What is a cockspur handle?
A cockspur handle can be found on the older uPVC or aluminium double glazed windows where the handle turns onto a wedge shaped block to close the window (not to be confused with timber window handles where the nose of the handle closes into a block - see the window latches section in that case). Other types of window handles are also available.
How do I get the handle off the window?
It is very simple. There are 4 screws (sometimes 3) and these are usually hidden under some cover caps which can be prised off the handle. They are usually quite discrete so you may have to use a sharp implement to prise the covers off to reveal the screw or rivet heads. Keep the screws as they will be the correct length and type for your replacement handles (new repair ones can be ordered for a small charge).
If you have rivets instead of screws (heads with a round hole in the middle) then you will need a little DIY skill to remove and replace the handle. Removing the handle with rivets can be done by drilling the heads off the rivet (about the size of the head for the drill bit and the rivet will fall away) and replacement will require you to re-rivet the handle. You can get a small hand gun and a bunch of rivets from a major DIY store for approx £10-£15. Rivets are found on aluminium frames mostly and you will not be able to replace with screws because the frames are too thin to hold a thread.
What do I need to know to order a cockspur window handle? (see our Guide to cockspur handles)
The main thing to consider with cockspur window handles is the step height. This is the gap beneath the nose of the handle and is important to ensure that the handle pulls the window just tight enough to close and stop draughts. There is probably half a dozen different sizes of step heights available for these handles (some more popular than others). If you find the exact same size then replacement is easy. If you can't find the correct step height then you can adjust the handle by using a thicker or thinner wedge block to compensate for this. The picture should explain it:
It is also worth making some other quick checks as older windows can throw up some unusual variations. The 4 fixings are generally pitched on 38mm and 58mm centres (from centre to centre) although some are 38/62mm. Also, check the handing of the handle i.e. handles that open clockwise are left handed and anti-clockwise opening is right handed. Typical 4 fixing positions are shown in this picture:
I still don't understand step heights and the handle I ordered doesn't fit!
Here are a few examples;
If your handle step height measures 15mm and there isn't a handle with this size then measure the wedge at its thickest point (you can prise the wedge from the window with a sharp implement) - see the picture here:
If the wedge is 5mm thick then you could use a 12mm handle with a 2mm wedge (the step size of the handle has reduced by 3mm from 15mm so the wedge must reduce too by 3mm).
In a separate example, if you want to use the W10 handle (available in 9mm and 21mm step heights) and your current handle is 17mm step height with a 4mm wedge then you could use the 21mm handle and increase your current wedge by 4mm to 8mm.
What size wedges are available and how do I order them?
The following sizes are available; 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8, 10, 12mm. You can order them at a special rate of £0.12 each + VAT for each handle you buy. These will be on the same page as the handle you are buying.
Wedges are fairly standard in design and have two lugs (pips) that are spaced 31mm apart (centre to centre). The new wegdes can be pushed straight onto the window in the same way the other ones come off.
How do I know if my handle is right-handed or left-handed?
Right handed - the handles open anti-clockwise and left handed open clockwise. All the pictures of cranked handles shown on the website are shown as right handed but you can order either option when purchasing.
My cockspur handle also has a spindle attached to it, what now?
Well there are some cockspur handles like this and you need to visit the Cockspag handles here: Cockspag window handles
What can I use to clean the handles?
Care should be applied when cleaning handles.
Window handles can often be cleaned with a soft dry cloth. If further cleaning is needed use a mild solution of warm, soapy water on a soft cloth and dry thoroughly afterwards.
To prolong the serviceable life of the handle, care must be taken not to scratch or damage the surfaces of the handle. Do not use wire wool or scouring agents.