Wooden Door Handle Test Apparatus! Fun & Interesting
This one was mostly for fun, but it does help to illustrate a point. In my wooden cabinet door handle video, I got a few comments questioning how strong the joint is between the spruce handle part and the standoffs. Most were convinced that the handle will not stand up to regular use, since this joint is just glued.
Since a lot of force is not needed to open a regular cabinet door, I figured the glue joint would work just fine, and that’s why I didn’t add any other mechanical connection. I always avoid overbuilding or over complicating projects when I can, and I draw on my years of experience doing this to base my judgement on. Experience is the key, since it’s the best way to learn how strong a joint needs to be for a given purpose.
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to rig up a mechanism to test how well the handle holds up to repeated open and close cycles. As it turns out, a lot better than even I expected.
First up, here’s the video:
I didn’t want to spend a lot of time or use up a bunch of material on this, so I built the rig with a one time use in mind, keeping it as simple as possible. I started with a strip of plywood to hold the drill that would drive the mechanism. It wasn’t quite wide enough, so I added a block:
To keep it vertical, I cut a couple of pieces of plywood to go on either side of the handle and screwed those on:
To precisely adjust the speed, I put a machine screw through to press on the drills trigger. And to clamp the drill in the holder, I just drove a screw through to pull the plywood pieces on either side of the handle together:
The linkage between the drill and the door was next, and I used strips of scrap 1/2″ plywood. To attach the arm to the drill, I used a 1/4″ bolt, washer and lock nut to make an axle:
The knuckle between the arm and the link is just a 1-1/2″ screw with a pair of washers between. Again, keeping this build as simple as I can, given that it will only be used one time.
To avoid (or try to avoid…) damaging the handle, I used a piece of rubber hose to attach it to the link. I originally used screws to fasten the hose, but changed that to tape, thinking it will break away easier if something goes wrong:
I could then set it up and try it out:
After a rough start, the rig did work and I ran it for a total of about 20 minutes. I did have to shorten the arm a bit, to shorten the stroke (it was just too violent, as shown in the video), but overall I think it put more than a years use on the handle in that very short time.