Title:
Columnar jack concealing device and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a device for concealing and covering a jack for columnar supports and a method of concealing a jack using a jack concealing kit with a columnar support. The device comprises a strap member, a skirt sized and shaped for covering the jack, and a band member for attaching the skirt to the strap member. The strap member is sized and shaped for folding over and enclosing the band member and a portion of the skirt. A further embodiment provides a jack concealing kit for columnar supports. The kit comprises a jack for supporting the columnar support, an adjustable strap member, an adjustable shield member, and an adjustable clamp member. The adjustable clamp member can attach the adjustable shield member with the adjustable strap member to the columnar support. The adjustable shield member can conceal and shield the jack and the adjustable strap member can enclose the adjustable clamp member. Further embodiments of the invention provide adjustable shield members, a stiff skirt, that are constructed of a malleable material that can attach to itself and can be secured to the columnar support for concealing the jack.



Inventors:
Eden, Scott A. (Dunbar, WI, US)
Application Number:
10/056191
Publication Date:
12/05/2002
Filing Date:
01/23/2002
Assignee:
EDEN SCOTT A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C3/30; (IPC1-7): E04C3/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
A, PHI DIEU TRAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Charles F. Meroni, Jr. (Barrington, IL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. In combination, a jack concealing structure for a columnar support of a structure comprising: an adjustable jack; a stiff skirt circumferentially adjustable about itself relative to the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack; and securement means for securing the stiff skirt to the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack, the adjustable jack for supporting and securing the columnar support.

2. The combination of claim 1, wherein the stiff skirt is constructed of a malleable material.

3. The combination of claim 2, wherein the stiff skirt is constructed of copper.

4. The combination of claim 1, wherein the stiff skirt has a tab structure and an edge folded over upon itself for receiving the tab structure for circumferentially adjusting the stiff skirt about itself.

5. The combination of claim 1, wherein the stiff skirt is circumferentially adjusted about itself using a nail, a screw, a machine screw and nut, or solder.

6. The combination of claim 1, wherein the stiff skirt has a tab structure and an edge folded over upon itself for receiving the tab structure for circumferentially adjusting the stiff skirt about itself and about the columnar support.

7. The combination of claim 6, wherein the stiff skirt is circumferentially adjusted about itself and the columnar support using a nail, a screw, a machine screw and nut, or solder.

8. The combination of claim 1, wherein the stiff skirt is soldered for circumferentially adjusting the stiff skirt about itself and for subsequent slidable placement around and over the columnar support.

9. The combination of claim 1, wherein the securement means is selected from the group consisting of nails, screws, machine screw and nut, and solder.

10. The combination of claim 1, wherein the stiff skirt has a square shape.

11. The combination of claim 1, wherein the stiff skirt has a circular shape.

12. The combination of claim 11, further comprising an adjustable clamp member for temporarily holding the stiff skirt in circumferential adjustment about itself in preparation for adjustment and securement to the columnar support.

13. The combination of claim 12, wherein the adjustable clamp is selected from the group consisting of an alligator clip and strap, a screw band clamp, a rope, and a synthetic clamp.

14. The combination of claim 1, wherein the stiff skirt is welded for circumferentially adjusting the stiff skirt about itself and for subsequent slidable placement around and over the columnar support.

15. The combination of claim 1, wherein the stiff skirt is secured to an upper portion of the columnar support.

16. The combination of claim 1, wherein the stiff skirt is secured to a lower portion of the columnar support.

17. A jack concealing kit for a columnar support comprising: a jack for supporting the columnar support; and an adjustable shield member for adjustment about itself, for conforming to the columnar support, and for concealing and shielding the jack.

18. The jack concealing kit of claim 17, wherein the adjustable shield member is a stiff skirt having a tab structure and an edge folded over upon itself for receiving the tab structure for circumferentially adjusting the stiff skirt about itself and about the columnar support.

19. The jack concealing kit of claim 17, wherein the adjustable shield member is soldered to itself to form a sleeve for slidable placement along the columnar support for concealing the jack.

20. The jack concealing kit of claim 17, further comprising securement means for attaching the adjustable shield member to the columnar support.

21. The jack concealing kit of claim 20, wherein the securement means is selected from the group consisting of nails, screws, machine screw and nut, and solder.

22. The jack concealing kit of claim 17, further comprising an adjustable clamp member for temporarily holding the adjustable shield member in circumferential adjustment about itself in preparation for adjustment and securement to the columnar support.

23. The jack concealing kit of claim 22, wherein the adjustable clamp is selected from the group consisting of an alligator clip and strap, a screw band clamp, a rope, and a synthetic clamp.

24. The jack concealing kit of claim 17, wherein the adjustable shield member has a square shape or a circular shape.

25. In combination, a jack concealing structure comprising: a columnar support of a structure; an adjustable jack; and a stiff skirt circumferentially adjustable about itself relative to the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack, the adjustable jack for supporting and securing the columnar support to the structure.

26. The combination of claim 25, further comprising securement means for securing the stiff skirt to the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack.

27. The combination of claim 26, wherein the securement means is selected from the group consisting of nails, screws, machine screw and nut, and solder.

28. The combination of claim 26, further comprising an adjustable clamp member for temporarily holding the stiff skirt in circumferential adjustment about itself in preparation for adjustment and securement to the columnar support.

29. The combination of claim 28, wherein the adjustable clamp is selected from the group consisting of an alligator clip and strap, a screw band clamp, a rope, and a synthetic clamp.

30. The combination of claim 25, wherein the stiff skirt is soldered to itself for forming a sleeve for slidable placement over and around the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack.

31. The combination of claim 25, wherein the stiff skirt is secured to an upper portion of the columnar support.

32. The combination of claim 25, wherein the stiff skirt is secured to a lower portion of the columnar support.

33. A jack concealing apparatus for a jack supporting a columnar support of a structure comprising: a stiff skirt constructed of a malleable material, the stiff skirt being circumferentially adjustable about itself relative to the columnar support for concealing the jack.

34. The jack concealing apparatus of claim 33, further comprising securement means for securing the stiff skirt to the columnar support for concealing the jack.

35. The jack concealing apparatus of claim 34, further comprising an adjustable clamp member for temporarily holding the stiff skirt in circumferential adjustment about itself in preparation for adjustment and securement to the columnar support.

36. The jack concealing apparatus of claim 33, wherein the stiff skirt is soldered to itself for forming a sleeve for slidable placement over and around the columnar support for concealing the jack.

37. A jack concealing device for concealing a jack supporting a columnar support of a structure comprising: a stiff skirt constructed of a malleable material and sized for wrapping about itself and for concealing the jack supporting the columnar support; a tie-down strap for temporarily clasping the stiff skirt about itself and the columnar support; and securement means for securing the stiff skirt to the columnar support.

38. The jack concealing device of claim 37, wherein the stiff skirt has a circular shape.

39. The jack concealing device of claim 37, wherein the tie-down strap is an alligator clip and strap.

40. The jack concealing device of claim 37, wherein the tie-down strap is a screw band clamp.

41. The jack concealing device of claim 37, wherein the stiff skirt is secured to an upper portion of the columnar support.

42. The jack concealing device of claim 37, wherein the stiff skirt is secured to a lower portion of the columnar support.

43. The jack concealing device of claim 37, wherein securement means is selected from the group consisting of nails, screws, machine screw and nut, and solder.

44. A jack concealing device for a columnar support of a structure comprising: a jack for supporting and securing the columnar support to the structure; a stiff skirt constructed of a malleable material and sized for wrapping about itself and for concealing the jack; securement means for securing the stiff skirt to the columnar support; and a flexible skirt constructed of a fabric-type material and sized for wrapping about the columnar support for concealing the securement means.

45. The jack concealing device of claim 44, wherein the stiff skirt has a square shape and has a tab structure and an edge folded over upon itself for receiving the tab structure for wrapping the stiff skirt about itself.

46. The jack concealing device of claim 44, wherein securement means is selected from the group consisting of nails, screws, machine screw and nut, and solder.

47. The jack concealing device of claim 44, wherein the stiff skirt is secured to an upper portion of the columnar support.

48. The jack concealing device of claim 44, wherein the stiff skirt is secured to a lower portion of the columnar support.

49. A method of installing a jack concealing device comprising the acts of: providing a jack, a columnar support, and the jack concealing device; installing and securing the jack to the columnar support; wrapping the jack concealing device around the jack and the columnar support; wrapping the jack concealing device about itself; wrapping a tie-down strap around the wrapped jack concealing device; and adjusting and securing the wrapped tie-down strap for securing the wrapped jack concealing device to the columnar support.

50. The method of claim 49, further including securing the wrapped jack concealing device to the columnar support with securement means.

51. The method of claim 50, further including removing the wrapped tie-down strap from secured jack concealing device.

52. The method of claim 51, further including removing the secured jack concealing device for adjusting the jack and the columnar support.

53. The method of claim 49, wherein wrapping the jack concealing device about itself includes inserting a tab structure into an opposing folded edge for securing the wrapped jack concealing device about itself without the use of the tie-down strap.

54. The method of claim 53, further including bending an edge of the jack concealing device upon itself for creating the folded edge and bending the jack concealing device to conform to the shape of the columnar support and for creating the tab structure.

55. The method of claim 49, wherein wrapping the jack concealing device about itself includes conforming the jack concealing device to the shape of the columnar support.

56. A method of installing a jack concealing device comprising the acts of: providing a jack, a columnar support, and the jack concealing device; wrapping and securing the jack concealing device about itself; sliding the secured jack concealing device over the columnar support; installing and securing the jack to the columnar support; and sliding the secured jack concealing device over the jack.

57. The method of claim 56, further including securing the secured jack concealing device to the columnar support with securement means.

58. The method of claim 57, further including removing the securement means for adjusting the jack and the columnar support.

59. A method of compensating for columnar shrinkage comprising the acts of: providing a jack supporting a columnar support; providing a jack concealing device wrapped around the jack and secured to the columnar support for concealing the jack; removing the jack concealing device for exposing the jack; adjusting the jack and the columnar support; and re-wrapping and re-securing the jack concealing device about the jack and to the columnar support.

60. The method of claim 59, wherein removing the jack concealing device includes removing securement means from the jack concealing device and the columnar support.

61. The method of claim 60, wherein removing the jack concealing device includes sliding the jack concealing device over the columnar support for exposing the jack thereunder.

62. The method of claim 60, wherein removing the jack concealing device includes unwrapping the jack concealing device from itself for exposing the jack thereunder.

63. The method of claim 62, wherein unwrapping the jack concealing device includes removing a tab structure from a folded edge.

64. The method of claim 62, wherein unwrapping the jack concealing device includes removing overlapping opposing edges.

65. The method of claim 62, wherein unwrapping the jack concealing device includes removing securement means attaching the jack concealing device to itself.

66. The method of claim 59, further including removing a flexible skirt wrapped around the jack concealing device before removing the jack concealing device.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application is a Continuation-in-Part Application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/872,899, filed Jun. 2, 2001.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to columnar concealing or covering devices for jacks and a method of protectively concealing column support jacks. More specifically, the present invention is primarily intended as a shielding or concealing apparatus or device and a method of installation for jacks that may be used for leveling, supporting and securing structural support members on structures such as cabins, homes, buildings, garages, signs, and the like, where the structural support members can include columns, posts, beams, joists and so forth.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005] Structural support members, such as columns, posts, beams, joists, and so forth are an important structural aspect in construction of homes, buildings, garages, signs, and the like. Maintaining a structurally secure, level connection between the structural support member and the member(s) it supports is critical to the stability of the structure. Moreover, maintaining a level surface, such as a level roof, is critical to the stability and safety of a structure as well as to the aesthetics imparted to the beholder. Jacks, including adjustable jacks, are often used to maintain this secure connection, to adjust and to level a surface, and to compensate for the disparity in the construction process, materials, and so forth. Such disparities can be caused in timber construction, for example, due to the swelling and shrinkage characteristics of wood, to swelling and shrinkage of underlying soils, or to the availability and usage of materials that are shorter than the required material lengths.

[0006] When jacks are used for columnar support securement, aesthetic, structural, and safety issues must be addressed. Protection of the jack from slippage or movement, as well as overall aesthetic appearance, become important objectives. These issues can be addressed by concealing and shielding the jack from outside view. In an effort to address these issues, devices have been developed to conceal and shield jacks and columnar members.

[0007] For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,065,268, which issued to Gump, discloses a plastic decorative and protective sheath designed to cover jacks used to stabilize house beams, to lift and level mobile homes and the like. The '268 jack cover comprises three half-sectioned covering parts: a capital, a column, and a base and requires adhesives and tongue and groove connections. However, in the field of wood construction, such as in construction of a log cabin, natural wood aesthetics are important and the '268 jack cover would extend the full length of the column and would cover the natural aesthetics of the wood columns used. Moreover, any variation in the height of the column would require an additional cutting operation of the '268 jack cover and subsequent material waste. Once cut, the '268 jack cover would not fully cover the column should the length increase or if a new, longer column were used. Moreover, once cut, the '268 jack cover would not completely compensate for the shrinking and swelling dimensions of the underlying column and gaps or failure points in the parts could weaken the strength and the aesthetics of the cover.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 3,049,195, which issued to J. H. Leat et al., discloses Demountable Partitions that utilize stanchions and small screw jack devices. The small screw jacks are covered by molding or skirting strips having ribs for insertion into the groove of a channel strip as well as splayed edges (see FIGS. 1, 7, 10, 11, 12 and 14 of the '195 Patent). However, the '195 molding or skirting strips are disclosed in panel construction and must be manufactured for each wall-to-panel gap size and orientation. In addition, the molding or skirting strips require the cooperation of specially cut and placed channeling strip(s). This construction technique could become onerous and would affect aesthetics in columnar construction, particularly in wood construction where again, the natural material aesthetics are required.

[0009] It is therefore important and necessary that a columnar covering device for a jack be developed that has universal application with varying columnar construction sizes, shapes, and lengths, requires few working parts, reduces the likelihood of material waste, accommodates near immediate access for jack and material adjustments, due to such causes as shrinkage and swelling, and is easy to use and manufacture.

[0010] Other objects of my invention, as well as particular features, elements, and advantages thereof, will be elucidated in, or apparent from, the following description and the accompanying drawing figures.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] The present invention provides a columnar covering device for a jack and a method of installing a jack concealing kit for a columnar support. According to the present invention a columnar covering device for a jack is provided and comprises a strap member, a skirt for circumferentially covering the jack, and a band member for attaching the skirt to the strap member. The strap member is sized and shaped for folding over upon itself and for enclosing the band member and a portion of the skirt. The present invention can allow quick access to the jack for adjusting purposes and can be used, for example, on a columnar jack on a cabin structure.

[0012] In another embodiment, the present invention provides an apparatus for shielding a structure supporting device, such as a jack. The apparatus comprises a first adjustable band member, a second adjustable band member, and an adjustable shield member for shielding the structure supporting device. The second adjustable band member can couple the first adjustable band member with the adjustable shield member and the first adjustable band member can enclose the second adjustable band member.

[0013] In a further embodiment of the present invention, in combination, an apparatus for shielding a structure supporting device is provided. The combination comprises a first adjustable band member, a second adjustable band member, an adjustable shield member for shielding the structure supporting device, and a structural support. The second adjustable band member can couple the first adjustable band member with the adjustable shield member and with the structural support. The first adjustable band member can then enclose the second adjustable band member.

[0014] In another embodiment of the present invention, a jack concealing kit for columnar supports is disclosed. The kit comprises a jack for supporting the columnar support, an adjustable strap member, an adjustable shield member, and an adjustable clamp member. The adjustable clamp member can attach the adjustable shield member with the adjustable strap member and then attach both to the columnar support. The adjustable shield member can conceal and shield the jack from view. Finally, the adjustable strap member can enclose the adjustable clamp member and shield it from view for presenting a uniform appearance blending with the columnar support supported by the jack.

[0015] In still a further embodiment, in combination, a jack concealing structure for a columnar support of a structure is provided. The combination comprises an adjustable, flexible strap, an adjustable, stiff skirt, a mechanically adjustable clamp, an adjustable jack, and the columnar support. The adjustable jack can support and secure the columnar support. The adjustable, flexible strap can surround and engage a portion of the columnar support adjacent the adjustable jack. The mechanically adjustable clamp can attach the adjustable, stiff skirt to the adjustable, flexible strap and to the columnar support. Then the adjustable, stiff skirt can conceal the adjustable jack as the skirt is circumferentially adjustable relative to the columnar support for concealing the jack. Finally, the adjustable, flexible strap can fold over upon itself and can encase and protect the mechanically adjustable clamp.

[0016] The present invention also provides a method of concealing a jack using a jack concealing kit with a columnar support. The method comprises the acts of first, providing a jack, then attaching the jack to the columnar support and adjusting the jack for securing the columnar support. Next is wrapping an adjustable, flexible strap about the secured columnar support and adjusting the adjustable, flexible strap upon itself for securing the adjustable, flexible strap to the secured columnar support. The next act is wrapping an adjustable, stiff skirt about the secured adjustable, flexible strap and the secured columnar support and adjusting and securing the adjustable, stiff skirt to the secured adjustable, flexible strap and the secured columnar support. Installation continues by covering the attached jack with the secured adjustable, stiff skirt and concealing the attached jack from view, followed by mounting, adjusting, and securing a mechanically adjustable clamp in assembled relation around and over the secured adjustable, flexible strap, the secured adjustable, stiff skirt, and the secured columnar support maintaining concealment of the attached jack. The final act is folding the secured adjustable, flexible strap over the secured adjustable, stiff skirt and the secured mechanically adjustable clamp for concealing the secured adjustable, stiff skirt, or at least a portion thereof, and for concealing and protecting the secured mechanically adjustable clamp.

[0017] In another embodiment, the present invention provides, in combination, a jack concealing structure for a columnar support of a structure. In this embodiment, the jack concealing structure comprises an adjustable jack, a stiff skirt, and securement means. The stiff skirt is circumferentially adjustable about itself relative to the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack. The securement means can be used for securing the stiff skirt to the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack, although in a variation of this embodiment the stiff skirt can be soldered to itself for slidable placement over the columnar support with or without securement means. Again, the adjustable jack is used for supporting and securing the columnar support. Stiff skirts, such as those constructed of malleable materials and shaped as a square or circular shape, are presented and can have a folded edge and a tab structure received in the folded edge for the adjustment about itself. Other means of circumferential adjustment include soldering, screws, machine nut and screw, nails, and the like. Moreover, an adjustable clamp member can be used for temporarily holding the stiff skirt when a folded edge and tab structure are not used. The securement means and the adjustable clamp find particular use when the stiff skirt is placed on an upper or top portion of the columnar support, for example, when the adjustable jack is placed on top of the columnar support and below a roof frame and the like. The stiff skirt can also be placed at the bottom of the columnar support for jacks used, for example, to raise the columnar support up toward the roof frame and the like.

[0018] A jack concealing kit for a columnar support is presented in another embodiment and comprises a jack for supporting the columnar support and an adjustable shield member. The adjustable shield member can be adjusted about itself for conforming to the columnar support and for concealing and shielding the jack.

[0019] In a still further embodiment, in another combination, a jack concealing structure is provided. This combination comprises a columnar support of a structure, an adjustable jack, and a stiff skirt. The stiff skirt is circumferentially adjustable about itself relative to the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack and the adjustable jack being for supporting and securing the columnar support to the structure.

[0020] In another embodiment, a jack concealing apparatus is provided for a jack that is used for supporting a columnar support of a structure. The jack concealing apparatus comprises a stiff skirt constructed of a malleable material. The stiff skirt can be circumferentially adjustable about itself relative to the columnar support for concealing the jack.

[0021] In a further embodiment, a jack concealing device for concealing a jack supporting a columnar support of a structure comprises a stiff skirt, a tie-down strap, and securement means. The stiff skirt is constructed of a malleable material and is sized for wrapping about itself and for concealing the jack supporting the columnar support. The tie-down strap is used for temporarily clasping the stiff skirt about itself and the columnar support. Securement means secure the stiff skirt to the columnar support.

[0022] Another embodiment discloses a jack concealing device for a columnar support of a structure that comprises a jack, a stiff skirt, securement means, and a flexible skirt. The jack is used for supporting and securing the columnar support to the structure while the stiff skirt is constructed of a malleable material and is sized for wrapping about itself and for concealing the jack. Securement means secure the stiff skirt to the columnar support and the flexible skirt is constructed of a fabric-type material and is sized for wrapping about the columnar support for concealing the securement means.

[0023] The present invention also discloses various methods. One method of installing a jack concealing device comprises the acts of providing a jack, a columnar support, and the jack concealing device and then installing and securing the jack to the columnar support. The next act is wrapping the jack concealing device around the jack and the columnar support followed by wrapping the jack concealing device about itself. The following act is wrapping a tie-down strap around the wrapped jack concealing device and then adjusting and securing the wrapped tie-down strap for securing the wrapped jack concealing device to the columnar support.

[0024] Another method of installing a jack concealing device comprises the acts of providing a jack, a columnar support, and the jack concealing device followed by wrapping and securing the jack concealing device about itself and sliding the secured jack concealing device over the columnar support. The next act is installing and securing the jack to the columnar support and then sliding the secured jack concealing device over the jack.

[0025] The final method is a method of compensating for columnar shrinkage comprising the acts of providing a jack supporting a columnar support and providing a jack concealing device wrapped around the jack and secured to the columnar support for concealing the jack. The next act is removing the jack concealing device for exposing the jack and then adjusting the jack and the columnar support. Finally, the act concludes with re-wrapping and re-securing the jack concealing device about the jack and to the columnar support.

[0026] The present invention, therefore provides a columnar covering device for a jack that has universal application with varying columnar construction sizes, shapes, and lengths, requires few working parts, reduces the likelihood of material waste, accommodates near immediate access for jack and material adjustments, due to such causes as shrinkage and swelling, and is easy to use and manufacture.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0027] Other features of my invention will become more evident from a consideration of the following detailed description of my patent drawings, as follows:

[0028] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention showing an application of the columnar covering device for a jack as applied to a column of a log cabin-type structure;

[0029] FIG. 2 is an exploded view of an embodiment of the present invention showing a strap member, a skirt member, and a band member;

[0030] FIG. 3 is a top sectional view of the band member of the embodiment of FIG. 2 showing one type of adjustment means, a mechanical-type mechanism;

[0031] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a jack of the present invention supporting a columnar member, the jack having adjustable capability;

[0032] FIG. 5 is a plan and cross-sectional view of a support plate of the jack of FIG. 4;

[0033] FIG. 6 is a plan and cross-sectional view of a base plate of the jack of FIG. 4;

[0034] FIG. 7 is a side view of an incremental adjustable support mechanism of the jack of FIG. 4;

[0035] FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the present invention showing installation and adjustment of the jack and columnar covering device to the columnar member wherein the jack is placed under the columnar covering at a bottom end of the columnar member;

[0036] FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the installation and adjustment of FIG. 8 showing a downward fold over a strap member and subsequent enclosure of a band member and a portion of a skirt member concealing the jack therein;

[0037] FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the present invention showing installation and adjustment of the jack and columnar covering device to the columnar member wherein the jack is placed over the columnar covering at a top end of the columnar member;

[0038] FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of the installation and adjustment of FIG. 8 showing an upward fold over a strap member and subsequent enclosure of a band member and a portion of a skirt member concealing the jack therein;

[0039] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention showing a stiff skirt and its folded edge and tab structure;

[0040] FIG. 12a is a perspective view of the stiff skirt of FIG. 12 showing the various means for circumferentially adjusting the stiff skirt about itself;

[0041] FIG. 13 is a side view of the folded edge of FIG. 12;

[0042] FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 12 showing application for concealing an adjustable jack and placement about a columnar support near its bottom portion after either circumferential adjustment about itself or slideable placement over the columnar support;

[0043] FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 12 showing securement of the stiff skirt to the columnar support following placement around or over the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack;

[0044] FIG. 16 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention showing another stiff skirt;

[0045] FIG. 16a is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 16 showing slideable placement of the stiff skirt over the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack following secure connection of the stiff skirt to itself using solder or other welding means;

[0046] FIG. 17 is a perspective view of the stiff skirt of FIG. 16 showing application for concealing an adjustable jack and placement about a columnar support near its bottom portion after either circumferential adjustment about itself or slideable placement over the columnar support;

[0047] FIG. 18 is perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 16 showing securement of the stiff skirt to the columnar support using an adjustable clamp member and following placement around or over the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack;

[0048] FIG. 19 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 18 showing completed placement and securement of the stiff skirt to the columnar support;

[0049] FIG. 19a is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 16 showing slideable placement of the stiff skirt over the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack following secure connection of the stiff skirt to itself using solder or other welding means;

[0050] FIG. 20 is a perspective view showing usage of the embodiment of FIG. 12 on an upper portion of the columnar support;

[0051] FIG. 21 is a perspective view showing usage of the embodiment of FIG. 16 on an upper portion of the columnar support;

[0052] FIG. 22 is a perspective view of an embodiment showing securement of the stiff skirt to the columnar support using an alligator-type adjustable clamp member and following placement around or over the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack; and

[0053] FIG. 23 is a perspective view of another embodiment of FIG. 12 showing concealment of at least a portion of the stiff skirt and securement means following securement of the stiff skirt to the columnar support and placement around or over the columnar support for concealing the adjustable jack.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0054] Referring now to the drawings, the present invention concerns a columnar covering device for a jack, illustrated by way of example in FIGS. 1-1 1. As discussed above in the Background of the Invention, it is very important to home and building construction and maintenance to maintain a level roof surface as well as other surfaces. In particular, in the construction and maintenance of log cabins and other wood homes, wood shrinkage must be compensated for in order to maintain a level roof surface, level deck surface, and so forth. In order to maintain the level surface, jacks and other devices can be used, as described below, for adjusting the columnar supports for leveling roofs and the like and for compensating for shrinkage of the wood material. Concealment of the jack and quick access and adjustment of the jack to level the cabin structures is therefore of paramount importance to the functionality, safety, and aesthetics of the cabin, home or structure. The present invention can provide these key features and can satisfy these needs.

[0055] It is not intended that the present invention be limited solely to columns and wood construction nor to concealment of jacks, rather it is intended that the scope of the present invention also includes other structural supports, such as posts, beams, joists and the like, other materials, such as metals, synthetics, etc., and concealment of any item used to secure the structural supports including jacks, blocks, other structural members, and so forth.

[0056] As is illustrated in FIGS. 1-11, one embodiment of the present invention discloses, a columnar covering device 10, or apparatus, for shielding a structure supporting device 12, such as a jack, that can be securing a columnar support 14, such as a column, a post, a beam, a joist, and so forth. The columnar support 14 can provide structural support to a structure 16, such as the log cabin shown in FIG. 1. Other structures, including buildings, shops, signs, and the like are also included within the scope of this invention.

[0057] The columnar covering device 10, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, comprises a first adjustable band member 18, a second adjustable band member 20, and an adjustable shield member 22 for covering the jack 12. In a preferred embodiment, the first adjustable band member 18 is a strap, belt-like member, or vinyl clamp cover as it is known in other embodiments. The clamp 18 has adjustment means 24 for wrapping (Arrow A-A in FIG. 9 and Arrow B-B in FIG. 11) the strap 18 around the columnar support 14, shown in FIGS. 1 and 8-1 1, and then over itself to secure it to the columnar support and to account for the variety of sizes, shapes, and dimensions of the columnar supports, including any circular, square, and irregularly shaped columns (i.e. knotted) and the like. In this way, the clamp 18 (and the columnar covering device 10 as a whole) can fit and adjust to any surface dimension, shape, and texture. The adjustment means 24 can include Velcro, adhesive, nails, screws, nuts, bolts, rivets, and mechanical mechanisms. In addition, the strap 18 is preferably an annular band member that has ends that can be disposed in lapped relation to adjust and secure the strap around the columnar support 14.

[0058] An important feature of the strap 18, described in detail below, is that it be constructed of a flexible material that is strong and resistant to degradation, such as from weathering elements and the like, but that can adsorb moisture and protect the underlying and adjacent wood members and other members. Materials could include synthetics (i.e. soft plastics), rubberized compounds, vinyl, cloth materials, and elastic materials. Excellent results are attainable where a soft easily foldable cloth material is used of any suitable type. In addition, the material could be manufactured to look like the material of the columnar support 14 that it will attach to for blending into the structure. As the strap 18 performs a concealing function by preferably folding radially outwards and over itself (Arrows A-A in FIG. 9 and Arrows B-B in FIG. 11) for reasons heretofore discussed, the material used must allow the strap 18 to “reverse bend”, or bend over upon itself. In this way, the strap can shield the second adjustable band member 20 underneath and protect people from injuring themselves on it. The strap 18 can also provide a moisture absorption barrier, if constructed from such a material, that can prevent moisture from traveling down the columnar support 14 and contacting the entire columnar support and the underlying floor surfaces.

[0059] In a preferred embodiment, the adjustable shield member 22 is a skirt, shielding member, jack cover, or adjustable sleeve, as it is known in other embodiments. The skirt 22 can be wrapped around the strap 18 and the columnar support 14 and then overlap itself, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 8-11, to secure it to the strap and columnar support and to also account for the variety of sizes, shapes, and dimensions of the columnar supports and jacks 12. The skirt 22 can also be sized lengthwise to accommodate different gap and jack heights to account for axial shifting (i.e. swelling, shrinking, etc.) as the jack 12 secures the columnar support 14 and while maintaining concealment and protection of the jack.

[0060] The skirt 22 is preferably constructed of a stiff material that will hold its shape in any orientation (i.e. right-side up, upside-down, sideways, or at any angle), will shield and conceal the jack 12 from view and from weathering elements and the like, is strong, will be resistant to degradation due to the weathering elements and other factors, but which still allows quick access to the concealed jack with little effort followed by easy closing of the skirt. In addition, the skirt 22 must also be flexible so as to allow easy entrance into the jack for leveling adjustments and the like. Materials can also include synthetics, rubberized compounds, paper products, stiff cloth materials, elastic materials, and so forth. Like the strap 18, the skirt 22 could be manufactured to look like the material of the columnar support 14 that it will attach to so as to blend into the structure and provide a uniform appearance. Adjustment and securement of the skirt 22 can include skirt adjustment means 26, such as overlap upon itself, Velcro or adhesive attachment, or mechanical mechanism.

[0061] The second adjustable band member 20 is a clamp, a screw band clamp, or other similar clasping device as it is known in other embodiments. The clamp 20 can be wrapped around the skirt 22, the strap 18, and the columnar support 14, and then overlap itself, as shown in FIGS. 1-3 and 8-11. The clamp 20 can thereby function to secure the skirt to the strap and to the columnar support while accounting for the variety of sizes, shapes, and dimension of the columnar support. The clamp, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, can be constructed of a metal, synthetic, rubberized compound, rope material, and any other material within the scope of this invention. A metal clamp having a clamp adjustment means 28, as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, is preferred.

[0062] Once clamped and adjusted, the strap 18 can be folded radially outwards and over itself (Arrows A-A in FIG. 9 and Arrows B-B in FIG. 11), the clamp 20, the skirt 22, and at least a portion of the columnar support 14, as shown in FIGS. 8-11. In this manner, the clamp 20 can be hidden from view and protected and the columnar covering device 10 can blend into the columnar support 14, or at least provide an aesthetically pleasing addition to the columnar support while protecting and concealing the jack 12, as illustrated in FIG. 1.

[0063] The structure supporting device 12, such as the jack, can include adjustable jacks, as illustrated in FIGS. 4-7. In a preferred embodiment, the jack 12 is an adjustable jack that comprises a base plate 30 (FIG. 6), an incremental adjustable support mechanism 32 (FIG. 7), such as a nut and bolt system, and a support plate 34 (FIG. 5). As shown in FIGS. 4 and 8-11, the columnar support 14 can have a hole 35 drilled into an end 36, be it a bottom end 38 (FIGS. 8 and 9), a top end 40 (FIGS. 10 and 11), a side, or at any angle or orientation that the columnar support may be angled at and to which is attached the jack 12 or other support device. The hole 35 is preferably sized to fit the particular incremental adjustable support mechanism 32 in such a way as to provide a secure fit. The support plate 34 should have a hole 42 drilled through it for passage and adjustment of the incremental adjustable support mechanism. The base plate 30 can also have a hole 44 at least partially drilled into it to secure the incremental adjustable support mechanism from slippage.

[0064] An important feature of the present invention is that it can be provided, manufactured, and sold as a kit, a jack concealing kit for columnar supports and the like. The kit could include the jack 12, the strap 18, the clamp 20, and the skirt 22 or any permutation of these items, including the columnar support 14. The kit could also be part of a larger package, such as a log cabin construction kit.

[0065] As mentioned above, the columnar covering device 10 is intended to be placed at any orientation required by the columnar support 14. In particular, the columnar covering device 10 can be positioned at both or either of the bottom end 38 (FIGS. 8 and 9) or the top end 40 (FIGS. 10 and 11) of the columnar support 14 as needed or by design. When positioned at the bottom end 38, the strap 18 can be folded downwards (Arrows A-A in FIG. 9) to cover itself, the clamp 20, the skirt 22, and at least a portion of the columnar support 14. When positioned at the top end 40, the strap 18 can be folded upwards (Arrows B-B in FIG. 11) to cover itself, the clamp 20, the skirt 22, and at least a portion of the columnar support 14. Therefore, the materials chosen for the strap and the skirt should be stiff enough to hold their form and to conceal the jack 12 no matter what the directional orientation is.

[0066] In another embodiment of the present invention shown in FIGS. 12-23, a jack concealing structure 110 is provided for concealing the adjustable jack 12, jack, and the like (referred to as an adjustable jack, as discussed above, although even replacement of a non adjustable device is intended to be within the scope of the present invention) that is supporting and securing the columnar support 14 of a structure 16, such as the cabin-type structure shown in FIG. 1. In this embodiment, the jack concealing structure 110 comprises a stiff skirt 112 (also known as an adjustable shield member) that can be circumferentially adjusted about itself for adjustment about or around the columnar support 14 that is supported by the adjustable jack 12, as illustrated in FIGS. 12-23. The stiff skirt 112 is preferably constructed of a malleable material, such as soft copper, that will conform around and to the columnar support and its various shapes. The stiffness of the material also protects the underlying jack, holds its shape in any orientation, and provides many, if not all of the features of the adjustable shield member 22 discussed above, in addition to added rigidity and weather resistance.

[0067] In a manner similar to the adjustable shield member 22, the stiff skirt 112 is designed for being wrapped around the columnar support, as shown in FIGS. 12-23 by being wrapped about and secured to itself. In various embodiments, the stiff skirt can then be secured to itself by a variety of means, some providing easier access than others to the adjustable jack 12 while installed to the columnar support 14. For example, the stiff skirt can be circumferentially adjusted to itself by inserting a tab structure 114 into a folded edge 116 (FIGS. 12 and 13) whereby an edge of the stiff skirt is folded inside upon itself, arrow A, to create an opening or seam for receiving the tab structure 116 when the stiff skirt is closed in upon itself. In other examples, nails, screws, machine screws and nuts and the like (collectively identified as 118 in FIGS. 12a and 16) and solder and welds (collectively identified as 120 in FIGS. 16a and 19a) can be used for securing the stiff skirt 112 to itself. The stiff skirt can also be sized (i.e. lengthwise) as needed to cover the space required for the jack 12.

[0068] In practice, usage of the nails, screws, and the like 118 provide easier in-use access to the adjustable jack 12 than do the solder and weld connections 120 (FIG. 16a) which provide a more constant bond. Usage of the parts 118 assist in a more immediate access to the jack by opening the stiff skirt to view and work with the jack therein. The constant bond of the stiff skirt 112 enables the stiff skirt to be placed about the columnar support 14 by slidable placement like a sleeve 121 over the bottom end 38 or the top end 40 as shown in FIGS. 14, 15, 17, and 19a-21, during installation and construction of the columnar support. Usage of the nails, screws, and the like 118, on the other hand, allow the user to install the jack concealing structure 110 after the jack and columnar support have been installed and before, during, or after adjustment of the same and as needed, as illustrated in FIGS. 12a and 16.

[0069] Moreover, the stiff skirt 112 can have a number of different shapes and sizes or can be made to fit a number of different shaped columnar supports 14. The two most common shapes are square 122 (FIGS. 12-15, and 20) and circular 124 (FIGS. 16-19a and 21). Unlike the tab structure 114 and the folded edge 116 (FIGS. 12 and 13) securement mechanism shown with the square shape 122, the circular shape 124 has free floating opposite ends 125 which are can be circumferentially adjusted by usage of the various means 118 and 120 discussed above, including creation of the sleeve 121 for slidable placement over the columnar support 14. To this end, the circular-shaped stiff skirt can require temporary use of an adjustable clamp member 126 (or cinching member as it is known in other embodiments) for temporarily holding the stiff skirt in circumferential adjustment about itself in preparation for adjustment to itself and adjustment and/or securement to the columnar support 14, as illustrated in FIG. 18. For example, if the stiff skirt 112 is to be placed near the top end 40 of the columnar support (FIG. 21), then the adjustable clamp member 126 will hold the stiff skirt over the adjustable jack 12 and to the columnar support 14 while the user secures the stiff skirt in that location. Once secured, the adjustable clamp member 126 can be removed (FIG. 19) and placed on another stiff skirt and columnar support and the process repeated. Various types of adjustable clamp members 126 are contemplated including, a screw band clamp, an alligator clip and strap (FIG. 22), a rope, a synthetic clamp, and so forth.

[0070] In terms of securement to the columnar support 14 itself, the jack concealing structure 110 also comprises securement means 128, such as nails, screws, machine screws and nuts, solder, and welds. The securement means can be used to secure the stiff skirt to the columnar support 14 when it is deemed necessary, such as when the stiff skirt is placed near the bottom end 38 (FIGS. 15, 18, and 19) or up near the top end 40 of the columnar support (FIGS. 20 and 21). In FIG. 15, lapped edges of the skirt 112 can be secured by welds or other welding means in the same manner shown in FIG. 1 6a where lapped skirt edges 125 are secured together by welds 120. In some cases, securement means may not be needed, in which case, a stiff skirt, such as that shown in FIGS. 15 and 19a, can be held in place due to its own securement about itself or because it is resting on a floor surface or the like.

[0071] In addition, the jack concealing structure 110 can combine with the jack 12 to form a jack concealing kit or can be combined with the columnar support 14, and/or the structure 16.

[0072] Moreover, FIG. 23 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention wherein the jack concealing structure 110 includes the jack, the stiff skirt 112, securement means 128, and a flexible skirt 129, such as discussed above in previous embodiments, that can fold upon itself in a secure fashion (i.e. overlapped with velcro or the like). In this embodiment, the addition of the flexible skirt, or fabric wrap, is included for covering the securement means and for filling any gaps or spaces that are inherent between the stiff skirt and the columnar support 14. This embodiment finds particular usage with the square shaped columnar supports and square-shaped stiff skirts.

[0073] Hence, the columnar covering device 10 and the jack concealing structure 110 can each provide an apparatus and means for concealing columnar supporting devices, such as the jack 12. The adjustability of the individual elements and parts discussed above allow the user to adjust, remove, replace, etc. each part to address each columnar support 14 and its movement, dimensions, shapes, and physical characteristics. These adjustments can be made quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively and can be made during the life of the columnar support 14 as the material ages, shrinks, swells, and so forth or if replacement columnar supports have different length measurements. The simplicity of the device should also result in lower manufacture costs.

[0074] Finally, in usage the present invention provides various methods. One method is a method of installing a jack concealing kit 10 for a columnar support 14, as shown in FIGS. 8-11. The method comprises the acts of first, providing a jack 12 and then attaching the jack to the columnar support 14 and adjusting the jack for securing the columnar support. The next act is wrapping an adjustable, flexible strap 18 about the secured columnar support 14 and adjusting the adjustable, flexible strap 18 upon itself for securing the adjustable, flexible strap 18 to the secured columnar support 14. What can follow is wrapping an adjustable, stiff skirt 22 about the secured adjustable, flexible strap 18 and the secured columnar support 14 and adjusting and securing the adjustable, stiff skirt 22 to the secured adjustable, flexible strap and the secured columnar support.

[0075] The next act is covering the attached jack 12 with the secured adjustable, stiff skirt 22 and concealing the attached jack from view followed by mounting, adjusting, and securing a mechanically adjustable clamp 20 around and over the secured adjustable, flexible strap 18, the secured adjustable, stiff skirt 22, and the secured columnar support 14 for maintaining concealment of the attached jack 12. Finally, the installation is completed by folding the secured adjustable, flexible strap 18 over the secured adjustable, stiff skirt 22, or at least a part of it, and over the secured mechanically adjustable clamp 20 for concealing the secured adjustable, stiff skirt 22 and the secured mechanically adjustable clamp 20. In this way the present invention can protect the clamp 20 and the columnar support from moisture and users or other people, such as kids, from sharp edges on the clamp 20. Moreover, the strap 18 can conform to a variety of columnar support surfaces, be they circular, square, irregular, etc. so that the device 10 can be universally used.

[0076] As discussed above, this installation can be performed right-side up (FIG. 8 and 9), upside-down (FIGS. 10 and 11) or at any orientation. The installation is quick and easy and if adjustments or removal are needed to the jack 12 or columnar support 14, then the a jack concealing kit 10 can be uninstalled quickly and easily and can be reused later on the same or any other columnar support 14. To uninstall the kit 10, the procedure can include the following acts: unfolding the secured adjustable, flexible strap 18, loosening and removing the mechanically adjustable clamp 20, uncovering the attached jack 12, unwrapping and removing the adjustable, stiff skirt 22, unwrapping and removing the adjustable, flexible strap 18, and loosening and detaching the jack 12 from the columnar support 14.

[0077] Moreover, the acts discussed above are preferably performed sequentially as disclosed, although the acts can be performed in any order that satisfies the scope and intent of the invention. For example, the skirt 22 could be placed on the columnar support 14 before the strap 18 and then both could be bound by the clamp 20 before the strap is folded over itself and the other parts.

[0078] Another method is illustrated in FIGS. 16-19, 21 and 22 is a method of installing a jack concealing device that comprises the acts of providing the jack 12, the columnar support 14, and the jack concealing device 110 and then installing and securing the jack to the columnar support. The next act is wrapping the jack concealing device around the jack and the columnar support followed by wrapping the jack concealing device about itself. The following act is wrapping a tie-down strap 126 around the wrapped jack concealing device and then adjusting and securing the wrapped tie-down strap for securing the wrapped jack concealing device to the columnar support. Securement using securement means 128 can follow thereafter.

[0079] Another method of installing a jack concealing device, illustrated in FIGS. 14, 15, 17, and 19a-21, comprises the acts of providing the jack 12, the columnar support 14, and the jack concealing device 110 followed by wrapping and securing the jack concealing device about itself and sliding the secured jack concealing device over the columnar support, as a sleeve 121. The next act is installing and securing the jack to the columnar support and then sliding the secured jack concealing device over the jack.

[0080] Finally, a method of compensating for columnar shrinkage is illustrated in FIGS. 12-23 and comprises the acts of providing the jack 12 for supporting the columnar support 14 and providing the jack concealing device 110 wrapped around the jack and secured to the columnar support for concealing the jack. The next act is removing the jack concealing device for exposing the jack and then adjusting the jack and the columnar support as required to compensate for shrinkage and other typical factors. Finally, the acts conclude with re-wrapping and re-securing the jack concealing device about the jack and to the columnar support.

[0081] In construction and in usage the present invention therefore provides a columnar covering device for a jack that has universal application with varying columnar construction sizes, shapes, and lengths, requires few working parts, reduces the likelihood of material waste, accommodates near immediate access for jack and material adjustments, due to such causes as shrinkage and swelling, and is easy to use and manufacture.

[0082] As various possible embodiments may be made in the above invention for use for different purposes and as various changes might be made in the embodiments and methods above set forth, it is understood that all of the above matters here set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings are to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.