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These cockspur handles can be found on upvc windows, aluminium windows or timber windows and so these need to be dealt with differently as each has its own nuances. In the case of the timber window we will treat this separately under the Window Latches section. The general preface is that they are oldest type of fastener to be used on windows and probably the simplest and easiest to understand. The handle design involves a nose which provides the basis of an interlock with a receiver.
UPVC Cockspur Handle
This type of handle is distinguished mostly by the different sizes for what we call Step Height. This is the size under the nose of the handle back to the base of the handle.
When selecting a cockspur handle for a upvc window you need to check two important criteria:
Cockspur Handle Fixing Centres
There is some standardisation here for upvc type windows so when looking to buy cockspur handles the odds are it will be the 38/58mm sizes you need.
Most handles have four fixing positions although some have three and some two.
Four fixing screw handles
Two types to look out for include the inner most sizes being 38mm between centres and 58mm between the outer centres. You will also find a 38/62mm arrangement as well but 80% of them are the 38/58mm sizes.
Three fixing screw handles
Only one type is known to exist being the Cotswold cockspur handle and fortunately this lines up across the 38/58mm positions of the more popular ones above. The fourth hole will remain hidden under the handle when fixed to the window.
Two fixing screw handles
If you have these then you are most likely to have what is known as a cockspag handle. This is a hybrid handle between a cockspur and an espag handle (a cockspur with a spindle). The fixings will be 43mm across the centres. This discussed in more detail separately.
Watch the very short video above to show how to measure the step height
Cockspur Handle Step Height
Over the years we have seen all kinds of sizes and it is important to get this aspect right. If you can therefore find the same step height handle it is then a straightforward replacement in one easy step. Typically you will find that a uPVC window uses a 21mm step size but this is only on the most recent cockspur designs so be aware this can be very different on older windows.
If you can't find the same step height handle then all is not lost as you can generally change the little plastic wedge shaped block to a different size. The wedge blocks come in all different sizes from 2mm upto 12mm in 1mm increments so you should be able to compensate the difference when purchasing a cockspur handle with a different step height.
We refer to a wedge in the dialogue above and this is just the receiver catch, or striker, that allows the nose of the cockspur to close across and pull the window in to a closure. If you do it correctly then you will seal the window snugly against draughts.
Wedges are just a block of plastic shaped like a ramp and you measure the overall thickness when deciding which size you need. To replace the wedge all you need to do is prise the existing one off the window and then push the new one back into place via two little 'pips' or lugs that are a tight fit. The standard fixing size between the lugs is 31mm centres so you will generally find this is the case with most but not all wedges as some are very different, but fortunately rare.
So when you can't get the same step height handle and you need to change the wedge block to a different size this is how you work it out.
Question: My current handle has a step height of 17mm and the wedge on my handle is 5mm thick. What size handle and wedge do I need?
Answer: You can use a 21mm step height handle and will need a 9mm wedge.
Question:My handle has a step height of 9mm and a wedge of 5mm. What size wedge do I need?
Answer:Handles are available with a 9mm step size so need to change the wedge (wedge can be changed for the same size if required).
Aluminium Cockspur Window Handle
This section is easy as everything you have read above under the uPVC cockspur handle applies to the aluminium window handle as well. The one major thing to note is that the step size of the handle is almost always 9mm and the wedge 5mm.
Summary: Cockspur handles are popular on upvc, aluminium and timber windows. UPVC and aluminium use the wedge block fixing wheras the timber window is a catch. Cockspur handles for upvc and aluminium windows tends to be consistent in terms of replacement fixing positions, but step sizes of the handles can be different (although a 9mm handle is almost always used on aluminium windows).