Title:
Trim assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A furniture arrangement is formed of vertical panels and a horizontal furniture panel which are joined together. The vertical panel comprises a main panel body having the opposite vertical edges thereof enclosed by vertical trim elements, and the horizontal top edge enclosed by a horizontal trim element. For decorative purposes, an additional decorative inlay is provided adjacent and parallel to the trim elements, which inlay is formed of a second, aesthetically different inlay material, such as extruded aluminum or other metal. The horizontal furniture panel may include similar trim elements which further include additional decorative inlays.



Inventors:
Borgman, Randall W. (Holland, MI, US)
Guntur, Naveen (Hyderabad, IN)
Lamfers, Alex (Jenison, MI, US)
Wayner, Robert C. (Holland, MI, US)
Chandragiri, Prashanth (Hyderabad, IN)
Application Number:
12/157613
Publication Date:
01/01/2009
Filing Date:
06/11/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C2/38
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
PEVARSKI, BENJAMIN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FLYNN, THIEL, BOUTELL & TANIS, P.C. (2026 RAMBLING ROAD, KALAMAZOO, MI, 49008-1631, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A furniture arrangement comprising: a furniture panel having an interior core and opposite side surfaces which have a finished appearance, and wide end edges with an unfinished appearance, said end edges of said core having a mounting channel and a retainer formation therein; a trim assembly mountable to said end edges to define a finished appearance to said end edges, said trim assembly comprising a base and a finished trim facing supported on said base, said trim facing having a trim surface defining a finished appearance, said base having a connector formation configured to mate with and removably engage said retainer formation to cover said end edge.

2. The furniture arrangement according to claim 1, wherein said retainer formation is a snap-fit retainer.

3. The furniture arrangement according to claim 1, wherein said base and said mounting channel have opposing side surfaces which fit closely together to locate said trim assembly sidewardly relative to said furniture panel, and clearance spaces being provided between opposed end faces of said base and said mounting channel to permit tight drawing of said trim assembly to said end edge by said cooperating retainer formation and connector formation.

4. The furniture arrangement according to claim 1, wherein said base and said mounting channel are formed of a machinable material and have shaped profiles which closely match.

5. The furniture arrangement according to claim 4, wherein said base and said core are formed of a machinable material that is machined to form said profiles.

6. The furniture arrangement according to claim 5, wherein said machinable material is a wood material for at least one of base and said core.

7. The furniture arrangement according to claim 1, wherein said base and said end edge define sideward opening channels therebetween which receive an elongate decorative insert therein.

8. The furniture arrangement according to claim 7, wherein said base and said mounting channel have opposing side surfaces which fit closely together to locate said trim assembly sidewardly relative to said furniture panel, and clearance spaces being provided between opposed end faces of said base and said mounting channel to permit tight drawing of said trim assembly to said end edge by said cooperating retainer formation and connector formation such that said insert is sandwiched between said trim facing and said side surfaces of said furniture panel.

9. A furniture arrangement comprising: a furniture panel having an interior core and opposite side surfaces which have a finished appearance, and wide end edges with an unfinished appearance, said end edges of said core having a mounting channel and a retainer formation therein, said mounting channel a channel profile defining side surfaces having a channel dimension defined therebetween; a trim assembly mountable to said end edges to define a finished appearance to said end edges, said trim assembly comprising a base and a finished trim facing supported on said base, said trim facing having a trim surface defining a finished appearance, said base having a connector formation configured to mate with and removably engage said retainer formation to cover said end edge by drawing said trim assembly downwardly into said mounting channel, said base having a base profile corresponding to said channel profile wherein said base profile has side surfaces which define a base dimension closely proximate said channel dimension to tightly locate said trim assembly at a fixed position relative to said furniture panel.

10. The furniture arrangement according to claim 9, wherein said base and said mounting channel have opposing end surfaces which define clearance spaces between opposed end faces of said base and said mounting channel to permit tight drawing of said trim assembly to said end edge by said cooperating retainer formation and connector formation.

11. The furniture arrangement according to claim 9, wherein said base and said mounting channel are formed of a machinable material and have shaped profiles which closely match.

12. The furniture arrangement according to claim 11, wherein said base and said core are formed of a machinable material that is machined to form said profiles.

13. The furniture arrangement according to claim 12, wherein said machinable material is a wood material for at least one of base and said core.

14. The furniture arrangement according to claim 9, wherein said base and said end edge define sideward opening channels therebetween which receive an elongate decorative insert therein.

15. The furniture arrangement according to claim 14, wherein said base and said mounting channel have opposing side surfaces which fit closely together to locate said trim assembly sidewardly relative to said furniture panel, and clearance spaces being provided between opposed end faces of said base and said mounting channel to permit tight drawing of said trim assembly to said end edge by said cooperating retainer formation and connector formation such that said insert is sandwiched between said trim facing and said side surfaces of said furniture panel.

16. A furniture arrangement comprising: a furniture panel having an interior core and opposite side surfaces which have a finished appearance, and wide end edges with an unfinished appearance, said end edges of said core having a mounting channel and a retainer formation therein; a trim assembly mountable to said end edges to define a finished appearance to said end edges, said trim assembly comprising a base and a finished trim facing supported on said base, said trim facing having a trim surface defining a finished appearance, said base having a connector formation configured to mate with and removably engage said retainer formation to cover said end edge, said base and said end edge defining sideward opening insert channels therebetween which receive an elongate decorative insert sidewardly therein, such that said insert is sandwiched between said trim facing and said side surfaces of said furniture panel.

17. The furniture arrangement according to claim 14, wherein said base and said mounting channel have interior end faces which define clearance spaces between said base and said mounting channel to permit tight drawing of said trim assembly to said end edge by said cooperating retainer formation and connector formation.

18. The furniture arrangement according to claim 16, wherein said insert channels have opposite channel walls defined by said trim assembly on one side and said core on the other side.

19. The furniture arrangement according to claim 18, wherein said one channel wall is defined by an interior face of said trim facing.

20. The furniture arrangement according to claim 19, wherein a resilient retainer is seated in said insert channel and said insert is inserted in said insert channel so as to be grippingly retained therein by said resilient retainer.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/934,147, filed Jun. 11, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a trim assembly for finishing the end faces of a furniture panel so that the furniture panel has an edgewise-extending trim facing formed of a first material such as solid wood or a substrate finished with a veneer, and has a decorative trim inlay having a thin profile extending along the edge of the trim facing which is formed of a second material, such as metal, so as to define a contrasting decorative appearance adjacent the trim facing and the finished faces of the furniture panel adjacent thereto.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Various cabinet constructions have been provided which have many different finish surfaces applied thereto. A cabinet construction is known having a relatively thick cabinet wall having edge surfaces having finished faces and appearances which match the major side faces of the wall.

However, when laminate is conventionally applied at a right-angle corner, such as between a vertical major face and an end face, typically, the thickness of one sheet of laminate is visible and thereby results in an unsightly joint of the right-angle corner.

The invention relates to a cabinet arrangement wherein similar finish layers may be provided on the major faces and end faces while any joints therebetween are hidden and made aesthetically pleasing by an intermediate trim member. In this regard, a trim assembly is provided for finishing the end faces of a furniture panel so that the furniture panel has an edgewise-extending trim facing formed of a first material such as solid wood or a substrate finished with a veneer, and has a decorative trim inlay having a thin profile extending along the edge of the trim facing which is formed of a second material, such as metal, so as to define a contrasting decorative appearance adjacent the trim facing and the finished faces of the furniture panel adjacent thereto.

This provides pleasing contrast, and while appearing as an aesthetic feature, also functionally serves to hide the cut edges of laminate on both the major faces and end face.

Other objects and purposes of the invention, and variations thereof, will be apparent upon reading the following specification and inspecting the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a trim arrangement from an exterior lefthand top corner of a furniture unit.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the trim arrangement from a lefthand corner as viewed from the underside thereof of the furniture arrangement.

FIG. 3 is an end cross sectional view illustrating the elements of the trim assembly.

FIG. 4 illustrates a panel element with the trim removed and a trim retainer fastened therein.

FIG. 5 is an end cross sectional view of FIG. 3 further illustrating the features restraining the trim element.

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of a further furniture arrangement.

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of a trim element assembly.

FIG. 8A is a top view of the trim element assembly.

FIG. 8B is a side cross-sectional view along line 8A-8A of FIG. 8A.

FIG. 8C is an end view of the trim element assembly.

FIGS. 9A-9D illustrate an alternate trim element assembly.

FIG. 10 is an end cross-sectional view of a trim element.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an alternate trim element.

FIGS. 12A-12D illustrate the alternate trim element.

FIG. 13 is an exploded view of a router configuration.

Certain terminology will be used in the following description for convenience and reference only, and will not be limiting. For example, the words “upwardly”, “downwardly”, “rightwardly” and “leftwardly” will refer to directions in the drawings to which reference is made. The words “inwardly” and “outwardly” will refer to directions toward and away from, respectively, the geometric center of the arrangement and designated parts thereof. Said terminology will include the words specifically mentioned, derivatives thereof, and words of similar import.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As seen in FIG. 1, a furniture arrangement 10, such as a desk or enlarged shelf unit, is illustrated formed of vertical panels 11 and a horizontal furniture panel 12 which are joined together. A vertical panel 11 comprises a main panel body 13 having the vertical edges thereof enclosed by trim elements 14 and 15, and the horizontal top edge enclosed by a horizontal trim element 16. For decorative purposes, an additional decorative inlay 17 is provided adjacent and parallel to the trim elements 14-16, which inlay 17 is formed of a second, aesthetically different inlay material, such as extruded aluminum or other metal or other suitable shaped material such as a plastic. The horizontal furniture panel 12 also has a main panel body 18 with the opposite horizontal edges thereof enclosed in the same manner by trim elements 19 and 20 which further include additional decorative inlays or inserts 21 and 22.

FIG. 2 illustrates the furniture arrangement 10 in a lefthand corner top configuration viewed from the underside. In this view, the trim elements 14, 15 and 19 can be seen with the trim inlays 17 and 21 extending horizontally and vertically adjacent to these trim elements 14, 15 and 19. An additional reinforcing cross panel 25 is illustrated as extending between the one end base panel 11 and an opposite end base panel 11 (not illustrated).

Referring to FIG. 3, FIG. 3 illustrates the assembly of the components which form the base panel 11 and the associated trim parts. FIG. 3 illustrates the base panel 11 as viewed from the bottom and looking up at the lower edge of the vertical trim element 14 wherein the horizontal furniture panel 12 can also be seen as well as the horizontal trim element 19 and the inlay 21 extending horizontally therealong. It will be understood that the general construction of all of the trim elements 14, 15, 19 and 20 are essentially the same wherein FIG. 3 is a representative illustration of how the trim elements mount to the associated furniture panel 11 or 12 whether the trim element is oriented vertically or horizontally. Further, the inlays 17 are identified by this reference numeral in that they mount to the furniture panel 11, although it will also be understood that the inlays 21 and 22 have the same cross-sectional profile and general configuration and mount in the same arrangement. Thus, the following discussion specifically addresses the arrangement of FIG. 3 with it being understood that this discussion is also applicable to the other equivalent components.

First as to FIG. 4, FIG. 4 illustrates a furniture panel or panel element 11 (12) with the respective trim element 14 removed therefrom. This furniture panel 11 further includes a U-shaped trim retainer 30 mounted longitudinally and centrally within a mounting channel 31 formed along the edge of the furniture panel 11. The furniture panel 11 has an interior panel core 32 which may be formed of any suitable construction, although in the preferred embodiment comprises a thick wood panel frame having a generally rectangular construction defined by horizontal and vertical frame elements. These frame elements preferably are formed of solid wood and joined together at the corners to define a rectangular construction. These frame elements 32 on those edges which are to be finished are formed or profiled with the mounting channel 31 as seen in FIG. 4 and as will be described in further detail herein.

The furniture panel 11 further includes outer skins 33 which are mounted to the opposite faces of the core 32 by adhesive 33B and have a substantially uniform thickness and enclose the opposite faces of the core 32. The skins 33 have a substrate 33A and the outer faces of the skins 33 are each provided with a facing layer 34 that defines the aesthetic appearance of the panel 11. These facing layers 34 may be any suitable facing material such as a wood-finish laminate or veneer.

The finished edges of the base panel 11, as mentioned above, have a unique profile machine therein with a single tool, such as a router which routes this mounting channel 31 therein. In particular, the mounting channel 31, and specifically the profile thereof, includes a rectangularly, cross-sectioned center locator groove 35 in which the U-shaped trim retainer 30 is seated. In particular, the profile is CNC machined with a single tool and is centered on the furniture panel 11 with the groove 35 being formed in the bottom of the profile to help position the retainer 30 centrally therein.

As to this profile, on opposite sides of the central groove 35, are formed bottom flats 36 which transition at radius corners 37 into vertical side walls 38, which side walls 38 in turn transition at an outside radius 39 into intermediate flats 40. The intermediate flats 40 then transition by inside corners 41 into upper side walls 42. The upper side walls 42 terminate at sharp corners and define end faces 43.

As to the trim retainer 30, such trim retainer 30 is formed of U-shaped plastic that is resiliently deflectable. The retainer 30 is defined by a bottom retainer wall 45 that is fastened or stitched directly to the panel core 32 by suitable fasteners 30A such as staples. The bottom retainer wall 45 supports two upstanding retainer legs 46 which project upwardly in cantilevered relation and are resiliently deflectable. The upper edges of the retainer legs 46 have ribs extending horizontally and projecting outwardly. Each rib 47 is defined by an inclined cam face 48 that faces upwardly out of the channel 31, and an opposed inward facing ledge 49 which is configured to removably engage the trim element 14 and prevent its inadvertent removal therefrom.

As to the radiuses formed in the illustrated profile, such radiuses eliminate stress risers and give strength to the wood material of the furniture panel 11. Further, the use of wood for the furniture panel 11 allows for the formation of tighter tolerances by use of a router for CNC machining of the profile.

Referring to FIG. 3, the trim element 14 as well as the other trim elements illustrated herein comprise a trim base 50 which is profiled so as to fit within the mounting channel 31 and has a top surface 51 which supports a flat, thin, trim facing 52 thereon. This trim facing 52 can be a textured ABS plastic, a solid species wood, reconstituted veneer stick or thin veneer wrapped material. This trim facing 52 defines the finished appearance of the trim element 14. In many cases it may be preferred that this material be selected so as to match the exterior face material 34 on the furniture panel 11.

The trim base 50 is fixably secured along its entire length to this trim facing 52 so as to define a combined assembly that is permanently affixed together. Preferably, the trim base 50 is formed of finger-jointed poplar that is machined to the specific profile illustrated for precise seating within the mounting channel 31. The trim base 50 is configured to snap fittingly engage with the trim retainer 30 for fixed securement of the trim element 14 to the furniture panel 11. This retainer 30 defines the grip strength for gripping of the trim element 14, and specifically, gripping of the trim base 50. The grip strength can be defined by the overall longitudinal length of the trim retainer 30 as well as the overall thickness of the retainer material which would define the overall resistance to resilient deflection of the retainer legs 46 when becoming engaged with the trim base 50.

It is noted that the joining of the trim base 50 to the trim facing 52 defines an inlay mounting channel 55 which opens sidewardly and is configured to support the trim inlays 17 or 21 therein. Notably, the trim inlays are formed of aluminum and can be finished with many different finish options such as polished, anodized, painted and the like. To secure the trim inlay 17 in the inlay channel 55, trim inlay retainers 56 are fitted onto the inlay 17 and then elastomerically grip the inlay channel 55 when inserted therein. Preferably, the trim inlay retainers 56 are formed of a HIP's plastic extrusion.

The “ball” profile of the end of the inlay retainer 56 helps to hold the retainer on the inlay 17 prior to installation into the removable trim element 14. It also helps to prevent the inlay 17 from easy removal from the channel 55 or possibly falling out therefrom.

It is noted that the trim inlay 17 is designed to be an optional element, and the profile tooling for the trim and specifically the trim base 50 could be designed so as to not cut the groove 55 therein for the inlay 17 and inlay retainer 56 when such elements are optioned out of the final furniture order.

Retention of the inlays 17, and the installation and removal forces thereof are controlled by the overall length of each inlay retainer 56 and the number of inlay retainer pieces 56 used along a given lineal length piece of trim element 14.

Referring to FIG. 10, the specific construction of a representative trim element 14 is illustrated therein in cross section. It is noted that the trim element 14 generally is symmetrical about its center line. It comprises the trim facing 52 and the trim base 50 which is affixed thereto so as to project inwardly or downwardly therefrom. The trim facing 52 is defined by an exposed outer surface 60 and a bottom interior surface 61.

As to the trim base 50, this trim base is formed of a main body portion 62 which is affixed to the bottom-facing surface 61. The main body 62 is formed of a profile which substantially matches the profile of the mounting channel 31.

More particularly, this profile is defined by a center bottom channel 63 which opens interiorally and has inwardly projecting ribs 64 formed along the mouth of the channel 63. These ribs 64 have a rounded profile defined by the radiused corners 65 that in turn define a width 66 of the channel mouth. These corners 65 then turn outwardly to define bottom base faces 67, which bottom faces 67 turn at radiused corners 68 to define lower base side walls 69. The spacing or width defined between the side walls 69 is indicated by dimension 70 and closely conforms to the sideward width defined between the channel side walls 38 of the mounting channel 31. Dimension 70 should have a very close conformance to and tolerance with respect to the spacing between the channel side walls 38. The lower base side walls 69 then turn at radiused inside corners 71 to define bottom intermediate faces 72 that extend outwardly and turn at corners 73 as to extend upwardly at an angle 74 and terminate at upper base side walls 75. These upper side walls 75 have a spacing 76 therebetween that closely conforms to the lateral width between the channel side walls 42. Further, it is noted that the radiused corners 68, 71 and 73 are in close conformance in their profile as to the groove corners 37, 39 and 41 although not in contact therewith.

At the upper side faces 75 of the trim body 50, a sharp corner is provided so as to define an inwardly extending body face 77 that defines one side face of the inlay mounting channel 55. In effect, the inlay mounting channel 55 is defined between the body face 77 and the opposing interior face 61 of the trim element facing 62. Notably, the inner ends of the grooves 55 terminate at groove bottoms 78 that define a lateral width 79 therebetween. Further, the trim facing 52 projects outwardly beyond the body side faces 75 to define a lateral facing width 80 which is greater than the dimension 76 of the trim body 50.

These overall dimensions of FIG. 10, as further described with respect to FIG. 5, tightly and precisely position each trim element 14 relative to the respective furniture panel 11 or 12 when mounted thereto. In particular, the trim body 50 is adapted to fit in tight confinement with the mounting channel 31. In this regard, body side faces 69 laterally or centrally position the trim element 14 relative to the furniture panel 11. As such, the lateral or side-to-side (left to right) movement of the trim element 14 (FIG. 4) is controlled or governed by these matched profiles and their tightly controlled tolerances as illustrated in the above in the pictorial of FIG. 5 and described herein.

Trim retention is vertically controlled by the contoured cam/spring surfaces of the trim base 50 and the trim retainer 30. More particularly, the retainer legs 46 and their connector ribs 47 are pressed inwardly as the retainer 30 moves into the channel mouth of the base channel 63 wherein the corners 65 press against the cam surfaces 47 which bias the retainer legs 46 inwardly. As the ribs 47 move past corresponding ribs 64, the retainer leg 46 returns to an original position in gripping engagement with the body ribs 64. Thus, the edges 49 abut against the radiused corners 64A to draw or pull the trim body 50 downwardly into the channel 31. The natural tendency is that an applied force generated thereby draws the trim element 14 tightly against the furniture panel 11.

Hence, the inlay 17 and the inlay retainer 56 fixedly secure the inlay 17 within the channel 55, and the inlay 17 is then drawn downwardly in tight engagement against the face 43, which downward force maintains a tight reveal between the trim face/trim inlay/panel element interfaces. Trim retention/removal forces of the removable trim element 14 to and from the panel are controlled by the lineal length of the trim retainer 30 used relative to the length of trim that is needed.

So that the trim retainer 30 dictates the engagement force and the downward or inward drawing force of the trim element 14 against the furniture element, clearance spaces 81 and 82 formed between the opposing faces 67/36, 72/40, and 73/41. As such, these opposed faces do not bottom out or contact each other during engagement of the trim element 14, but instead, the trim retainer 30 draws the trim element 14 downwardly until the inlay 17 bottom outs or directly contacts the panel faces 43.

This further allows for the free/uninhibited movement (expansion/contraction) of the aluminum inlay material in response to fluctuating ambient temperatures. As such, the inlay material may expand or contract at a different rate relative to the material of the remaining components, which expansion/contraction is readily accommodated as the spring retainer 30 either pulls the trim element 14 farther downwardly into the channel 31 or allows for outward movement of the trim element 14.

There may be additional differences in manufacturing tolerances between the trim facing 52 and the trim panel 11 such that the trim width 80 may vary from the overall lateral width or thickness of the furniture panel 11. As such, the inlay 17 is designed to project slightly outwardly from the interface between these components so that the face 84 of the inlay 17 is slightly proud of the trim faces 83 and the panel faces 34. Since the inlay face 84 is slightly proud, this helps reduce tactile recognition of dimensional differences between the trim face width 80 and the panel thickness variations of the trim panel 11.

Referring to FIG. 6, an exploded view of the furniture system 10 illustrates the trim panels 11 and 12 and the bottom panel 25 which are joined together by various corner brackets 90 and sideward connector pins 91.

Referring to FIG. 7, trim element assembly 92 is illustrated as comprising the trim element 14, the inlays 17 and the trim inlay retainers 56. As can be seen, the trim element 14 comprises the trim base 50 and the trim facing 52 mounted to the top thereof. These define the grooves 55 which extend along the entire longitudinal length thereof and are configured to receive the inlays 17 therein.

In particular, the inlays 17 are defined by an enlarged outer section 93 and a thinner connector flange 94 that is relatively thin relative to the outer section 93 and also has a vertical offset as seen in FIG. 3.

The connector flange 94 is adapted to mount thereto a plurality of the inlay retainers 56 which have a resiliently deflectable U-shape and frictionally fit over and engage the elongate side edge of the flange 94. As to the trim facing 52 illustrated in FIGS. 8A-8C, trim facing 52 is formed with one alternate profile wherein one edge 52A is flat along the length thereof while the opposite edge 52B has a radiused corner to vary the aesthetic appearance thereof.

As to FIGS. 9A-9D, the trim assembly 14 comprises part of a trim element assembly 92 having one form wherein edge 52A is radiused along its entire length while the opposite edge 52B is radiused along a substantial portion except for an end section 52C which is formed flat. This allows for smooth surfaces when edge section 52C abuts against the terminal end face of an adjacent trim element 14 such as at the upper corner illustrated in FIG. 1.

FIGS. 11 and 12A-12D illustrate an alternate trim element assembly 92 wherein two flat sections 52C are formed therein so that the trim facing 52 could be positioned in a T-shape between two perpendicularly-oriented trim elements 14.

Referring to FIG. 13, 13 diagrammatically illustrates a machining tool such as a router bit 100 having a drive shank 101 and a head 102 that has a circumferential profile that defines the specific profile of the mounting channel 31 in the furniture panel 11.

Although particular preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed in detail for illustrative purposes, it will be recognized that variations or modifications of the disclosed apparatus, including the rearrangement of parts, lie within the scope of the present invention.