Title:
Apparatus and method for affixing veneer to the crown of a golf club
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to apparatus and methods for affixing a veneer to the crown of a golf club head so as to give the golf club head the appearance of being a classic wood club head when viewed from the ball address position, but having the advantages of technically advanced materials. A veneer inlay is adhered to the recession in the crown of a Wood whereby the recession is filled by the veneer inlay, or a veneer is adhered to the crown of a golf club head.



Inventors:
Tinney, Stephen H. (Beaverton, OR, US)
Application Number:
10/133943
Publication Date:
07/17/2003
Filing Date:
04/25/2002
Assignee:
TINNEY STEPHEN H.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B53/04; B27D1/00; B44C3/12; B44C5/00; B44C5/04; B44F9/02; (IPC1-7): A63B53/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PASSANITI, SEBASTIANO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Christopher J. Lewis (Suite 1920 1211 S.W. Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR, 97204-3713, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A golf club head comprising: a top surface; a face; a bottom surface; a side wall; the top surface, the face, the bottom surface and side wall defining an interior cavity; a pre-cut veneer inlay; a recession in the top surface, defined by a peripheral upstanding edge, the veneer inlay inlaid in the recession and adhered to the top surface, and as adhered, the veneer inlay filling the recession, the veneer inlay bordered by the upstanding edge, the adhered veneer inlay having a thickness substantially the same as or less than the depth of the recession in the top surface.

2. The golf club head of claim 1, wherein the veneer inlay is a wood veneer.

3. The golf club head of claim 1 further comprising: an adhesive layer between the top surface and the veneer; and a protective finish on the top surface of the veneer.

4. The golf club head of claim 2 wherein the protective finish encroaches at least partially on the peripheral upstanding edge.

5. A method of affixing a veneer to the compound curved top surface of a golf club head comprising: providing a veneer having a surface area at least equal to or larger than the surface area of the top surface of the golf club; treating the veneer to make the veneer pliable; adhering the veneer to the top surface of the golf club; trimming the excess veneer such that the edge of the veneer is substantially flush with or inside a periphery defined by the edge of the top surface of the golf club head.

6. The method of claim 5 further comprising applying a protective border around the edge of the trimmed veneer and edge of any exposed top surface of the golf club to prevent chipping, dilapidation and to help protect the top surface of the veneer.

7. The method of claim 5 further comprising abrading the top surface of the golf club to enhance adhesion of the veneer to the top surface.

8. The method of claim 5 further comprising the steps of hydrating the top surface of the veneer to make it pliable so the veneer can be formed over the compound curve of the top surface of the golf club without splitting, bubbling, or cracking.

9. The method of claim 5, wherein adhering the veneer to the top surface further comprises: applying adhesive to both the top surface of the golf club and the under surface of the veneer; placing the veneer on the top surface of the golf club; applying pressure to the top surface of the veneer to ensure complete adhesion of the veneer to the top surface of the golf club and to eliminate bubbles in the veneer.

10. The method of claim 5, wherein adhering the veneer to the top surface further comprises: applying adhesive to either the top surface of the golf club or to the under surface of the veneer; placing the veneer on the top surface of the golf club; smoothing the veneer over the compound curved top surface of the golf club head; applying pressure to the veneer until the adhesive has cured to the point where the veneer will not raise, delaminate or bubble.

11. The method of claim 7 further comprising: sanding the top surface of the veneer; and applying a protective finish to the top surface of the veneer.

12. A method of affixing a veneer to the compound curved surface of a golf club comprising: cutting a veneer such that the pre-cut veneer has surface area the same as or less than the surface area of the compound curved top surface of the golf club head; shaping the veneer to substantially conform to the compound curved shape of the top surface of the golf club; and adhering the shaped veneer to the top surface of the golf club head such that the edge of said veneer is substantially flush with or inside the periphery defined by the edge of the top surface of the golf club.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein shaping the veneer further comprises: treating the veneer to make it pliable pressing the veneer into a mold having substantially the same as the shape as the top surface of the golf club; and maintaining pressure on the veneer until the veneer has lost its pliability and retains the substantially same shape as the top surface of the golf club.

14. The method of claim 12 further comprising applying a protective border around the edge of the adhered veneer to prevent chipping, dilapidation and to help protect the top surface of the veneer.

15. The method of claim 12 further comprising abrading the top surface of the golf club to enhance adhesion of the veneer to the top surface.

16. The method of claim 12, wherein adhering the veneer to the top surface of the golf club head further comprises: applying adhesive to either the top surface of the golf club head or to the under surface of the shaped veneer; placing the shaped veneer on the top surface of the golf club head; and applying pressure to the top surface of the shaped veneer until the adhesive has cured to the point where the shaped veneer will not raise or delaminate from the top surface of the golf club.

17. The method of claim 12, wherein adhering the veneer to the top surface further comprises: applying adhesive to both the top surface of the golf club and the under surface of the shaped veneer; placing the shaped veneer on the top surface of the golf club; and applying pressure to the top surface of the shaped veneer to ensure complete adhesion of the veneer to the top surface of the golf club such that the shaped veneer will be free of bubbles and not raise or delaminate from the top surface of the golf club.

18. The method of claim 12 further comprising: sanding the top surface of the veneer; and applying a protective finish to the top surface of the veneer.

19. A method of affixing a veneer to the compound curved surface of a golf club comprising: cutting a veneer such that the veneer has surface area the same as or less than the surface area of the compound curved top surface of the golf club head; treating the veneer to make it pliable; and adhering the veneer to the top surface of the golf club head such that the edge of the veneer is flush with or inside the periphery defined by the edge of the top surface of the golf club head.

20. The method of claim 19 further comprising the step of applying a protective border around the edge of the adhered veneer to prevent chipping, cracking, dilapidation and to help protect the top surface of the veneer.

21. The method of claim 19 further comprising abrading the top surface of the golf club to enhance adhesion of the veneer to the top surface.

22. The method of claim 19, wherein adhering the veneer to the top surface further comprises: applying adhesive to both the top surface of the golf club and the under surface of the veneer; placing the veneer on the top surface of the golf club; applying pressure to the surface of the veneer to ensure complete adhesion of the veneer to the top surface of the golf club.

23. The method of claim 19, wherein adhering the veneer to the top surface further comprises: applying adhesive to either the top surface of the golf club head or to the under surface of the veneer; placing the veneer on the top surface of the golf club head; smoothing the veneer over the compound curved top surface of the golf club head; applying pressure to the veneer until the adhesive has cured to the point where the veneer will not raise, delaminate or bubble.

24. The method of claim 19 where in treating the pre-cut veneer further comprises hydrating the top surface of the veneer to make it pliable so the veneer can be formed over the compound curve of the top surface of the golf club without splitting, bubbling, or cracking.

25. The method of claim 19 further comprising: sanding the top surface of the veneer; and applying a protective finish to the top surface of the veneer.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/348,620, filed Jan. 11, 2002.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention pertains to an apparatus and method for affixing veneers to golf club heads. In particular, the present invention relates to adhering wood and wood-looking veneers to the compound curved top surface of certain golf club heads, known as Woods, and to an accommodating recession in newly manufactured Woods.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0003] Originating in Scotland in the 15th century, golf has been a popular sport played throughout the world. Without going into the details of the game, golf generally requires two pieces of equipment, a golf ball and a golf club. Both the ball and the club have experienced technological improvements throughout the years.

[0004] Golf clubs typically fall into one of two general categories, “Irons” or “Woods.” Irons have a distinctly different shape than Woods, in that they are smaller, more thin and somewhat blade-shaped. Woods, on the other hand, are larger bodied clubs that have a large bottom surface, or sole, and a large top surface, also known in the art as a crown. Woods are typically used when a longer shot is required, such as Driving off the tee. Up through the early 1980's, Woods were primarily carved out of wood. For most of the 19th century, the wood of choice for Woods came from the persimmon tree. Persimmon wood had the necessary characteristics for making a golf club head that would make the ball go farther when struck. Woods, made out of wood, have a classic and timeless look, and are the type of club heads that a significant portion of the golfing population grew up using. Accordingly, the look of a wooden Wood appeals to a number of golfers today.

[0005] As metal alloy and composite material technology developed, Woods began to be manufactured out of materials other than wood, such as titanium and graphite. Metal Woods and composite Woods have allowed golfers of all skill levels to hit the ball longer and are designed such that they allow more room for error, without resulting in an errant shot. Since their introduction, metal Woods have consistently gown in popularity and gained market share. Today, the vast majority of golfers use metal Woods. As such, only small percentage of golfers remain true to the clubs of old and still use Woods made out of wood.

[0006] As much of the golfing population has grown up with wooden Woods, there exists a desire for the classic look of wood golf clubs. The prevailing desire, however, is for metal or composite Woods made out of technically advanced materials, such as titanium, for their delivery of maximum performance. Until now, these desires have been mutually exclusive of one another. As such, it would be advantageous to develop a method and apparatus for making Woods, made out of the latest and technologically advanced materials and yet give them the timeless look of classic wooden golf club heads.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0007] The preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a method for affixing a wood or wood-looking veneer to the compound curved top surface of the non-wood club head, and alternatively includes a non-wood golf club head that has a recessed crown, which is filled with a wood veneer or wood-looking veneer. These and other variations as well as the invention itself will become more readily apparent upon reference to the following detailed description that follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a golf club head depicting a veneer inlaid and adhered to a recession in the crown of a golf club head;

[0009] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the golf club head of FIG. 1 depicting a crown recession adapted to receive the veneer;

[0010] FIG. 3 is a sectional view of a golf club head taken on view lines 3-3 of FIG. 1;

[0011] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the invention depicting a veneer adhered to the top surface of the crown of a golf club;

[0012] FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the golf club head of FIG. 4 as taken on view lines 5-5; and

[0013] FIG. 6 is an enlarged cross section of a portion of the golf club head of FIG. 4 depicting the veneer edge and protective border.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0014] In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, wherein like numerals designate like parts throughout, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural or logical changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. Therefore, the following detailed description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.

[0015] FIG. 1 shows a golf club head, known as a Wood, with a veneer affixed to the top surface of the Wood. A Wood is made up of a top surface or crown 10, a bottom surface or sole 12, a front surface or face 14, and a side and rear band 16. The crown 10, sole 12, face 14 and side and rear band 16 are formed such that they define an interior cavity. The crown 10 is the portion of the club head that the golfer sees when he or she addresses a ball. The crown 10 is typically formed as a compound curve, highest in the center and curving downward and outward toward the edges. The face 14 is the surface that strikes the ball when the golfer swings the club. Sole 12 is the portion of the Wood that is designed to contact the ground when swinging at the ball.

[0016] As discussed in the background section, prior to the introduction of metal and other composite Woods, solid wood golf club heads were the mainstays. The crown 10 of wooden club heads would have the appearance of wood, unless the crown was painted a solid color. Accordingly, the crown of metal Woods either have a metal looking finish or a painted surface. The preferred embodiment of the present invention contemplates affixing a wood veneer 20 to the crown of the non-wood club head, such that the Wood has the appearance of being a classic wood golf club head when viewed from the perspective of the golfer who is addressing the ball prior to hitting.

[0017] FIG. 2 depicts the preferred embodiment of the present invention, where the crown 10 is substantially evenly recessed 22 over a majority of the golf club's crown 10. Recession 22 is designed such that it can accommodate a veneer inlay 20. Recession 22 is bordered by a peripheral edge 26. In the preferred embodiment, recession 22 takes on generally the same compound curved shape as the normal contour of the crown 10 would take without recession 22.

[0018] Peripheral edge 26 can either be part of the crown 10 or defined by the upstanding edges of side and rear band 16 and face 14. One skilled in the art would appreciate that recession 22 can be formed in a number of ways, such as being stamped into the forged crown piece, or carved out of a thicker piece of stock material that becomes the crown. The depth of recession 22 is sized such that it can accommodate the thickness of veneer inlay 20, the adhesive and a protective finish (discussed later with regard to this embodiment), such that the leading edge 28 of peripheral edge 26 is even with or slightly higher than the top of veneer 24. FIG. 3 depicts a sectional view of the golf club head showing the thickness of the adhesive, veneer and finish to be substantially the same thickness as the leading edge 28 of peripheral edge 26 and to maintain the general contour curvature of the crown. This helps protect the veneer inlay 20 from abuse encountered by mis-hits of the ball and bumping against other clubs in the golf bag.

[0019] As shown in FIG. 2, veneer inlay 20 is precut to fit the compound curve of recession 22 of crown 10. In its dry state, veneer inlay 20 is generally flat. Accordingly, the size of veneer inlay 20 must be slightly larger than the lineal dimension of recession 22 to accommodate for the compound curvature of recession 22, such that when veneer inlay 20 is inlaid, it assumes the domed shape of recession 22, forming a tight seam without leaving substantial gaps between peripheral edge 26 and the edge of veneer inlay 20.

[0020] In the preferred embodiment, wood veneer is inlaid into recession 22. In its generally flat and dry state, wood veneer may split or crack when attempting to conform its shape to the compound curve of recession 22. To enable the veneer inlay 20 to be pliable enough to conform to the compound curve of recession 22 without cracking or splitting, veneer inlay 20 can be treated prior to inlay. A variety of treatments are available and known in the art. In the preferred embodiment, the top surface of the wood veneer is hydrated with water such that it can be shaped to conform to the domed shape of recession 22. One skilled in the art would appreciate, however, that the wood veneer can be treated in other ways to make it pliable such as heating, steaming or chemically treating. Once pliable, the veneer is ready for shaping and bonding to the surface of recession 22 and will assume the domed shape of recession 22 with pressure being exerted on veneer inlay 20.

[0021] The veneer inlay 20 can also be pre-shaped to conform to the general compound curvature of recession 22. Being pre-shaped, veneer inlay 20 can be placed on the surface of recession 22 without the need to apply pressure to the perimeter of the veneer inlay 20 to get it to conform to the domed shape of the recession 22 of crown 10. Pre-shaping of the veneer inlay 20 can be completed in a number of ways. For example, once the veneer inlay is cut or stamped out of the veneer stock to the veneer blank size, the blank can be steamed and pressed into a mold or form that has the same general compound curvature of the recession 20. The veneer inlay 20 can then be dried in the mold or form until the veneer inlay retains the shape compound curved shape of recession 22.

[0022] A number of adhesive can be used to adhere veneer inlay 20 to recession 22 depending on the desired bond strength, drying time and compatibility with the veneer material. For wood veneers, contact cement is a compatible material that provides solid adhesion to the surface of recession 22. When using contact cement, material must be applied to the top surface of recession 22 and the under surface of veneer inlay 20. Other adhering materials such as epoxies, urea resin glues, hot melt glues, and a variety of other adhesive and glues can also be used to adhere the veneer to the surface of recession 22. With such materials, only the under side of the veneer 20 or the top surface of recession 22 need be coated with material. Since epoxies and glues typically have a longer set up times, they are preferable to secure veneer inlay 20 into recession 22 because they can be shifted before the adhering material sets up or cures to ensure that the veneer inlay 20 is properly situated in recession 22. Longer setup times, however, may require that a constant pressure be applied to the veneer inlay 20 for a period of time until the bond has sufficiently cured and the veneer inlay 20 will not delaminate from the recession 22 of crown 10.

[0023] After application of the adhering material, veneer inlay 20 can then be inlaid into recession 22 in a manner such that any bubbling or folds are worked out of the veneer by smoothing the veneer, which can include applying pressure in the center area of the veneer inlay 20 and applying pressure in a radial direction or by starting at one side and smoothing the veneer inlay 20 over the compound curved top surface of recession 22 to the other side.

[0024] To improve the bond between the veneer inlay 20 and recession 22, the top surface of recession 22 can be abraded. Abrading the top surface of recession 22 increases the surface bonding area. Though the veneer 20 does not regularly absorb the impact of the golf ball, it will encounter various stresses, including contact with other golf clubs, the ball (when the face of the club goes under the ball), and environments that vary dramatically in temperature and moisture content. Accordingly, the stronger the bond between the veneer inlay 20 and recession 22, the more apt the veneer inlay 20 is to withstand the rigors encountered without delaminating, cracking or splitting.

[0025] Once veneer inlay 20 is adhered to recession 22, the top surface of veneer inlay 20 can be appropriately finished. For wood veneers, finishing should include applying a protective coat to the top surface of veneer inlay 20 to prevent abnormal wear or dilapidation due to exposure to weather extremes and other abuses. As with the adhesives, a variety of materials can be used to provide a protective coating to the veneer inlay 20. In the preferred embodiment, a polyurethane is applied to the top surface of veneer inlay 20, which makes the wood veneers impervious to moisture and helps prevent the effects of sun on the wood. It is preferred that the protective coat material cover the entire surface of veneer inlay 20 and at least contact the inside of peripheral edge 26, allowing the protective coat material to fill or bridge any gaps between the outside edge of veneer inlay 20 and the inside edge of peripheral edge 26. One skilled in the art would appreciate that other protective coat materials can be applied, including linseed oil, tongue oil, varnish, epoxy, deft acrylics and the like.

[0026] As part of applying a finish, the veneer inlay 20 can be stained to give it a darker tint or a different color hue. Staining the veneer 24 should be done prior to or after the veneer is adhered to recession 22, but prior to applying a separate protective material, such as polyurethane. It is understood by one skilled in the art, however, that the protective finish could be only the stain, or that the protective finish as described above could be colored to give the veneer inlay a different color hue.

[0027] Though the preferred embodiment described above contemplates using a wood veneer as the inlay, one skilled in the art would appreciate that the veneer inlay 20 could be made out of a variety of materials, including plastic, which are made to look like wood, and would not necessarily require a protective coating be applied.

[0028] Creating a recession in the crown 10 of the golf club head and inlaying a veneer inlay is primarily directed toward newly manufactured clubs, where the creation of the recession is part of the manufacturing process. For existing composite and metal Woods, creation of a recession is impractical. A veneer can still be applied using generally the same application techniques as described for applying a veneer inlay 20 to recession 22 in crown 10.

[0029] FIG. 4 illustrates a veneer 24 affixed to the compound curved surface of crown 10, without a recession formed therein. The head of the golf club has a crown 10, a sole 12, a face 14 and a side and rear band 16. A veneer 24 is adhered to the surface of crown 10. The veneer 24 can be precut to the appropriate size, such that the surface area of the veneer 24 is the same or less than the surface area of crown 10, upon which the veneer will be adhered. This requires no further trimming of excess veneer. The veneer 24 can also be cut such that its surface area is larger than the surface area of crown 10. Once adhered to crown 10, the edges of the veneer 24 will overhang the peripheral edge defined by the junction of crown 10 and the top of face 14 and side and rear band 16. The excess of veneer 24 that overhangs the peripheral edge of crown 10 must be trimmed so that the edge of veneer 24 is flush with or inside of the peripheral edge of crown 10 or the periphery defined by the top of face 14 and the top of side and rear band 16.

[0030] Whether using a precut exact fit veneer 24 or an oversized veneer 24 that needs to be trimmed back, the veneer 24 will be generally flat in its dry state. The veneer 24 can conform to the domed or compound curved shape of the crown 10 by treating the veneer 24 to make it pliable, as discussed above in regard to the crown recession embodiment, and adhering the veneer 24 to the top surface compound curved shape of crown 10. Veneer 24 can also be pre-shaped to conform to the general compound curved shape of crown 10. Pre-shaping of the veneer 24 is the same as described with regard to the crown recession embodiment discussed above.

[0031] Again like the crown recession embodiment described above, a number of adhesives can be used to secure veneer 24 to the top of crown 10. For non-pre-shaped oversized veneer 24, contact cement is a preferred adhesive because of its relatively quick bonding properties and the fact that a lesser degree of precision is required to place veneer 24 on crown 10 due to the excess veneer that will overhang the peripheral edge of the crown 10. The veneer can be treated and adhered without applying prolonged pressure to the veneer 24. For pre-shaped or exact fit veneers 24, other adhesives, such as epoxies and other glues are preferable due to their longer set up times, which allows the veneer 24 to be shifted into the proper position after the veneer 24 is placed on the crown 10.

[0032] Unlike the veneer inlaid in a recession 22 of crown 10, as shown in FIG. 2, where the upstanding peripheral edge 26 provides a barrier to the exposed edge of the veneer 24, the edge of the veneer, as shown in FIG. 4 is exposed and vulnerable to dilapidation and splitting after adhering to crown 10. To prevent dilapidation, a protective border 30 is applied to the veneer around its periphery. As more clearly shown in FIG. 6, the protective border 30 bridges the transition from the edge of veneer 24 and the remaining exposed surface of crown 10. In the preferred embodiment, a two part epoxy is the used as the protective border that covers the edge of the veneer 20 and bridges onto the exposed surface of the crown 10 or slightly over the face 14 and the side and rear band 16. One skilled in the art would appreciate that other protective borders can be used, such as paints, tape, silicone and the like.

[0033] A protective coating can the be applied to the top surface of the veneer 24 and the protective border 30 to protect the veneer from exposure to the elements. As with the recessed crown embodiment described above, polyurethane is an appropriate protective coating, and preferably should overlap the protective border 30 and onto the metal or composite surface surrounding the edge of the protective border 30. This overlap also prevents moisture from getting underneath the protective border 30 or veneer 24. Linseed oil, tongue oil and varnish are all suitable protective finishes. A stain can also be applied to the top surface of the veneer 24 either prior to or after adhering veneer24 to crown 10. Where the veneer needs treatment to make it sufficiently pliable to conform to the curve of crown 10, as required for the non pre-shaped veneers, staining the veneer is more appropriate after bonding of the veneer 24 to crown 10 when pliability is no longer necessary.

[0034] Although specific embodiments have been illustrated and described herein for purposes of description of the preferred embodiment, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that a wide variety of alternate and/or equivalent implementations calculated to achieve the same purposes may be substituted for the specific embodiment shown and described without departing from the scope of the present invention. Those with skill in the art will readily appreciate that the present invention may be implemented in a very wide variety of embodiments. This application is intended to cover any adaptations or variations of the embodiments discussed herein. Therefore, it is manifestly intended that this invention be limited only by the claims and the equivalents thereof.