make very clean, level cuts which don't take much (if any) work to clean up. I've done this many times for knobs like yours.

For example: these from Home Depot but basically any will do the trick. enter image description here

  • 2
    OMG that's what those holes are for!? I can't wait to get home and go try out shearing some screws!
    – nitsua60
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 2:43
  • @nitsua60 Careful; I've tried using those to cut small bolts and found bits of metal got stuck inside the tool and permanently ruined it. Fortunately, it was a very cheap tool and not my favorite of the ones in my toolbox to begin with.
    – Hearth
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 5:44
  • @Hearth that is a common fault with the cheap copies of those tools - I have a very old pair of those and they still cut the bolts well. But I paid for them...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 12:49

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