Simple plumbing question -- need help fairly soon

I am trying to repair my bathtub faucet handles. The problem is that one handle, the cold one, will not stay attached no matter what. On closer examination, it turns out that the valve or whatever, onto which the handle is attached, has a hole for a screw on the hot side, but not on the cold. On the cold side, it’s just a solid shaft that is fluted/knurled to mesh with the teeth on the inside of a handle. However, without the screw that goes in through the center and holds the knob on, it just won’t stay.

My question: Can I use a pointy wood screw, and cut a hole for the screw into that shaft, to keep the handle on?

Or will I end up flooding the bathroom?

I don’t think that one side has a hole for a screw and the other side doesn’t. I think the other side where you don’t think there is a hole has a screw broken off in it. Look more closely.

No, honestly and definitely, it doesn’t have a hole. I am 100% certain. It is verrrrry old and hinky beyond belief.

Then don’t drill it. Get some two part epoxy and glue it on… permanently.

Maybe someone did to the hot side what you are planning to do for the cold side, and made the hole…

Personally, i would carefully take the faucet apart, probably time to repack it anyways.
and Carefully drill and tap the shaft for a small machine screw.

It may have originally been press fit

Rather than drilling and tapping for a screw, I’d replace the valve stem with a standard one. Take off both the hot and cold valve stems and bring them to a good plumbing supply house. They should be able to supply a cold stem with the screw hole that matches the hot stem.

A value stem without a screw hole to attach the handle? … obviously this is the case with the OP but that sure is the strangest thing I’ve ever heard of … buy a new valve stem with a screw hole to attach the handle …

Typically, you’ll need to turn off the house’s water supply entirely … unless there’s a separate shut-off value for the bathtub (which isn’t common) … and leave the water off until the repair is done …

[smile] … and don’t forget the actual screw for the screw hole … or you’ll be off to the hardware store again …

My god I’ve hated those type of faucet knobs/assemblies for most of my life, I refuse to use them, always wind up with a pair of locking pliers on one of the valve stems (to turn it on and off). That being said, I’ve never heard of there not being a hole for the screw. My vote is also to just get a new valve stem, shut the water supply off, grab the supply pipe with one pair of pliers and valve stem base with another and twist it off, put a new one on. Quick job and cheap. Probably much less effort than the doomed to failure method of drilling a hole into the tip of the valve stem. I can see many ways how that will likely end badly and you’ll have to replace it anyway. Best of luck.

Or gorilla glue, just a dab. It’ll be like putting a band aid on a broken leg, but it’ll buy you some time.

I’m going to recommend not gluing the handle back on … sure, it’ll serve for the short term, but then what? … valve seats and washers need to be replaced more often than the entire valve assembly … glue the handle on and never again can you repair the valve assembly, once it starts leaking (and it will start leaking) you’ll be replacing the entire enclosure//bathroom floor//drain//wiring//windows//doors//etc//etc//etc …

ETA: I know the handle won’t stay on// but it will stay on long enough to turn the water on or off … maybe the fix here is more expensive than the hassle?

When did this happen? And how come nobody told me?

Can you upload a picture of the faucet? It might be worth going to a real plumbing supply store and ask them what they think. It’s often easy to replace the whole valve stem.

If you remove the valve stem, be sure to turn off the water to the house first if the faucet does not have it’s own cutoff valve. If you just pull it out, water is likely to come spewing out at full blast.

It was in my last newsletter … don’t you have a subscription? …