Title:
Reinforcing strut for furniture
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention resides in a new reinforced furniture strut, a method of constructing furniture in a modular fashion using a reinforcing strut and a method of constructing a chair in modular fashion incorporating the reinforcing strut for narrow package shipping. This invention satisfies the long felt need of providing furniture that may be repeatedly assembled and disassembled without substantial wear and damage to the furniture materials, yet result in a stable, high-quality piece of furniture, and without unappealing external bracing or the like. The present invention solves these problems by providing a strut containing a metal (or other rigid material) rod encased in the material the furniture is constructed of. The ends of the rod are threaded to allow the strut to be affixed to the furniture piece with a nut or bolt. These reinforcing struts appear to be ordinary furniture components but instead possess the strength of metal.



Inventors:
Wu, Sandy (Pomona, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/881141
Publication Date:
12/20/2001
Filing Date:
06/14/2001
Assignee:
WU SANDY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C4/02; (IPC1-7): A47C4/02
View Patent Images:
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20090014106Disposable highchair tray coversJanuary, 2009Barrell
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20070176468Seating or reclining furnitureAugust, 2007De Ruiter
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Primary Examiner:
GARRETT, ERIKA P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hongfei He (Richwood Imports, Inc.) (Ontario, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A reinforcing strut for furniture comprising: a strut shell, said strut shell being made from a rigid material, said strut shell having a first end, a second end, an outer surface, a first predetermined length and a hollow space having an inner cross sectional expanse along the length of said hollow space, said hollow space running axially from said first end to said second end down the center of said strut shell; a rod having a first end, a second end and an outer cross sectional expanse, said outer cross sectional expanse running from said first end to said second end of said rod, said outer cross sectional expanse being sized in relation to said inner cross sectional expanse so that said rod being encaseable within said hollow space of said strut shell; and said first end of said rod having a first attachment means, said second end of said rod having a second attachment means.

2. A reinforcing strut for furniture according to claim 1, wherein said strut shell being made from wood.

3. A reinforcing strut for furniture according to claim 1, wherein said strut shell being made from metal.

4. A reinforcing strut for furniture according to claim 1, wherein said strut shell being made from fiberglass.

5. A reinforcing strut for furniture according to claim 1, wherein said strut shell being made from plastic.

6. A reinforcing strut for furniture according to claim 1, wherein said strut shell being formed from corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface.

7. A reinforcing strut for furniture according to claim 1, wherein said strut shell being formed from pressed particulate matter.

8. A reinforcing strut for furniture according to claim 1, wherein said first attachment means incorporating female internal threading and a bolt.

9. A reinforcing strut for furniture according to claim 1, wherein said second attachment means incorporating female internal threading and a bolt.

10. A reinforcing strut for furniture according to claim 1, wherein said first attachment means incorporating male external threading and a nut.

11. A reinforcing strut for furniture according to claim 1, wherein said second attachment means incorporating male external threading and a nut.

12. A reinforcing strut for furniture according to claim 1, wherein said rod being made from plastic.

13. A reinforcing strut for furniture according to claim 1, wherein said rod being made from metal.

14. A method of constructing furniture in modular fashion using a reinforcing strut, comprising the steps of: connecting said first attachment means of said reinforcing strut to a first furniture member; connecting said second attachment means of the same said reinforcing strut to a second furniture member; and installing a plurality of remaining said reinforcing struts and other furniture components that complete the piece of furniture, said reinforcing strut prevents relative movement of all furniture components, thus increasing stability.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein said first side member being made from metal, said second side member being made from metal and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture being made from metal.

16. The method of claim 14, wherein said first side member being made from wood, said second side member being made from wood and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture being made from wood.

17. The method of claim 14, wherein said first side member being made from plastic, said second side member being made from plastic and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture being made from plastic.

18. The method of claim 14, wherein said first side member being formed from corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface, said second side member being formed from corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture being formed from corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface.

19. The method of claim 14, wherein said first side member being formed from pressed particulate matter, said second side member being formed from pressed particulate matter and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture being formed from pressed particulate matter.

20. The method of constructing a chair in modular fashion using a reinforcing strut, comprising the steps of: connecting said first attachment means of said reinforcing strut to a first chair member; connecting said second attachment means of the same said reinforcing strut to a second chair member; and installing a plurality of remaining said reinforcing struts and other chair components that complete the chair, said reinforcing strut prevents relative movement of all chair components, thus increasing stability.

21. The method of claim 20, wherein said first chair member forming a front leg, a back leg and a backrest support, said second chair member forming a front leg, a back leg and a backrest support and said plurality of occupant support components comprising a backrest and a seat pan.

22. The method of claim 20, wherein said first chair member forming both front legs and a seat pan support, said second chair member forming both back legs, a seat pan support and a backrest and said plurality of occupant support components comprising a seat pan.

23. The method of claim 20, wherein said first chair member being made from metal, said second chair member being made from metal and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture being made from metal.

24. The method of claim 20, wherein said first chair member being made from wood, said second chair member being made from wood and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture being made from wood.

25. The method of claim 20, wherein said first chair member being made from plastic, said second chair member being made from plastic and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture being made from plastic.

26. The method of claim 20, wherein said first chair member being formed from corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface, said second chair member being formed from corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture being formed from corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface.

27. The method of claim 20, wherein said first chair member being formed from pressed particulate matter, said second chair being formed from pressed particulate matter and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of being formed from pressed particulate matter.

28. A method of constructing furniture in modular fashion for narrow package shipping using a reinforcing strut, comprising the steps of: constructing a first planar, furniture side member; constructing a second planar, corresponding furniture side member; and constructing a plurality of planar furniture components needed to complete the piece; and packaging a said first planar, furniture side member, a said second planar, corresponding furniture side member, a said plurality of planar furniture components and a plurality of said reinforcing struts inside a narrow shipping container.

29. The method of claim 28, wherein said first side member being made from metal, said second side member being made from metal and said plurality of planar furniture components needed to complete the piece being made from metal.

30. The method of claim 28, wherein said first side member being made from wood, said second side member being made from wood and said plurality of planar furniture components needed to complete the piece being made from wood.

31. The method of claim 28, wherein said first side member being made from plastic, said second side member being made from plastic and said plurality of planar furniture components needed to complete the piece being made from plastic.

32. The method of claim 28, wherein said first side member being formed from corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface, said second side member being formed from corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture being formed from corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface.

33. The method of claim 28, wherein said first side member being formed from pressed particulate matter, said second side being formed from pressed particulate matter and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture being formed from pressed particulate matter.

34. A method of constructing a chair in modular fashion for narrow package shipping using a reinforcing strut, comprising the steps of: constructing a first planar, chair side member; constructing a second planar, corresponding chair side member; and constructing a plurality of occupant support components completing the chair; and packaging said first planar, chair side member, a said second planar, corresponding chair side member, a said plurality of occupant support components and a plurality of said reinforcing struts inside a narrow shipping container.

35. The method of claim 34, wherein said first planar, chair side member forming a front leg, a back leg and a backrest support, said second planar, corresponding chair side member forming a front leg, a back leg and a backrest support and said plurality of occupant support components being a backrest and a seat pan.

36. The method of claim 34, wherein said first planar, chair side member forming both front legs and a seat pan support, wherein said second planar, corresponding chair side member forming both back legs, a seat pan support and a backrest and said plurality of occupant support components being a seat pan.

37. The method of claim 34, wherein said first planar, chair side member being made from metal, said second planar, corresponding chair side member being made from metal and said plurality of planar furniture components needed to complete the piece being made from metal.

38. The method of claim 34, wherein said first planar, chair side member being made from wood, said second planar, corresponding chair side member being made from wood and said plurality of planar furniture components needed to complete the piece being made from wood.

39. The method of claim 34, wherein said first planar, chair side member being made from plastic, said second planar, corresponding chair side member being made from plastic and said plurality of planar furniture components needed to complete the piece being made from plastic.

40. The method of claim 34, wherein said first planar, chair side member being formed from corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface, said second planar, corresponding chair side member being formed from corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture being formed from corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface.

41. The method of claim 34, wherein said first planar, chair side being formed from pressed particulate matter, said second planar, corresponding chair being formed from pressed particulate matter and said plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture being formed from pressed particulate matter.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO A MICROFICHE APPENDIX

[0003] Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0004] 1. Field of the Invention

[0005] The present invention relates to furniture assembly and more specifically to an improved chair having pleasing aesthetic characteristics and employing a combination of metal and wood in a new and improved strut to impart adequate strength and durability and a method for using that strut to brace and reinforce furniture.

[0006] 2. Description of the Background Art

[0007] Chairs of many designs are known. Generally, metal can be extremely functional and durable by virtue of the strength characteristics imparted by metal. Metal can also be quite heavy and does not create the warm ambience provided by wood. Wood, on the other hand, may not impart adequate strength and durability when used in furniture construction. The great majority of furniture such as tables, chairs and the like are assembled from component parts that are permanently affixed to each other. It is well known in the art to use attachments such as glue, nails, screws, angled metal braces and the like to permanently affix the legs and other components of a piece of furniture together.

[0008] These prior art attachments work well for furniture that is to be permanently assembled in the factory, shipping of the permanently assembled furniture is quite costly. Assembled furniture takes up a great deal of volume making shipping more expensive. What is needed is furniture with the flexibility of shipping a disassembled chair to the location of its use in a low volume container and a design that affords easy assembly by an inexperienced person of furniture with strength and durability exceeding an all wood, factory assembled furniture.

[0009] While these prior art attachments work well for furniture that is to be permanently assembled, a problem arises with these attachments in the context of furniture that must be repeatedly assembled and disassembled, such as furniture that is leased or rented for special events. This type of furniture is assembled for short-term use and afterwards disassembled for storage and transportation. Such assembly and disassembly is very wearing on the component parts of furniture, especially to the joints, and such repeated assembly and disassembly leads to materials fatigue, wear and failure of the component parts.

[0010] Efforts have been made in the past to construct furniture specifically for such temporary use. Chairs, for example, have been assembled using hinged joints to connect the legs that allow the user to fold the chair for stacking and storage. These types of chairs, however, are as a class relatively flimsy and perceived as being of lower quality than those constructions achievable with permanent assembly. Compromises must inherently be made between the goals of constructing the chair to be stable and also to be collapsible. Other methods and constructions suffer from the same compromise between convenience and sturdiness, resulting in convenient but low quality furniture.

[0011] Stability or sturdiness, as used in this context, refers to the relative movement of the parts of a piece of furniture. In more poorly constructed furniture the parts are loosely attached, allowing the piece of furniture to sway and wobble. This swaying leads itself to additional wear as the joints are loaded from repeated bending and twisting.

[0012] In the past this problem has been addressed, for example, by providing external bracing, such as angled metal braces or metal sleeves to cover joints. Such constructions, however, make the furniture more difficult to assemble and disassemble. Moreover, furniture having external metal bracing is perceived as being unaesthetic and of low quality.

[0013] What is needed then is a construction for furniture that may be repeatedly assembled and disassembled without substantial wear and damage to the furniture materials, yet result in a stable, high-quality piece of furniture, and without unappealing external bracing or the like.

[0014] An objective of this invention is to provide a strut that appears to be an ordinary furniture component but instead possesses the tensile strength of metal. Another objective of this invention is to provide a strut that has greatly increased bending strength and impact resistance. Yet another objective of this invention is to provide a strut that when incorporated into the structure of the furniture, provides a very sturdy and therefore a very stable piece of furniture. Still another objective of this invention is to provide a method of construction that facilitates rapid assembly and disassembly without substantial wear, so as to retain the aesthetic quality of the furniture. Another objective is to provide a strut with threaded attachment ends that allow the strut to be affixed to the furniture piece with a nut or bolt. A final objective of this invention is to provided a strut that when incorporated into the structure of the furniture, allows the chair to be stored in a narrow package shipping container and easily and quickly assembled or disassembled by an average consumer.

[0015] The present invention satisfies these needs, as well as others, and generally solves the deficiencies found in the background art.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0016] The following description is provided for the purpose of describing an example and specific embodiment of the invention only and is not intended to exhaustively describe all possible examples and embodiments of the invention.

[0017] The present invention resides in a reinforcing strut for furniture. The reinforcing strut for furniture includes a strut shell. The strut shell is made from a rigid material. The strut shell has a first end, a second end, an outer surface, a first predetermined length and a hollow space with an inner cross sectional expanse along the length of the hollow space. The hollow space runs axially from the first end to the second end down the center of the strut shell.

[0018] A rod is provided. The rod has a first end, a second end and an outer cross sectional expanse. The outer cross sectional expanse runs from the first end to the second end of the rod. The outer cross sectional expanse is sized in relation to the inner cross sectional expanse so that the rod is encaseable within the hollow space of the strut shell. The first end of the rod has a first attachment means. The second end of the rod has a second attachment means.

[0019] The strut shell can be made from wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic, corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface, formed from pressed particulate matter or any other furniture material.

[0020] The first and second attachment means can incorporate either female internal threading and a bolt or male external threading and a nut.

[0021] The encased rod of the reinforcing strut can be made from plastic, metal, fiberglass, plastic or any other suitable material.

[0022] The invention also includes a method of constructing furniture in modular fashion using the reinforcing strut according to the following steps. Connect the first attachment means of the reinforcing strut to a first furniture member. Connect the second attachment means of the reinforcing strut to a second furniture member, thus forming a pair of spaced-apart, first and second side members, rigidly connected by the reinforcing strut. Install the remaining reinforcing struts according to the above procedure while also installing the other furniture components that complete the piece of furniture. The reinforcing struts prevent relative movement of all furniture components, thus increasing stability.

[0023] The first side member, the second side member and plurality of furniture components that complete the piece of furniture can be made from wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic, corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface, formed from pressed particulate matter or any other furniture material.

[0024] The invention also includes a method of constructing a chair in modular fashion using the reinforcing strut according to the following steps. Connect the first attachment means of the reinforcing strut to a first chair member. Connect the second attachment means of the reinforcing strut to a second chair member, thus forming a pair of spaced-apart, first and second chair members, rigidly connected by the reinforcing strut. Install the remaining reinforcing struts according to the above procedure while also installing the other chair components that complete the chair. The reinforcing struts prevent relative movement of all chair components, thus increasing stability.

[0025] A rigid strut that is rigidly attached provides superior bracing and reinforced stability for the chair by preventing relative movement of the vertical legs and back. This construction provides a stable platform to hold the seat and therefore a stable chair for the user to sit on.

[0026] The first chair member, the second chair member and the other chair components that complete the chair can be made from wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic, corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface, formed from pressed particulate matter or any other furniture material.

[0027] The first chair member can include a front leg, a back leg and a backrest support. The second chair member can include a corresponding front leg, back leg and backrest support. The plurality of occupant support components includes a backrest and a seat pan.

[0028] The first chair member can include both front legs and a seat pan support. The second chair member can include corresponding back legs, a seat pan support and a backrest. The plurality of occupant support components includes a seat pan.

[0029] The invention also includes a method of constructing furniture in modular fashion for narrow package shipping using the reinforcing strut according to the following steps. Constructing a first planar, furniture side member. Constructing a second planar, corresponding furniture side member. Constructing a plurality of planar furniture components needed to complete the piece. Packaging the first planar, furniture side member, the second planar, corresponding furniture side member, a plurality of planar furniture components and a plurality of reinforcing struts inside a narrow shipping container.

[0030] The first planar, furniture side member, the second planar, corresponding furniture side member and plurality of planar furniture components that complete the piece of furniture can be made from wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic, corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface, formed from pressed particulate matter or any other furniture material.

[0031] The invention also includes a method of constructing a chair in modular fashion for narrow package shipping using the reinforcing strut according to the following steps. Constructing a first planar, chair side member. Constructing a second planar, corresponding chair side member. Constructing a plurality of occupant support components completing the chair. Packaging the first planar, chair side member, the second planar, corresponding chair side member, a plurality of occupant support components completing the chair and a plurality of reinforcing struts inside a narrow shipping container.

[0032] The first planar, chair side member, the second planar, corresponding chair side member and the other chair components that complete the chair can be made from wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic, corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface, formed from pressed particulate matter or any other furniture material.

[0033] The first planar, chair side member can include a front leg, a back leg and a backrest support. The second planar, corresponding chair side member can include a corresponding front leg, back leg and backrest support. The plurality of occupant support components includes a backrest and a seat pan.

[0034] The first planar, chair side member can include both front legs and a seat pan support. The second planar, corresponding chair side member can include corresponding back legs, a seat pan support and a backrest. The plurality of occupant support components includes a seat pan.

[0035] The reinforcing strut satisfies the objective that it appears to be an ordinary furniture component but instead possesses the tensile strength of metal. The reinforcing strut satisfies the objective that it has greatly increased bending strength and impact resistance. The reinforcing strut satisfies the objective that when incorporated into the structure of the furniture, provides a very sturdy and therefore a very stable piece of furniture The reinforcing strut satisfies the objective that it provide a method of construction that facilitates rapid assembly and disassembly without substantial wear, so as to retain the aesthetic quality of the furniture. The reinforcing strut satisfies another objective since it has threaded attachment ends that allow the strut to be affixed to the furniture piece with a nut or bolt. The reinforcing strut satisfies a final objective to provided a strut that when incorporated into the structure of the furniture, allows the chair to be stored in a narrow package-shipping container and easily and quickly assembled or disassembled by an average consumer.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0036] The invention will be more fully understood by reference to the following drawings that are for illustrative purposes only:

[0037] FIG. 1 is a perspective exploded view of the reinforcing strut assembly with rod end female internal threading and bolt attachment means;

[0038] FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of the strut shell;

[0039] FIG. 3 is a perspective exploded view of the reinforcing strut assembly with rod end male external threading and nut attachment means;

[0040] FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the strut shell;

[0041] FIG. 5 is a perspective exploded view of a chair assembly incorporating the reinforcing strut assembly;

[0042] FIG. 6 is a perspective exploded view of a chair assembly incorporating the reinforcing strut assembly;

[0043] FIG. 7 is a perspective exploded view of the modular chair assembly for narrow package shipping.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0044] The following description is provided for the purpose of describing an example and specific embodiment of the invention only and is not intended to exhaustively describe all possible examples and embodiments of the invention.

[0045] Referring more specifically to the drawings, the present invention is embodied in the apparatus generally shown in FIGS. 1 through 4.

[0046] The present invention resides in a reinforcing strut 12 for furniture. The reinforcing strut 12 for furniture includes a strut shell 16. The strut shell 16 is made from a rigid material. The strut shell 16 has a first end 20, a second end 24, an outer surface 28, a first predetermined length and a hollow space 32 with an inner cross sectional expanse 36 along the length of said hollow space 32. The hollow space 32 runs axially from the first end 20 to the second end 24 down the center of the strut shell 16.

[0047] A rod 40 is provided. The rod 40 has a first end 44, a second end 48 and an outer cross sectional expanse 52. The outer cross sectional expanse 52 runs from the first end 44 to the second end 48 of the rod 40. The outer cross sectional expanse 52 is sized in relation to the inner cross sectional expanse 36 so that the rod 40 is encaseable within the hollow space 32 of the strut shell 16. The first end 44 of the rod 40 has a first attachment means 56. The second end 48 of the rod 40 has a second attachment means 60.

[0048] The strut shell 16 can be made from wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic, corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface, formed from pressed particulate matter or any other furniture material.

[0049] The first 56 and second attachment means 60 can incorporate either female internal threading and a bolt or male external threading and a nut.

[0050] The encased rod 40 of the reinforcing strut 12 can be made from plastic, metal, fiberglass, plastic or any other suitable material.

[0051] Referring more specifically to the drawings, the method of using the reinforcing strut is embodied in FIGS. 5 and 6.

[0052] As shown in FIG. 5, the invention also includes a method of constructing a chair 10 in modular fashion using the reinforcing strut 14 according to the following steps. Connect the first attachment means 18 of the reinforcing strut 14 to a first chair member 70. Connect the second attachment means 26 of the reinforcing strut 14 to a second chair member 78, thus forming a pair of spaced-apart, first 70 and second 78 chair members, rigidly connected by the reinforcing strut 14. Install the remaining reinforcing struts 14 according to the above procedure while also installing the other chair components that complete the chair 10. The reinforcing struts prevent relative movement of all chair components, thus increasing stability.

[0053] The first chair member 70, the second chair member 78 and the other chair components that complete the chair 10 can be made from wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic, corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface, formed from pressed particulate matter or any other furniture material.

[0054] The first chair member 70 can include both front legs 66 and a seat pan support 74. The second chair member 78 can include corresponding back legs 82, a seat pan support and a backrest 90. The plurality of occupant support components includes a seat pan 94.

[0055] As shown in FIG. 6, the first chair member 22 can include a front leg 34, a back leg 38, a seat pan support 64 and a backrest support 42. The second chair member 30 can include a corresponding front leg 46, back leg 50, a seat pan support 68 and backrest support 54. The plurality of occupant support components includes a backrest 58 and a seat pan 62.

[0056] As shown in FIG. 7, the invention also includes a method of constructing a chair in modular fashion for narrow package shipping using the reinforcing strut 14 according to the following steps. Constructing a first planar, chair side member 110. Constructing a second planar, corresponding chair side member 118. Constructing a plurality of occupant, support components completing the chair 122. Packaging the first planar, chair side member 110, the second planar, corresponding chair side member 114, a plurality of occupant, support components completing the chair 122 and a plurality of reinforcing struts 14 inside a narrow shipping container 118.

[0057] The first planar, chair side member 110, the second planar, corresponding chair side member 114 and the other chair components that complete the chair 122 can be made from wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic, corrugated cardboard with a laminated outer surface, formed from pressed particulate matter or any other furniture material.

[0058] The first planar, chair side member 110 can include a front leg, a back leg and a backrest support. The second planar, corresponding chair side member 114 can include a corresponding front leg, back leg and backrest support. The plurality of occupant support components includes a backrest and a seat pan.

[0059] The first planar, chair side member 110 can include both front legs and a seat pan support. The second planar, corresponding chair side member 114 can include corresponding back legs, a seat pan support and a backrest. The plurality of occupant support components includes a seat pan.