Title:
Post protectors
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A post protector shaped such that any grass or weed cutting mechanism is deflected away from the post thereby avoiding superficial or serious damage to the post. In the preferred embodiment the post protector incorporates an indented center section having specific geometries that resist the cutting mechanism from passing over the top portion or below the bottom portion of the protector. The protector is formed of two detachable halves for ease in installation or removal.



Inventors:
Sudnak, Paul Joseph (Wesley Chapel, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/077635
Publication Date:
09/24/2009
Filing Date:
03/21/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/835, 256/59
International Classes:
E04C5/16; E04H17/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20020125465Fence edge and sealSeptember, 2002Goodson
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20060192192Fencing post junction systemAugust, 2006Hammond et al.
20070138454Security mesh panelJune, 2007Yeo
20040195556Wire or like connectors/tensionersOctober, 2004Facey et al.
20050269557Sediment Fence with SkirtDecember, 2005Perrin et al.
20020171074Integrated column structural bodyNovember, 2002Imai
20080210920BARRIER SAFETY SYSTEMSeptember, 2008Seel



Primary Examiner:
AMIRI, NAHID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Paul, Sudnak (27021 ARROW BROOK WAY, WESLEY CHAPEL, FL, 33544, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A post protector comprising two substantially identical vertical halves, each said vertical half including a body having a top portion and bottom portion separated vertically; a horizontal flange connected to the top portion, extending inwardly, and having a geometric indentation at its distal end; a horizontal flange connected to the bottom portion, extending inwardly, and having a geometric indentation at its distal end congruous to the geometric indentation of the flange at the top portion; fastening means for connecting the two vertical halves together, such that when the two halves are joined together the edges of each half and the end sections of the flanges contact to form an elongated protector having a central opening for receiving and protecting a post.

2. The post protector of claim 1, wherein the geometric indentations of the top and bottom flanges are of a rectangular shape.

3. The post protector of claim 1, wherein the geometric indentations of the top and bottom flanges are of a circular shape.

4. The post protector of claim 1, wherein each body has a curved horizontal cross-section.

5. The post protector of claim 1, wherein each body has a rectangular horizontal cross-section.

6. The post protector of claim 1, wherein the fastening means includes holes and threaded fasteners.

7. The post protector of claim 1, wherein the vertical halves form a dome shape.

8. The post protector of claim 1, wherein the vertical halves each have an inwardly indented center section, such that when the two halves are connected together the indented center sections form a continuous indented center section extending the entire horizontal circumference of the body and defining an area between the top and bottom portions adapted to deflect any cutting means from passing over said top portion or below said bottom portion.

9. The post and post protector system of claim 8, wherein the indented section has a concave vertical cross section.

10. The post and post protector system of claim 8, wherein the indented section has a V-shaped vertical cross section.

11. A post and post protector system comprising an elongated post; and a post protector comprising two substantially identical vertical halves, each said vertical half including a body having a top portion and bottom portion separated vertically; a horizontal flange connected to the top portion, extending inwardly, and having a geometric indentation at its distal end; a horizontal flange connected to the bottom portion, extending inwardly, and having a geometric indentation at its distal end congruous to the geometric indentation of the flange at the top portion; fastening means for connecting the two vertical halves together, such that when the two halves are joined together the edges of each half and the end sections of the flanges contact to form an elongated protector having a central opening for receiving and protecting a post.

12. The post protector of claim 11, wherein the geometric indentations of the top and bottom flanges are of a rectangular shape.

13. The post protector of claim 11, wherein the geometric indentations of the top and bottom flanges are of a circular shape.

14. The post protector of claim 11, wherein each body has a curved horizontal cross-section.

15. The post protector of claim 11, wherein each body has a rectangular horizontal cross-section.

16. The post protector of claim 11, wherein the fastening means includes holes and threaded fasteners.

17. The post protector of claim 11, wherein the vertical halves form a dome shape.

18. The post protector of claim 11, wherein the vertical halves each have an inwardly indented center section, such that when the two halves are connected together the indented center sections form a continuous indented center section extending the entire horizontal circumference of the body and defining an area between the top and bottom portions adapted to deflect any cutting means from passing over said top portion or below said bottom portion.

19. A fence assembly comprising a plurality of posts; a plurality of cross pieces; and a plurality of post protectors, wherein each post protector comprising two substantially identical vertical halves, each said vertical half including a body having a top portion and bottom portion separated vertically; a horizontal flange connected to the top portion, extending inwardly, and having a geometric indentation at its distal end; a horizontal flange connected to the bottom portion, extending inwardly, and having a geometric indentation at its distal end congruous to the geometric indentation of the flange at the top portion; fastening means for connecting the two vertical halves together, such that when the two halves are joined together the edges of each half and the end sections of the flanges contact to form an elongated post having a central opening for receiving and protecting a post.

20. The post protector of claim 19, wherein the vertical halves each have an inwardly indented center section, such that when the two halves are connected together the indented center sections form a continuous indented center section extending the entire horizontal circumference of the body and defining an area between the top and bottom portions adapted to deflect any cutting means from passing over said top portion or below said bottom portion.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to removable post protectors that can be used for protecting posts, such as in mail box and fence assemblies, from mowers, trimmers, and cutters, and inhibiting grass and weed growth at the base of the post.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many mail box posts are 4×4 wooded posts that are painted for protection. This paint deteriorates from natural sources such as rain, sun, and temperature changes. Additionally, lawn garden tools, such as lawn mowers and filament grass trimmers, can damage the paint and underlying wood base. This damage can create rot from the base wood being unprotected, and further, the removal of paint and the resulting damage is unsightly. Prior art for protecting these posts typically consist of sleeves which encircle or enclose the posts. Some of these sleeves have an outward flange at the base to limit weed and grass growth. The designs with outward flanges at the base leave a space between the sleeve and the post and allow dead grass, leaves, bugs, weeds, and other debris to fill into the space and is unsightly and can create damage to the surrounding grass or root system if not removed. Additionally, if these outwardly oriented flanges are not level, water can build up on top of the flange. Prior art protection sleeves are typically square in shape and their width, except those with outward base flanges, are consistent from the bottom to the top. The walls of the sleeves typically are flush with the post. This allows moisture and dirt to remain between the post and the walls of the sleeve via gravity or capillary action, which could cause damage and mold to grow on the post. Another problem with these sleeves is the failure to provide drifting of the filament blades on grass and weed trimmers. Maintaining grass cutting height with filamented blade trimmers is very difficult. Due to the inherent flexibility of the blades, they can cut grass much lower than the operator intended due to the drifting of the blade height. Additionally, when the blade comes in contact with a wall or other vertical surface the blades bend up or down and the depth of cut can vary significantly. With the existing inventions, no means exists to limit the damage to the post above the protective sleeve. Although some of these devices have a partial flange at the top of the sleeve, these flanges are designed to force the sleeve into the ground or to remove the sleeve. None of the prior inventions limit the drift of the filament blades from damaging the post above the sleeves when the blade comes into contact with the sleeve.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The instant invention is designed for protecting posts, such as in mail box and fence assemblies, from mowers, trimmers, and cutters, and inhibiting grass and weed growth at the base of the post. The instant post protector is formed as two halves that when joined together form an elongated column having an opening to receive and protect a post. Each half of the post protector consists of a body with flanges at its top and bottom which extend from the body inwardly toward the post. The bottom flange inhibits weed growth and along with the top flange stabilizes the column against the post. The elongated column and its base is wide enough to inhibit grass and weeds from growing close to the post. Further, in the preferred embodiment, a center section of the elongated column is shaped either with a concave or V-shaped vertical cross section that allows the cutting means of a trimmer to cut weeds or grass that have grown above the base of the column while at the same time resisting the cutting means from sliding down into the surrounding ground and damaging grass roots or cutting grass too short. It also resists the flexible trimmer blade from sliding up and over the protector and damaging the unprotected part of the post. Further, the horizontal cross-section of the protector can be either square or round.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a view of one half of one embodiment of the post protector with a horizontally curved cross section, matching rectangular geometric indentations upon the top and bottom flanges, and an inwardly indented center section having a concave vertical cross section.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the two halves of the post protector of the embodiment of FIG. 1, wherein the attachment means are threaded fasteners.

FIG. 3 is a view of the post protector of FIGS. 1 and 2 being installed on a mailbox post having a square cross section.

FIG. 4 is a view of one half of another embodiment of the post protector with a horizontally curved cross section, matching rectangular geometric indentations upon the top and bottom flanges, and no inwardly indented center section.

FIG. 5 is a side view of the two halves of the post protector of the embodiment of FIG. 4, wherein the attachment means are threaded fasteners.

FIG. 6 is a view of the post protector of FIGS. 4 and 5 being installed on a mailbox post having a square cross section.

FIG. 7 is a view of one half of another embodiment of the post protector with a horizontally curved cross section, matching curved geometric indentations upon the top and bottom flanges, and an inwardly indented center section having a concave vertical cross section.

FIG. 8 is a view of one half of another embodiment of the post protector with a horizontally rectangular cross section, matching rectangular geometric indentations upon the top and bottom flanges, and an inwardly indented center section having a V-shaped vertical cross section.

FIG. 9 is a view of one half of another embodiment of the post protector with a horizontally curved cross section, matching rectangular geometric indentations upon the top and bottom flanges, and an inwardly indented center section having a concave vertical cross section.

FIG. 10 is a view of the post protector of FIG. 8 being installed on a mailbox post having a square cross section.

FIG. 11 is a view of the post protector installed on a mailbox post, wherein the concave center section is deflecting the cutting means of a grass trimming machine away from the top of the protector and thereby the mailbox post.

FIG. 12 is a view of post protectors installed on the posts of a fence assembly.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The preferred embodiment of the post protector is formed as two halves 1 and 2 that are removably joined together via fasteners 4 to form an elongated column having an opening to receive and protect a post 3. Each half of the post protector consists of a body with a leading edge 5, a bottom flange 7, a top flange 6, the flanges extend from the body inwardly toward the post and include geometric indentations 8 and 9 respectively. The halves are removably connected to one another by threaded fasteners 4 received through holes 10 having recessed hole flanges 11 and protrusion members 12 that align with and are received through counter bore holes 13 and threadingly received by holes 14, wherein the two halves of the protector are brought together at their edges 5 and tensioned by fasteners 4. Each half of the protector further includes a bottom portion 15, which protects the base of the post, and aesthetic portions 16 and 17. The bottom flange 7 inhibits weed growth and along with the top flange 6 stabilizes the column against the post. The elongated column and its base is wide enough to inhibit grass and weeds from growing close to the post. Furthermore, each half of the post protector includes a center section shaped either with a concave or V-shaped (shown as 18) vertical cross section, or a convex vertical cross section (shown as 19) that allows the cutting means 21 of a trimmer 20 to cut weeds or grass that has grown above the base of the column while at the same time resisting the cutting means from sliding down into the surrounding ground and damaging grass roots or cutting grass too short. It also resists the flexible trimmer blade from sliding up and over the protector and damaging the unprotected part of the post.

It is an object of the invention to also combine the post protector with posts from mailboxes or fence assemblies. As shown in FIG. 12, the posts 26 of fence assembly 27 each have a post protector 25 attached at the bottom thereof to thereby protect each fence post from the same hazards discussed above.

It is an object of the invention to limit the growth of weeds and grass at the base of the post by means of an inwardly directed flange (i.e., members 7) contiguous with the sidewalls and engagable with the ground or top of the post and which emanates toward the post which maintains the stability of the sleeve. Said flange is inwardly oriented and therefore, no debris, such as leaves, trash, grass or weed cuttings will accumulate on the flange.

It is another object of the invention to provide a distance buffer from the post to any lawn gardening implement such as lawn mowers, lawn fertilizer spreaders, edgers, or motorized equipment that may have protruding objects that could damage the post not protected by the sleeve. Such distance is establish by means of an annulus (inner space) between the post and the inner wall of the protector. Said annulus is hollow and limits the buildup of moisture and debris between the inner walls of the protector and the post.

It is an object of the invention to provide a concave or indented center section (i.e., members 18 and 19) around the perimeter of the protector that resists the flexible blades of a weed trimmer from drifting up above the sleeve and damaging the post above the sleeve and also from drifting down below the base and removing more grass than intended.

It is a object of the invention to allow the sleeve to float on the grass root surface for turf grass that has variable root surface levels, such as St. Augustine grass. This is accomplished when the protector is not tightened around the post to include friction thereon. Therefore the protector is free to slide up and down the post depending on the height of the grass.

It is also an object of the invention to provide a buffer between the grass surrounding the sleeve to the outer surface of the protector wall at cutting height to allow a more efficient cutting angle for the grass trimmer. In other words, the concave or indented center section of the sleeve allows the blade of the cutter to be at a more perpendicular trajectory to the grass being cut. The blade impacting the buffered grass will be at a more perpendicular angle and more efficient at cutting the buffered grass than the curved part of the blade that will be curved.

The horizontal cross-section of the protector can be either square or round. The center section vertical cross-section can have either a curved or angular shape.

Any and all other obvious modifications to one or more of the parts of this invention are inherently incorporated herein.