Title:
ADJUSTMENT MECHANISM FOR SHUFFLEBOARDS AND OTHER GAME BOARDS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to an adjustment mechanism for game boards that allows a user to correct for warp to the playing surface due to changes in climatic conditions. The adjustment mechanism includes at least two adjusting members mounted in a transversely spaced arrangement to the underside of a game board and connecting member engaging the adjusting members through threaded connections. Through rotation, the connecting member exerts a force to drive the adjusting members away from or toward one another thereby impacting the degree of concavity imparted to the playing surface. Rotating the connecting member in one direction increases the concavity of the playing surface and rotating the connecting member in the opposite direction reduces the concavity of the playing surface. The connecting member includes a polygonal portion for engagement with a tool allowing the user to adjust the concavity of the playing surface in a single motion.



Inventors:
Stites, Kelye (Colleyville, TX, US)
Stites, Trey (Colleyville, TX, US)
Bohn, Martin G. (North Richland Hills, TX, US)
Application Number:
13/936345
Publication Date:
01/08/2015
Filing Date:
07/08/2013
Assignee:
VALLEY-DYNAMO LP
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
248/188.4
International Classes:
A63F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VANDERVEEN, JEFFREY S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HUSCH BLACKWELL LLP (190 Carondelet Plaza Suite 600 ST. LOUIS MO 63105)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An adjustment mechanism for adjusting a game board playing surface comprising: at least two adjusting members for securement to the underside of the game board in a transversely spaced arrangement; at least one connecting member able to span the distance between said adjusting members and having its opposite end portions engageable with said adjusting members, rotation of said at least one connecting member in one direction exerting a force necessary to drive said adjusting members away from one another and rotation of said at least one connection member in another direction exerting a force necessary to pull said adjusting members toward one another.

2. The adjustment mechanism of claim 1 wherein securement of said adjusting members to the underside of said game board includes a plurality of fastening members insertable through a plurality of holes in said adjusting members for attaching to the underside of the game board.

3. The adjustment mechanism of claim 1 wherein said connecting member is engaged with said adjusting members through threaded connections, one end portion of said connecting member having right-hand threads and the other end portion of said connecting member having left-hand threads.

4. The adjustment mechanism of claim 3 wherein one of said adjusting members includes right-hand threads and is engageable with the one end portion of said connecting member having right-hand threads, and wherein one of said adjusting members includes left-hand threads and is engageable with the one end portion of said connecting member having left-hand threads.

5. The adjustment mechanism of claim 3 wherein said connecting member has a polygonal portion that can be engaged to enable rotation.

6. The adjustment mechanism of claim 1 wherein said adjusting members and said at least one connecting member is composed of a metal alloy.

7. An adjustment mechanism for adjusting a game board playing surface comprising: a pair of bracket members for attachment to the underside of a game board in a transversely spaced arrangement to one another relative to the playing surface, said bracket members having sleeve members threaded counter directionally from one another; a connecting rod member having opposing ends that are counter threaded to mate effectively with the threaded sleeve members in said bracket members such that when said rod member is rotated in one direction, said bracket members are driven away from one another increasing the concavity of the playing surface and when said rod member is rotated in the opposite direction, said bracket members are pulled toward one another reducing concavity of the playing surface.

8. The adjustment mechanism of claim 7 wherein said bracket members include a plurality of holes for receiving a plurality of fastening members for securing said bracket members to the underside of a game board.

9. The adjustment mechanism of claim 7 wherein said connecting rod member has a polygonal portion that can be engaged by a tool and wherein one opposed end portion includes right-hand threads and the other opposed end portion includes left-hand threads, and wherein one of said bracket sleeve members includes right-hand threads and the other bracket sleeve member includes left-hand threads.

10. A method for adjusting a game board playing surface comprising: mounting an adjustment mechanism to the underside of the game board perpendicular to the length of said game board, said adjustment mechanism including two adjusting members and a connecting member extending therebetween, rotating said connecting member in one direction whereby said adjusting members are moved away from one another thereby increasing concavity of the playing surface; rotating said connecting member in a counter direction whereby said adjusting members are moved toward one another thereby reducing concavity of the playing surface.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein a plurality of pairs of adjusting members are mounted to the underside of the game board spaced at predetermined intervals along the length of the game board and rotation of the connecting member between each pair of adjusting members creates the desired level of concavity across the length of the game board.

12. The method of claim 10 wherein the connecting member includes a polygonal portion and whereby a user engages and rotates said connecting member by attaching a tool to said polygonal portion to create the desired level of concavity.

13. An adjustment mechanism for correcting warp associated with a game board playing surface comprising: a first bracket member for mounting to the under surface of a game board, said first bracket member including a first sleeve member, said first sleeve member including a threaded opening extending therethrough, said threaded opening having left-hand threads; a second bracket member for mounting to the under surface of a game board, said second bracket member including a second sleeve member, said second sleeve member including a threaded opening extending therethrough, said threaded opening having right-hand threads; and a bar member having opposite end portions and a polygonal portion positioned at an intermediate location therebetween, one end portion of said bar member having left-hand threads configured for engagement with the left-hand threads associated with said first sleeve member and the opposite end portion of said bar member having right-hand threads configured for engagement with the right-hand threads associated with said second sleeve member; said first and second bracket members being mountable to the under surface of a game board in a transversely spaced aligned arrangement perpendicular to the length of a game board, and said bar member being threadedly engageable with the first and second sleeve members associated with said first and second bracket members; rotation of said bar member in a first direction exerting a force which will cause the first and second bracket members to be drawn towards each other and rotation of said bar member in a second direction exerting a force which will cause the first and second bracket members to be drawn away from each other, movement of said bracket members through rotation of said bar member changing the desired level of warp associated with a game board.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Disclosure

The present invention is directed to game systems having a game board or playfield and, more particularly, to an adjustment mechanism for correcting warping of the game board playing surface wherein a series of adjusters are spaced along the underside of the game board at predetermined locations along the length thereof to adjust for warping of the game board due to temperature, humidity or other atmospheric conditions.

2. Background Art

Shuffleboard games typically involve an elongated playing field and a plurality of game pieces such as a puck or a disk which may be slidably propelled along the surface of the playing field. The elongated playing field is typically made of wood and is typically incorporated into a heavy table like structure of considerable length with a relatively massive perimeter frame to accommodate the playing disks sliding off of the playfield anywhere along its length. The disks are propelled by a player in a sliding motion on the flat playing surface to impart a desired momentum to the disk so as to score points based upon the proximity of the disk trajectory terminus to a target location. Because of the sliding motion of the game, a flat level playfield throughout its entire length is imperative both to scoring points and to give full credit to the skill of the players.

Such shuffleboard games have been popular for generations, particularly in commercial establishments such as bars and arcades. In such commercial establishments, temperature, humidity or other atmospheric conditions vary greatly due to a variety of factors, including the change in seasons, the use of the establishment's heating and cooling systems and even the number of people present in the establishment at a given time. Despite their basic appeal, the playfield or playing surface of shuffleboard games has been impacted or affected by such changes in temperature, humidity or other atmospheric conditions. Specifically, changes in atmospheric conditions can cause the wooden playfield to warp, thereby making the playing surface upon which the disks or pucks slide uneven or not level. This means that the disks will not slide or travel true to form and will impact the play of the game, resulting in decreased enjoyment and use. To counteract this warping problem, various types of leveling mechanism have been proposed and are known in the art.

Alternatively, there may be instances where a playing surface needs to exhibit a transverse cross-sectional concave pattern to offer variations in the play of the game. In such instances, a mechanism that can introduce warping or some degree of concavity to the playing surface would be desirable.

FIG. 1 discloses a game board 100 as described in U.S. Pat. No. 2,493,620 having a prior art leveling mechanism 102 which includes a pair of end brackets 104 fixedly secured by screws 108 to the game board adjacent to the outer portions thereof and a third central bracket 106 positioned centrally therebetween. The leveling mechanism 102 is spaced on the underside of the game board at a predetermined distance. A rigid beam 110 is secured to the end brackets 104 and a bolt 112 extends through a central opening 114 in the beam 110 for mating with the third central bracket 106. Nuts 116 and 118 control the leveling mechanism 102 as more fully explained in U.S. Pat. No. 2,493,620. Movement of the lower nut 116 and the upper nut 118, both associated with a bolt 112 which mates with the central bracket 106 allows the center portion of the game board 100 to be moved up or down to adjust for warping of the board at its center due to temperature, humidity or other atmospheric conditions. For example, if the game board 100 is slightly convex on its upper surface, the nut 118 will be screwed upwardly on the bolt 112 away from the beam 110 and the nut 116 will be screwed upwardly against the lower surface of the beam thus causing a downward pull on the bolt 112 and also on the bracket 106. The downward pull on the bracket 106 will be communicated to the game board 100 through hanger brackets 120 and 122. Similarly, if the upper surface of the game board is slightly concave, the nut 116 is screwed downwardly on the bolt 112 and the nut 118 is also threaded downwardly so that the pressure of the nut 118 against the upper surface of the beam 110 will cause the bolt 112 to be forced upwardly which in turn forces the bracket 106 upwardly against the under surface of the game board 100. This prior art method and apparatus is cumbersome and complicated, not only in its structure, but also in tightening and loosening the appropriate nuts to accomplish movement in the right direction for effecting the leveling of the game board. This process also often requires the user to loosen and tighten nuts 116 and 118 in a difficult position under the game board 100.

Another prior art leveling mechanism 202 is disclosed in FIG. 2. The mechanism 202 includes two end brackets 204 fixedly secured by screws 208 to the underside of the game board 200 adjacent the outer edges thereof. The mechanism 202 is spaced on the underside of the game board at a predetermined distance. A rigid cylindrical threaded bar or rod 210 is secured to the end brackets through a sleeve member 205 associated with each end bracket and the bar 210 is held in place with a pair of threaded nuts 218, 219 placed inboard and outboard of each of the brackets 204 adjacent each opposite end of each respective sleeve member 205. This arrangement allows for the adjustment of the game board 200 by either loosening the outboard nuts 219 and driving the inboard nuts 218 outward against their respective brackets 204 to create a more concave playing surface, or by loosening the inboard nuts 218 and driving the outboard nuts 219 inward against their respective brackets 204 to create a less concave playing surface. A second method for adjustment with this mechanism requires loosening both the outboard and inboard nuts 219 and 218 adjacent to one of the brackets 204 and driving the inboard nut 218 outward to increase concavity or driving the outboard nut 219 inward to reduce concavity and then tightening the remaining nut to secure the final position. This process is complicated and requires no less than two separate actions to adjust a playing surface. Additionally, since the center rod 210 is free to rotate within the brackets 204, it can be difficult to exert sufficient force upon the rod 210 to prevent it from rotating if all four of the nuts 218 and 219 are loosened during the adjustment procedure. In other words, even if the rod 210 is able to be rotated freely within the brackets 204, the configuration of the nuts and the unidirectional threading of the rod will prevent any adjustment from taking place. As a result, as with the mechanism shown in FIG. 1, this process often requires the user to assume an uncomfortable position underneath the game board to keep the rod 210 secure as the adjustment nuts 218 and 219 are loosened and tightened.

It is therefore desirable to provide an improved adjustment mechanism wherein the user can quickly make the requisite adjustment in one motion without having to assume an uncomfortable position or remove component parts of the mechanism. Accordingly, the present invention is directed to an adjustment mechanism which overcomes one or more of the problems set forth above. Specific advantages and features of the present invention will be apparent from the attached drawings and description of an illustrative embodiment of the invention.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF DISCLOSURE

The present invention teaches the construction and operation of an adjustment mechanism adaptable for use with a game board playfield such as shuffleboard. The object of this invention is to provide a mechanism by which a user may easily adjust the playfield of a shuffleboard or other game boards to correct for warping created by changes in climatic conditions such as temperature and humidity or to induce a desirable degree of concavity to the playfield.

The first exemplary embodiment provides a mechanism for adjusting a game board playing surface including at least two adjusting members secured to the underside of the game board in a transversely spaced arrangement and at least one connecting member attached therebetween. The connecting member is of sufficient length to span the distance between, and connect directly to, the adjusting members and to apply sufficient force necessary to drive the adjusting members away from one another or to pull them toward one another in one motion when the connecting member is rotated in one of two possible directions. The connecting member has a polygonal portion that can be engaged with a tool to enable rotation.

In another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the adjustment mechanism includes a pair of bracket members having threaded sleeve members, one sleeve member having right-hand threads, the other sleeve member having left-hand threads, and a single connecting bar or rod member having right-hand threads on one end portion thereof and left-hand threads on the opposite end portion. The bracket members are connected by the rod member and mounted with screws to the underside of the game board in a transversely spaced alignment adjacent to opposing outer edges of the game board. The connecting bar or rod member includes a polygonal portion that can be engaged with a tool to enable rotation, and its opposed threaded end portions mate with the matching threaded sleeve members associated with the bracket members to create a reverse turnbuckle-style configuration. More specifically, the left hand threaded end portion of the bar member is threaded through the corresponding left hand threaded bracket sleeve member and the right hand threaded end portion of the bar member is threaded through the corresponding right hand threaded bracket sleeve member. Since the first and second bracket sleeve members have respective left and right hand threads and since the opposite end portions of the bar member have corresponding and mating left and right hand threads, rotating the bar member in one direction, such as clockwise, will cause the two bracket members to be drawn towards each other whereas rotating the bar member in the opposite direction, such as counterclockwise, will cause the two bracket members to be drawn away from each other. A wrench, pair of pliers or other suitable tool can be used to fixedly grasp the intermediate polygonal portion of the bar member to rotate the bar member in the proper direction. By way of this configuration, a user is able to apply force, either inwardly or outwardly, to the bracket members by rotating the bar or rod member either clockwise or counterclockwise. The bracket members transfer the inward or outward force generated by the rotation of the bar member to the outer edges of the game board thereby inducing greater or lesser levels of concavity depending upon the direction in which the bar member is rotated. For example, if the game board is slightly convex on its upper surface, the bar member will be rotated so as to exert a force on the bracket members to move the bracket members outwardly away from each other. This movement will be communicated to the game board to adjust the convex warping of the game board. On the other, if the upper surface of the game board is slightly concave, the bar member will be rotated so as to exert a force on the bracket members to move the bracket members inwardly towards each other to compensate for the concave warping of the game board.

It is also anticipated and recognized that a slight amount of warping (concave or convex) can, be introduced into the particular game board or playfield depending upon the type of game involved and depending upon the skill level of the players involved. It is also recognized that any plurality of the present adjustment mechanism can be positioned and located at predetermined locations along the length of the game board, depending upon its overall length, so as to adjust for warping at intermediate locations along the entire length of the game board.

In another exemplary embodiment, a method of removing and/or introducing warp to a game board is disclosed wherein the method includes installing at least one of the present adjustment mechanisms along a stretch of the game board where the warp occurs by attaching the two adjusting members or bracket members to the underside of the game board at the desired location perpendicular to the length of the game board and thereafter rotating the bar member in one direction to increase concavity, or in the opposite direction to reduce concavity of the playing surface. The bar member includes a polygonal or tubular portion that can be engaged with a tool to enable rotation.

These and other objects and advantages of the present adjustment mechanism will become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering the following detailed description of several illustrative embodiments of the present invention in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a partial cross-sectional side elevational view of a game board utilizing the prior art leveling mechanism of U.S. Pat. No. 2,493,620 secured to the under surface thereof.

FIG. 2 is a partial cross-sectional side elevational view of a game board utilizing another prior art leveling mechanism secured to the under surface thereof.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a typical shuffleboard.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the present adjustment mechanism attached to a portion of the underside of a game board having a concave shape.

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the present adjustment mechanism of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a partial cross-sectional side elevational view of the present adjustment mechanism attached to the undersurface of a game board.

FIG. 7 is a bottom planform view of a typical game board such as a shuffleboard illustrating the attachment of a plurality of the present adjustment mechanisms to the underside of a game board.

It should be understood that the present drawings are not necessarily to scale and that the embodiments disclosed herein are sometimes illustrated by fragmentary views. In certain instances, details which are not necessary for an understanding of the present invention or which render other details difficult to perceive may have been omitted. It should also be understood that the invention is not necessarily limited to the particular embodiments illustrated herein. Like numbers utilized throughout the various figures designate like or similar parts or structure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings more particularly by reference numbers, wherein like numerals refer to like parts, FIGS. 4-7 identify one embodiment of an adjustment mechanism for a shuffleboard playing surface or other game board. Two prior art embodiments of known adjustment mechanisms are illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 and are discussed above. An exemplary shuffleboard apparatus 100 is shown in FIG. 3. A typical shuffleboard apparatus 100 includes a playfield 102 shown mounted on the top recessed area of a cradle 104 which is the cabinet or table structure that a typical shuffleboard playfield lays in. The shuffleboard apparatus further includes legs 106 which support the cradle 104, the number of legs depending upon the overall size of the playfield 102. The shuffleboard playfield itself generally includes an elongated member having a rectangular top side 108 with two elongated longitudinally extending side edges 110 and 112, two transversely extending end portions or edges 114 and 116, and a thickness 118. The rectangular top side 108 includes a series of spaced apart numbers such as the numbers “1”, “2” and “3” formed adjacent to each respective end portion 114 and 116, the numbers representing the numbers of points obtained when a puck or disk 120 lands in the numbered zone. The game is played with the disk-like pucks 120 which are propelled across the playfield 102 in a sliding motion from one end thereof towards the scoring zones located at the opposite end of the playfield. The length of the shuffleboard playfield may vary.

The shuffleboard playfield 102 is typically made of wood with the numbers and lines typically painted or etched into the top surface thereof. In a preferred embodiment, the wood material of the shuffleboard playfield 102 should be a relatively hard wood material such as solid maple and the top surface thereof is covered with a polished polymer layer to improve the sliding surface of the playfield. Those skilled in the art will recognize that other materials can likewise be used. Since a typical shuffleboard playfield as well as other game boards is made of a wood material, such playfields such as the playfield 102 are impacted or affected by changes in temperature, humidity or other atmospheric conditions. Specifically, changes in atmospheric conditions can cause the wooden playfield to warp thereby making the playing surface upon which the disks or pucks 120 slide uneven or not level.

In the discussion that follows and also in the drawings, illustrative approaches to the disclosed mechanisms and methods are shown in detail. Although the drawings represent possible approaches, the drawings are not necessarily to scale and certain features may be exaggerated, removed, or partially sectioned to better illustrate and explain the present invention. Further, the descriptions set forth herein are not intended to be exhaustive or otherwise limit or restrict the claims to the precise forms and configurations shown in the drawings and disclosed in the following detailed description.

The present invention is directed to adjustment mechanism 302 for a board game such as a shuffleboard game for correcting warping of the game board due to climate changes such as changes in temperature, humidity or other atmospheric conditions. In a first exemplary embodiment, the mechanism 302 illustrated in FIGS. 4-6 include a pair of adjustment members 304, 305 having threaded sleeve members 306, 307 one of which having right-hand threads and the other having left-hand threads, mounted to the underside of the game board 300 in a transversely spaced alignment. The adjustment members 304, 305 are mounted adjacent to opposing outer edges of the game board 300 and are connected by a single connecting member 310 having opposed threaded end portions 312, 313 in a turnbuckle style configuration such that force may be applied, either inwardly or outwardly, to the adjustment members 304, 305 by rotating the connecting member 310 clockwise or counterclockwise. The adjustment members transfer the inward or outward force to the outer edges of the game board 300 thereby inducing greater or lesser levels of concavity depending upon the direction in which the connecting member 310 is rotated.

The adjustment mechanism 302 may be secured to the game board through the use of fastening members or screws 308 as illustrated in FIGS. 4-6. The adjustment members 304, 305 and connecting member 310 can be made from any suitable metal material such as a metal alloy, an aluminum alloy, steel, an iron alloy, or a composite material strong enough to withstand the pressure necessary to influence the concavity of the game board. The connecting member 310 includes a polygonal or tubular portion 315 that can be engaged by a tool to facilitate rotation.

In another embodiment, the mechanism 302 includes a first bracket member 304 having a sleeve member 306, a second bracket member 305 having a sleeve member 307, a plurality of connectors or fastening members 308 for fixedly mounting the bracket members 304 and 305 to the under surface of a particular game board, and a bar member 310. The first sleeve member 306 includes a first threaded cylindrical hole having left hand threads and the second sleeve member 307 includes a second threaded cylindrical hole having right hand threads 311. The first bracket member 304 is aligned with the second bracket member 305 as best illustrated in FIGS. 4-6 when mounted to the under surface of the game board as will be hereinafter further explained. The threads 309 and 311 can also be described as being mirror images of each other or as being counter directional from each other.

The bar member 310 includes left hand threads 312 on a first cylindrical end portion, right hand threads 313 on a second or opposite cylindrical end portion, and an elongated tubular or polygonal shaped bar portion 315 located intermediate the two cylindrical end portions 312 and 313. The left hand threads 312 bar member 310 are threaded through sleeve member 307 having mating left hand threads 309 and the right hand threads 313 of bar member 310 are threaded through sleeve member 307 having mating right hand threads 311. The bar member 310 can be cooperatively engaged with the respective bracket sleeve members 306 and 307 either prior to fixedly attaching the bracket members 304 and 305 to the under surface of a particular game board, or bar member 310 can be cooperatively engaged with the respective bracket sleeve members once the bracket members are fixedly mounted to the game board depending upon the overall length of bar member 310.

As best illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the adjustment mechanism 302 of the present invention can be fixedly mounted to the under surface of a particular game board 300 such as the under surface of shuffleboard playfield 102 through the use of a plurality of connector members or fastening members such as the threaded screws 308 (FIG. 5). The screw members 308 are respectively inserted through a plurality of respective holes or openings 320 in each respective bracket member 304 and 305. As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 6, the fastener or connector members 308 are attached to the under surface of a playfield board 300. Although the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 4-7 allows for the adjustment mechanism 302 to have at least four connector screws 308 attaching each bracket member to the underside portion of a particular game board 300, it is recognized and anticipated that any number of connector or fastening means such as the connectors 308 can be utilized to attach each respective bracket member to a particular game board. In this regard, both the bracket members 304, 305 as well as connecting bar member 310 can be made from any suitable material such as iron, steel, a metal alloy, or any other suitable material that is strong enough to exert and withstand the forces generated to correct the warping associated with the game board. Obviously, the size and shape of the game board as well as the material from which the game board is constructed will likewise impact the size and strength of the bracket members 304 and 305 as well as the bar member 310.

The central or intermediate portion 315 of bar member 310 is specifically shaped and designed such that a conventional wrench, pair of pliers, vice grips, or any other appropriate tool can be easily engaged with the bar portion 315 so as to rotate the same in either direction, that is, either in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction so as to movingly thread the respective threads 312 and 313 within their respective sleeve members 306 and 307. By attaching or clamping an appropriate tool to the bar portion 315, a user can easily rotate the entire bar member 310 in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction as indicated by the arrow 317 in FIG. 5. Since the opposite end portions of the bar member 310 include opposite threads, namely, left and right hand threads, and since the respective sleeve members 306 and 307 which receive the corresponding opposite end portions of bar member 310 are likewise oppositely threaded as explained above, rotation of the bar member 310 in one direction will cause the two bracket members to be drawn towards each other whereas rotation of the bar member in the opposite direction will cause the two bracket members to be drawn away from each other. Rotation of the bar member 310 in one direction will generate and exert a force on the respective bracket members so as to move those bracket members outwardly away from each other whereas rotation of the bar member 310 in the opposite direction will generate and exert a force on the bracket members so as to move the bracket members inwardly towards each other. Movement of the bracket members either away or towards each other likewise communicates movement to the playing surface of the game board to adjust the playing surface to compensate for climate changes. For example, if the top surface of the game board 300 is slightly convex, the bar member 310 can be rotated in the appropriate direction so as to exert a force on the respective bracket members 304 and 305 to move those bracket members outwardly away from each other. This movement will be communicated to the game board 300 to adjust the convex warping of the game board. In other words, the top surface of the game board 300 will be stretched outwardly to compensate for climate changes. Similarly, if the upper surface of the game board is slightly concave, the bar member 310 can be rotated in the opposite direction so as to exert a force on the bracket members 304 and 305 to move those bracket members inwardly towards each other to compensate for the climate changes. In this regard, the forces generated by rotation of the bar member 310 on the bracket members 304 and 305 act to squeeze or contract the game board 300 to compensate for the climate changes in that particular direction.

As a result, the present adjustment mechanism 302 overcomes many of the problems and shortcomings set forth above with respect to the known prior art leveling mechanisms and allows a user to easily attach an appropriate tool to the bar member 310 so as to easily rotate such bar member in the appropriate direction to compensate for any warping of the top surface of the game board. No nuts, bolts, or any plurality thereof need to be manipulated and/or rotated in order to exert the appropriate pressures to compensate for any warping. Also, a user can quickly make the requisite adjustment to the game board surface without having to assume an uncomfortable position or loosen a plurality of component parts associated with the mechanism.

It is also recognized and anticipated that the present adjustment mechanism 302 can likewise be used to introduce a certain amount of warping, either in the concave or convex direction, depending upon the particular game involved, and depending upon the particular size and shape of the game board or playfield involved. Also, depending upon the skill level of the players involved, concavity can be introduced even to a shuffleboard playfield to increase the degree of difficulty, or to offer variations to the play of the game.

It is also recognized and anticipated that the position and location of the right and left hand threads associated with the bar member 310 and with the respective sleeve members 306 and 307 can likewise be interchanged with each other and that the shape and length of the sleeve members and connecting bar member can vary depending upon the width of the particular game board involved. Still further, although the threads associated with the opposite end portions of the bar member 310 and the respective sleeve members 306 and 307 associated with bracket members 304 and 305 have been described predominantly as left hand threads and right hand threads, other descriptions of such threads are likewise known to those skilled in the art including describing such variations in threads as being opposite threads, mirror images of each other, or counter threads. So long as rotation of the bar member 310 in one direction exerts a force to move the bracket members away from each other and so long as rotation of the bar member in the opposite direction exerts a force so as to move the bracket members towards each other, the exact description and location of the threads 309, 312 and 311 and 313 is not important.

Based upon the construction and operation of the present adjustment mechanism 302, a user can easily adjust for warping of the game board due to climate changes. In fact, the present invention discloses an exemplary embodiment of a method for both removing and/or introducing warp to a game board depending upon the specific conditions of the game board and/or the desires of the user or players of the particular game. The present method for correcting warp and/or for introducing warp to a game board includes installing or mounting at least one of the present adjustment mechanisms 302 along a stretch of the game board where the warp or desired change needs to occur. This is accomplished by attaching or mounting the two adjustment members or bracket members 304 and 305 to the under surface of the game board 300 at the desired location perpendicular to the longitudinal length of the particular game board. Once the bracket members 304 and 305 and the connecting bar member 310 are appropriately mounted to the game board as described above, rotation of the connecting member or bar member 310 in one direction will increase concavity of the playing surface as described above whereas rotation of the connecting member or bar member 310 in the counter or opposite direction will reduce concavity of the playing surface as previously described. In one embodiment, rotation of the bar member 310 in one direction will exert an inward force along the length of the bar member towards the two respective bracket members 304 and 305 thereby pulling the respective bracket members 304 and 305 towards one another so as to squeeze or contract the game board thereby reducing concavity and/or removing or introducing warp as desired. Similarly, if the connecting member or bar member 310 is rotated in the opposite direction, an outward force is exerted along the length of the bar member 310 towards the two respective bracket members 304 and 305 so as to drive the bracket members away from one another thereby increasing concavity of the playing surface and stretching the game board to remove and/or introduce warp as necessary. As described above, the connecting member or rod member 310 includes a polygonal or tubular portion 315 which is positioned and located to enable easy engagement of an appropriate tool to facilitate rotation of the bar member 310 as previously described. As explained above, any plurality of adjustment mechanisms 302 can be positioned at predetermined spaced locations along the longitudinal length of the game board 300 to compensate for warp or to create the desired level of concavity across the entire length of the game board 300.

It is also recognized and anticipated that the turnbuckle style configuration of the present adjustment mechanism 302 which produces a force, either inwardly or outwardly, with respect to the adjustment members or bracket members 304 and 305 by rotating the connecting bar member 310 either clockwise or counterclockwise can be achieved by means other than the left hand and right hand threads described above with respect to the present mechanism 302. In this regard, another exemplary embodiment of the present invention may include attaching the connecting member or bar member 310 to the adjusting members or bracket members 304 and 305 such that they employ a joint that is able to pivot with respect to the adjusting members. This embodiment utilizes a connecting member having two independent and counter-threaded shafts connected by an internally threaded sleeve commonly known in the art as a “turnbuckle”. The independent shafts terminate at the respective ball and socket or pivot joints. When the internally threaded sleeve is rotated, it effectively increases or decreases the length of the connecting member and in turn applies force to the adjusting members through the joints thereby driving them away from, or pulling them towards, one another and effectively increasing or decreasing the concavity of the game board. The preferred embodiment of the turnbuckle mechanism has a polygonal shaped sleeve member with internal threads enabling engagement with a tool to facilitate rotation as described above.

When the present adjustment mechanism is utilized on a typical shuffleboard apparatus, it is anticipated that a plurality of the adjustment mechanisms 302 will be mounted or attached to the under surface of the game board at spaced locations along the entire length of the game board wherein the space between the respective mechanisms will be about 2 to 3 feet. Obviously, other spacing arrangements are likewise anticipated and recognized depending upon the particular game board involved.

While the present disclosure is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments of the present invention have been shown by way of example in the drawings. It should be understood, however, that the drawings and detailed description presented herein are not intended to limit the disclosure to the particular embodiments disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling with the spirit and scope of the present disclosure as defined by the appended claims.

Thus, there has been shown and described several embodiments of a novel adjustment mechanism for shuffleboards and other game boards. As is evident from the foregoing description, certain aspects of the present invention are not limited by the particular details of the examples illustrated herein, and it is therefore contemplated that other modifications and applications, or equivalents thereof, will occur to those skilled in the art. The terms “having” and “including” and similar terms as used in the foregoing specification are used in the sense of “optional” or “may include” and not as “required”. Many changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications of the present invention will, however, become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering this specification and the accompanying drawings. All such changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention are deemed to be covered by the invention which is limited only by the claims which follow. All defined terms used in the application are intended to be given their broadest reasonable constructions consistent with the definitions provided herein. All undefined terms used in the claims are intended to be given their broadest reasonable constructions consistent with their ordinary meanings as understood by those skilled in the art unless an explicit indication to the contrary is made herein. In particular, use of the singular articles such as “a,” “the,” “said,” etc., should be read to recite one or more of the indicated elements unless a claim recites an explicit limitation to the contrary.