I recently received an email from Steve Needy, who maintains the beautiful and recently-renovated Peabody Opera House in downtown St. Louis. During the renovation, many of the original (1932) LCN 206 concealed closers were rebuilt and reinstalled. Steve’s problem was that the spring power made some of the doors difficult for some visitors to open, particularly the restroom doors. Steve asked me how to adjust the closers or if that was even possible.
Well, 1932 was well before my time, so I attempted to hunt down the information through various channels. I checked with LCN of course, and was able to get some catalog information but no written installation/adjustment instructions. I emailed door closer expert Jess, who knew all about the LCN 206 and gave me the tip that it required a special adjustment wrench. I checked with Neil Scully at New England Door Closer, and he had a box of the adjusting wrenches! But alas, after speaking with the repair department at LCN and the shop foreman at NEDC, the adjustment wrench was for adjusting the general speed and latch speed, but not the spring power. I guess back in 1932 reduced opening force was not a big concern.
So what would you do? Existing concealed closers on a historically significant building where aesthetics are important…not an easy one to solve.
Here are some photos Steve sent to me, including the old closers, the adjusting wrench (thanks Neil!), and some of the Peabody Opera House doors (not all of them have the 1932 closers). Any ideas?