Title:
Adjustable sliding-shelf assemblies and method of adjusting the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An adjustable sliding-shelf assembly for high quality wood furniture. The adjustable shelf system includes at least four columns positioned in a vertical direction and attached to the inside of the cabinet, each column defining at least one column-notch. The adjustable shelf system further includes at least two support members, each support member having two ends, each end having at least one protrusion configured to removably engage, by horizontal movement, at least one column-notch. A shelf is positioned adjacent to the at least two support members. The adjustable shelf system further includes at least two slider assemblies configured to horizontally slide the at least one shelf into and out of the cabinet, each drawer slide assembly attached to one of the at least two support members and one side of the shelf.



Inventors:
Walton, Dale (Placentia, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/888100
Publication Date:
12/26/2002
Filing Date:
06/22/2001
Assignee:
WALTON DALE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B46/00; A47B57/34; (IPC1-7): A47B9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRAN, HANH VAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Sheppard, Mullin (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An adjustable shelf system configured to be positioned inside a cabinet, the adjustable shelf system comprising: at least four columns positioned in a vertical direction and attached to the inside of the cabinet, each column defining at least one column-notch; at least two support members, each support member having two ends, each end having at least one protrusion configured to removably engage, by horizontal movement, at least one column-notch; a shelf positioned adjacent to the at least two support members; and at least two slider assemblies configured to horizontally slide the at least one shelf into and out of the cabinet, each drawer slide assembly attached to one of the at least two support members and one side of the shelf.

2. The adjustable shelf system as defined in claim 1, wherein the at least four columns are attached to the corners of the cabinet.

3. The adjustable shelf system as defined in claim 1, wherein the at least four columns are made of a non-metallic material.

4. The adjustable shelf system as defined in claim 1, wherein the at least two support members are made of a non-metallic material.

5. The adjustable shelf system as defined in claim 1, wherein each of the at least four columns includes a back wall configured to prevent each of the at least two protrusions from moving through the column-notch.

6. An adjustable shelf system comprising: at least two wood vertical columns, each column having at least one column-notch; means for securing the vertical columns in place to prevent the movement of the columns relative to one another; at least one support member having a shelf support and two ends, each end having a protrusion configured to removably engage, by horizontal movement, the at least one column-notch; and at least one shelf mounted on the support shelf of the at least one support member.

7. The adjustable shelf system as defined in claim 6, wherein the at least two wood vertical columns are located proximate to the corners of the at least one shelf.

8. The adjustable shelf system as defined in claim 6, further comprising a drawer slide assembly attached to the at least one support member and the at least one shelf.

9. The adjustable shelf system as defined in claim 6, wherein the at least one support member is made of a wood material.

10. The adjustable shelf system as defined in claim 6, wherein each of the at least two wood vertical columns includes a back wall configured to prevent the protrusion from moving through the at least one column-notch.

11. A furniture cabinet with adjustable shelf system comprising: a furniture cabinet; at least four wood vertical columns secured to the inside of the furniture cabinet, each column defining at least two column-notches; at least two support members, each support member having a protrusion configured to removably engage, by horizontal movement, at least one of the two column-notches; at least two slider assemblies, each drawer slide assembly attached to one of the at least two support members; and a shelf attached to the at least two slider assemblies and configured to horizontally slide using the at least two slider assemblies, into and out of the furniture cabinet.

12. The furniture cabinet with adjustable shelf system as defined in claim 11, wherein the at least four wood vertical columns located proximate to the corners of the furniture cabinet.

13. The furniture cabinet with adjustable shelf system as defined in claim 11, wherein the at least two support members are made of a wood material.

14. The furniture cabinet with adjustable shelf system as defined in claim 11, wherein the at least two support members are made of a non-metallic material.

15. The furniture cabinet with adjustable shelf system as defined in claim 11, wherein each of the at least four wood vertical columns includes a back wall configured to prevent the protrusion from moving through the at least one of the two column-notches.

16. An adjustable shelf system comprising: four wood vertical columns, each column defining a plurality of column-notches along the length of columns, each column mounted proximate to the interior corners of a furniture cabinet; two wood support members, each support member having two ends, each end being configured with a protrusion to removably engage, by horizontal movement, at least one of the plurality of column-notches, each support member supported in a horizontal position by at least two vertical columns, wherein the protrusion at each end of the support member is removably engaged with one of the plurality of column-notches; two drawer slides, each drawer slide attached to one of the two wood support members; and a wood shelf having two sides, each side configured to attach to one of the two drawer slides.

17. The adjustable shelf system as defined in claim 16, wherein each of the four wood vertical columns includes a back wall configured to prevent the protrusion from moving through at least one of the plurality of column-notches.

18. A method for vertically adjusting a shelf, the method comprising: dismounting the shelf from a first and second support member; moving the first support member in only a horizontal direction to disengage a protrusion on the first support member from a corresponding column-notch defined by a first vertical column; relocating the first support member to a desired different level along the first vertical column by engaging the protrusion on the first support member with the corresponding column-notch, at the desired level, of the first vertical column; moving the second support member in only a horizontal direction to disengage a protrusion on the second support member from a corresponding column-notch defined by a second vertical column; relocating the second support member to a desired different level along the second vertical column by engaging the protrusion on the second support member with the corresponding column-notch, at the desired level, of the second vertical column; and mounting the shelf on the first and second support members.

19. The method for vertically adjusting a shelf as defined in claim 18, further comprises attaching a drawer slide assembly to the first and second support members.

20. The method for vertically adjusting a shelf as defined in claim 19, wherein mounting the shelf on the first and second support members includes attaching the shelf to the drawer slide assembly.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention generally relates to adjustable shelf assemblies and method of adjusting the same, and more particularly to adjustable sliding-shelf assemblies for high quality wood furniture, such as cabinets, desks, and entertainment centers.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Metal shelf assemblies having wood shelves are well known in the art. These metal shelf assemblies are typically used with wood furniture to provide adjustable shelves. These types of adjustable shelf assemblies include vertical supports, shelf support brackets, and shelves. Metal shelf assemblies may be permanently attached to wood furniture cabinets by securing the vertical supports to the left and right interior sides of the cabinet. The vertical supports, made from a metallic material, have a plurality of slots spaced along its length. The shelf support brackets, also generally made from a metallic material, have hooks that engage the plurality of slots on the vertical supports at horizontally parallel locations. Each shelf is supported by the shelf support brackets. Multiple shelves may be installed on the vertical supports and may be vertically adjusted by repositioning the associated shelf support brackets. These metal shelf assemblies allow the wood shelves to be adjusted from one fixed position to another fixed position but do not provide slide-out or pull-out shelves. Alternatively, a drawer slide assembly may be permanently fixed to the left and right interior of the wood furniture cabinet and to the sides of the shelves to allow the shelves to move horizontally in an inward and outward direction; however, they can not be adjusted vertically without disassembling and reassembling the drawer slide assembly. Once disassembled, the prior level screw holes in the wood furniture cabinet must be repaired.

[0005] Using metal shelf assemblies with wood furniture cabinets, however, is undesirable because the metal vertical supports do not aesthetically match the wood furniture cabinets. In addition, the metal shelf assemblies do not provide adjustable sliding-shelf assemblies. Therefore, it should be appreciated that there is a need for adjustable sliding-shelf assemblies that satisfy the adjustability sliding needs and the aesthetic demands of consumers purchasing fine quality wood furniture cabinets. The present invention fulfills this need as well as others.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention is embodied in an adjustable sliding-shelf assembly for high quality wood furniture that avoids the use of certain unsightly metal components. More particularly, the adjustable shelf assembly includes at least four columns positioned in a vertical direction and attached to the inside of the cabinet, each column defining at least one column-notch. Each column is configured with sufficient column-notches so that the adjustable sliding-shelf assembly can accommodate more than one shelf. The adjustable shelf assembly further includes at least two horizontal support members, each support member having two ends, each end having at least one protrusion configured to removably engage, by horizontal movement, at least one column-notch. In addition, the adjustable shelf assembly includes a shelf positioned adjacent to at least two horizontal support members. The shelf is mounted on the horizontal support members in a either a fixed or slidable fashion depending on whether a shelf support is incorporated with the support members. The shelf support might be a ledge, dowels, or a drawer slide assembly. In one embodiment, a typical drawer slide assembly is attached to the horizontal support members. The drawer slide assembly is configured to horizontally slide at least one shelf into and out of the cabinet. The drawer slide assembly is attached to two support members and each side of the shelf.

[0007] A shelf in the adjustable shelf assembly may be vertically adjusted by the user via a series of steps without the use of any tools. The method includes dismounting the shelf from a first and second support member, moving the first support member in only a horizontal direction to disengage a protrusion on the first support member from a corresponding column-notch defined by a first vertical column, relocating the first support member to a desired different level along the first vertical column by engaging the protrusion on the first support member with the corresponding column-notch, at the desired level, of the first vertical column, moving the second support member in only a horizontal direction to disengage a protrusion on the second support member from a corresponding column-notch defined by a second vertical column, and relocating the second support member to a desired different level along the second vertical column by engaging the protrusion on the second support member with the corresponding column-notch, at the desired level, of the second vertical column. The shelf is mounted on the first and second support members, which locks the protrusions into the column-notches.

[0008] Advantages of the present invention include providing the user with adjustable pull-out shelves that can be adjusted to various vertical positions in a wood furniture cabinet to accommodate the user's needs (e.g., different size printers, different size stereo components, or computer monitors). In addition, the adjustable sliding-shelf assembly is provided without requiring uninstalling, redrilling, leveling, and reinstalling the drawer slide assembly.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an adjustable sliding-shelf assembly;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the columns and the support members of the adjustable sliding-shelf assembly of FIG. 1;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a front plan view of the column of the adjustable sliding-shelf assembly of FIG. 1;

[0012] FIG. 4 is a right side plan view of the column of the adjustable sliding-shelf assembly of FIG. 1;

[0013] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the support member of the adjustable sliding-shelf assembly of FIG. 1;

[0014] FIG. 6 is a side plan view of the support member of the adjustable sliding-shelf assembly of FIG. 1;

[0015] FIG. 7 is a perspective side view of the support member having a drawer slide assembly attached thereto;

[0016] FIG. 8 is a simplified flow chart describing a method of adjusting the adjustable sliding-shelf assembly of FIG. 1; and

[0017] FIG. 9 is a simplified flow chart describing a method of adjusting the adjustable shelf assembly of FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0018] The present invention provides adjustable shelf assemblies for use with high quality furniture, such as cabinets, desks, and entertainment centers. The adjustable shelf assembly is typically positioned inside the furniture and is made from a wood material that has an appearance which aesthetically matches the furniture. The adjustable shelf assembly includes stationary and slidable shelves for the easy placement and removal of items.

[0019] With reference now to the illustrative drawings, and particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown a perspective view of an adjustable shelf assembly 10, which includes columns 12, support members 14, and shelves 16. The columns are typically positioned in a vertical orientation in the inside corners of the furniture. The columns define a plurality of notches 18, which are described herein as column-notches. Preferably, the adjustable shelf assembly includes at least four columns that are made from a wood material to match the furniture that they are installed into. The support members include a shelf support 22 or a drawer slide assembly (see FIG. 7) for supporting the shelf 16. When the shelf is mounted or positioned on the shelf support or positioned adjacent to the drawer slide assembly, the top surface of the shelf is generally flush with the top surface of both support members supporting the shelf. The shelf being positioned adjacent to the support member holds the support members in place, and precludes the support members from disengaging from the column-notches when the shelf is in place. This in turn eliminates the need to attach or secure the support members to the columns. In one embodiment, each shelf may be positioned on top of the top surface of the support members. Also, the shelves may be secured to the support members. In another embodiment, the shelf support may be replaced with a drawer slide assembly that is attached to the sides of the support members and the sides of the shelves to engage one another and to horizontally slide the shelves in an inward and outward direction for the easy placement and removal of items. The columns, support members, and shelves are all made from a non-metallic material, e.g., a wood material.

[0020] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the columns 12 and the support members 14 of the adjustable shelf assembly of FIG. 1. The support members have protrusions 20 at each of their ends which are configured to removably engage the column-notches 18 and in this way the support members are supported by the columns. When the support members are engaged to the column-notches the support members are flush with the column-notches. The shelf support 22 is incorporated along the support member and can be embodied as a milled ledge, protruding dowel or other support means.

[0021] FIG. 3 is a front plan view of the column 12 of the adjustable shelf assembly 10 of FIG. 1. The column is shown in its preferred vertical upright position. The column includes a back wall 24 to prevent the support member from passing through the column-notch 18. The height H of the column is adjusted so that the column fits vertically inside the wood furniture. The column-notches have smooth rounded edges. Each column-notch is typically spaced a distance D from an adjacent column-notch. In the preferred embodiment, D is approximately equal to 2 ¾ of an inch. The column has a width W, which is preferably ⅞ of an inch. The back wall 24 of the column 12 extends along the column in a vertical direction. The back wall may be used to attach or secure the column to the furniture and is integral with the column. That is, the column is cut and carved to have the plurality of column-notches and the back wall.

[0022] FIG. 4 is a right side plan view of the column of the adjustable shelf assembly of FIG. 1. The column has a thickness T, which is preferably ¾ of an inch. The back wall has a thickness T1, which is preferably ¼ of an inch.

[0023] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the support member of the adjustable shelf assembly of FIG. 1. The adjustable shelf assembly includes at least two support members for each shelf. Each support member is configured to removably engage at least two column-notches 18 and hence is supported by at least two columns. The support member has a length L, which is determined by the depth of the inside of the furniture. The support member has a width W, which is preferably ¾ of an inch, and a height H, which is preferably 1 ½ inches. The support member has protrusions 20 at each end which are configured to form fit into the column-notches 18. That is, each protrusion is configured to snugly fit into the column-notch so that there is little to no vertical movement. Protrusions on the horizontal support members match the column-notches of the vertical columns, preventing “out-board” movement, i.e., the horizontal support members and vertical columns install from one side only (the inside). In the preferred embodiment, each protrusion extends outward approximately ½ an inch, has a thickness of approximately ½ an inch, and has smooth rounded corners configured to mate with the smooth rounded corners of the support members.

[0024] FIG. 6 is a side plan view of the support member 14 of the adjustable shelf assembly of FIG. 1. The support members include a shelf support 22 or has a drawer slide assembly (see FIG. 7) attached thereto for supporting the shelf 16. The shelf support 22 is positioned a distance D below a top surface 26 of the support member. The distance D is configured to be the same as the thickness of the shelf. This allows the top surface of the support member to be flush with the top surface of the shelf. The shelf support is integral with the support member and defines a ledge to support the shelf 16 (see also FIG. 1). The support shelf protrudes out about ½ of an inch to support the shelf and extends along the support member 14. The support member has a height, which is preferably 1½ inches.

[0025] FIG. 7 is a perspective side view of the support member 14 having a drawer slide assembly (or typical drawer slide) 28 attached thereto. One part of the drawer slide assembly attaches to the support member 14 and another part of the drawer slide assembly attaches to the side of the shelf 16. Preferably, one drawer slide assembly 28 is used for each side of the shelf. Hence, there are two support members and two drawer slide assemblies for each shelf.

[0026] FIG. 8 is a simplified flow chart describing a method of adjusting the adjustable sliding-shelf assembly of FIG. 1. At step 30, the shelf is pulled outward such that the drawer slide assembly is fully extended. Levers on each drawer slide are pressed to allow the shelf to be detached from the support members (step 32). The support members are then moved inward to disengage the protrusions from the column-notches (step 34). The protrusions of the support members are then moved into other column-notches at the desired vertical position on the column so that the supports members are at the same horizontal position (step 36). This allows the shelf to be horizontally level. The drawer slide assembly on the shelf is then aligned with the drawer slide assembly on the support members (step 38) and the shelf is pushed or reinstalled inward toward the furniture.

[0027] FIG. 9 is a simplified flow chart describing a method of adjusting the adjustable shelf assembly of FIG. 1. At step 40, the shelf is pulled out such that the shelf slides along the shelf support. The support members are then moved inward to disengage them from the column-notches (step 42). The protrusions of the support members are then moved into the column-notches at the desired vertical position on the column so that the supports members are at the same horizontal position (step 44). This allows the shelf to be level. The shelf is then placed on the shelf support and pushed inward toward the furniture so that the support members are held in place by the shelf.

[0028] It should be appreciated from the foregoing description that the present invention provides a fine piece of furniture having adjustable shelves that satisfy the aesthetic demands of consumers purchasing fine quality furniture cabinets. This is achieved by providing aesthetically pleasing wooden components that replace the metal supports and rail assemblies previously known in the art. While a particular form of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be apparent that various modifications can be made without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the invention is to be defined only by the following claims.