Title:
Concealable beam supporting and positioning apparatus, system, and method of use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus, system, and method for adjustably supporting a beam end to a support structure. The apparatus includes a mounting plate, a flange extending generally orthogonal from the mounting plate and defining a cylinder, and a beam support plate adjustably linked to the flange by an elevating means such as a bolt. The system includes the apparatus as well as a beam that has been modified to have an end recess for receiving the apparatus. By mounting the apparatus to a support structure, and placing the beam end over the apparatus, the bolt and support plate can manipulated to adjustably support the beam end. A cosmetic insert can be placed in a lower recess formed in the beam to conceal the support plate and bolt head from view, thereby creating a concealed supporting structure.



Inventors:
Torrey, Donald (Grapeview, WA, US)
Torrey, Nelson (Tacoma, WA, US)
Application Number:
09/966964
Publication Date:
03/27/2003
Filing Date:
09/27/2001
Assignee:
TORREY DONALD
TORREY NELSON
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/26; E04B5/12; E04C3/12; (IPC1-7): E04C3/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, CHI Q
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jablonski Law PLLC (Redmond, WA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed:



1. A concealable beam support apparatus with adjustable support comprising: a mounting plate for attachment to a support surface; a flange extending generally orthogonal from the mounting plate and defining a cylinder; and a beam support plate adjustably linked to the flange by an elevating means.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the elevating means comprises a bolt sized to pass through a hole defined by the support plate and engage threads formed in the cylinder.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the elevating means comprises a bolt sized to pass through a hole defined by the support plate and through the cylinder, and engage a threaded member located at an upper portion of the flange.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the cylinder has a cross sectional profile selected from the group consisting of a curvilinear form, a rectilinear form, and a hybrid curvilinear and rectilinear form.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the flange defines a second cylinder and wherein the distance between the second cylinder and the support plate is generally equal to the distance between the first cylinder and the support plate.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the flange defines a second cylinder and wherein the distance between the second cylinder and the support plate is greater than the distance between the first cylinder and the support plate.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the periphery of the support plate is selected from the group consisting of a rectilinear, a curvilinear, and a combination rectilinear and curvilinear surface.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the flange further comprises an extension portion that defines the cylinder.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the support plate freely traverses an operational distance without interfering with the flange.

10. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the flange and the mounting plate are constructed from a unitary piece of metal.

11. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the flange further defines a cross bolt bore generally orthogonal to the cylinder for receiving a cross beam bolt.

12. A beam support system comprising: a mounting plate for attachment to a support surface; a flange extending generally orthogonal from the mounting plate and defining a cylinder; a beam support plate adjustably linked to the flange by an elevating means; and a beam having an end that defines a channel formed to slidingly receive the flange thereby substantially concealing the mounting plate and flange when the beam is supported by the beam support plate.

13. The system of claim 12 further comprising a cosmetic insert sized to generally conceal the beam support plate when engaged with the beam end.

14. A beam for use with a beam support apparatus that includes a mounting plate for attachment to a vertical surface, a flange extending generally orthogonal from the mounting plate and defining a cylinder, and a beam support plate adjustably linked to the flange by an elevating means, wherein the beam comprises: a first end having an end portion, two side portions, an upper portion, and a lower portion; and a channel defined by the end portion and extending from the lower portion towards the upper portion of the beam wherein the channel has sufficient width and depth to slidingly receive the flange.

15. The beam of claim 14 wherein the channel extends through to the upper portion.

16. The beam of claim 14 further comprising a support plate recess defined by the lower portion.

17. A method of for installing a beam to a support structure using a beam supporting and positioning apparatus, wherein the beam comprises a first end having an end portion, two side portions, an upper portion, and a lower portion, and a channel defined by the end portion and extending from the lower portion towards the upper portion of the beam; and the apparatus comprises a mounting plate, a flange extending generally orthogonal from the mounting plate and defining a cylinder, and a beam support plate adjustably linked to the flange by an elevating means, the method comprising: securing the apparatus to the support structure; inserting the beam end over the flange and mounting plate; allowing the beam end to rest on the support plate; and adjusting the elevating means so as to position the beam end into a desired position.

18. The method of 17 further comprising: placing an insert into part of the channel so as to conceal one or more parts of the apparatus that may be exposed after adjustment of the elevating means.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

[0001] The invention relates to an apparatus and system for use in building construction, renovation and the like, and methods of using the same. More specifically, the invention relates to an apparatus and system for supporting and positioning a beam or rafter that is substantially or fully concealed by the beam or rafter.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Some of the most common structural elements used in constructing buildings are beams and rafters. Beams are typically installed in a horizontal plane for supporting floors at higher levels. Rafters are usually installed at an angle to the horizontal to support a roof structure at some desired pitch.

[0003] One end of a beam, if not both ends, and usually one end of a rafter, is commonly secured to a supporting wall or post. During construction, when supporting walls are only partially constructed and/or supporting posts may be somewhat moveable, it is fairly straightforward to install a beam or rafter and secure it in place. This is particularly true when a beam or rafter end is intended to extend into an interior space of a wall.

[0004] A problem is then presented when a remodel or retrofitting project requires replacement of a beam and the internal spaces of the supporting structures, such as walls, are in a finished state. It is often undesirable for reasons of economy to partially demolish or open up finished walls. Therefore, there is a need for a means of securing a beam or rafter to a finished wall and adjusting the position of the beam or rafter. This need for positional adjustment is particularly important in those cases where an overhead floor or roof is not being removed. The beam or rafter must be raised or elevated into contact with the floor or roof so it will support those overhead structures when temporary supports are removed.

[0005] Prior art devices and methods for supporting the ends of beams or rafters are known, but they all fail to solve the problem presented for a variety of reasons: (1) they require access to the top of or the interior of wall or like supporting structure, (2) they are static, meaning they do not provide for positional adjustment relative to the supporting structure, (3) they are intended to in effect clamp the beam or rafter end to the top of wall, or (4) they are externally fastened to the beam or rafter end, which is often undesirable for aesthetic reasons.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention is directed to a beam supporting and positioning apparatus that permits a user to support, adjust and permanently install a beam to a support surface wherein at least the major portions of the apparatus are substantially concealed by the beam when permanently installed. The apparatus comprises a mounting plate and a flange extending generally orthogonal from the plate. The flange, or an extension portion of the flange, defines a cylinder, which may have a circular or polygon cross-section. The axis of the cylinder is preferably generally parallel to the support surface to which the apparatus will eventually be attached. Elevating means adjustably links a beam support plate to the flange. While the term “elevating” is used throughout this patent, the term should be read to include any form of linear spatial adjustment; “elevating” is used in an environmental sense since when installed and used, the apparatus will “elevate” a beam or other member relative to the environment.

[0007] In a preferred embodiment of the invention, a beam to be supported by the apparatus has an end, which defines a slot sized to slidingly receive the flange. The flange is disposed in the slot and the support plate is linked to the flange by a means for elevating the support plate with respect to the flange. The elevating means preferably comprises a threaded bolt that extends through a hole or slot defined by the support plate and into the cylinder, which preferably has complementary threads to the bolt threads. Alternative means for elevating a beam positioned on the support plate include unidirectional members such as buttress threads, moly bolts, and toggle bolts. The elevating means may also comprise a separate threaded member, such as a nut, disposed on an upper portion of the flange wherein the cylinder permits the bolt to pass there through whereby the bolt threads engage with the threaded member threads.

[0008] Variations of a preferred embodiment include the incorporation of a cosmetic insert to obscure the support plate and elevating means from view, use of more than one elevating means, support plates of various geometries (rectilinear, curvilinear, and combinations thereof), and modification of the supported beam to conceal a surface mounted bracket.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective, partially exploded view of the beam supporting and positioning apparatus mounted in a recess of a post and prior to receiving a horizontal beam having a channel and plate recess formed therein;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a sectional side elevation view of the beam supporting and positioning apparatus with a beam installed thereon;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a sectional end elevation view taken substantially along line 3-3 in FIG. 2;

[0012] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a horizontal beam secured to a post by the apparatus, wherein the apparatus is concealed by the beam and a cosmetic insert;

[0013] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a rafter secured to a post by the apparatus, wherein the apparatus is concealed by the rafter and a cosmetic insert;

[0014] FIG. 6 is a sectional side elevation view taken substantially along the line 6-6 in FIG. 5;

[0015] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a beam end (bottom portion facing) illustrating an alternative support plate recess;

[0016] FIG. 8 is a perspective, partially exploded view of an alternative embodiment using a pair of jacking bolts;

[0017] FIG. 9 is a perspective, partially exploded view of an alternative embodiment; using a pair of jacking bolts;

[0018] FIG. 10 is a perspective, partially exploded view of an alternative embodiment wherein an “L” bracket is used as the flange; and

[0019] FIG. 11 is a perspective, partially exploded view of an alternative embodiment wherein a channel bracket is used in combination with a threaded member.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0020] The present invention concerns an apparatus, system, and method to support and position the end of beam or rafter during new construction or remodeling of a residential or commercial structure. Because the invention is preferably concealed by the supported beam (with the assistance of a cosmetic insert or biscuit), the following description is directed to such applications. It should be understood, however, that the invention beneficially permits post installation beam adjustment whether the apparatus is concealed or not.

[0021] Turning then to the several drawings wherein like numerals indicate like parts, and more specifically to FIG. 1, a beam supporting and positioning apparatus 8 (hereinafter also referred to as “apparatus”) is shown mounted in a recess of post 20. Apparatus 8 comprises mounting plate 10, flange 12, which includes flange extension portion 14, jacking bolt 16, and support plate 18. Apparatus 8 may be manufactured of metal or other material sufficient to withstand the loads imparted to it by the beam. One method of manufacture includes fabricating mounting plate 10 and the flange 12 of metal plate and bar stock, then welding these parts together. Another method of manufacture is to cast mounting plate 10 and flange 12 (optionally with extension portion 14) as a unit. Additional manufacturing steps including drilling, tapping threads, etc. are well known. Mounting plate 10 is shown as being a substantially flat plate, however, it may also be curved for instance to accommodate a curved support structure member such as a cylindrical post.

[0022] Apparatus 8 is intended to be fastened to a supporting structure such as a wall, post, cantilevered beam end, etc. As shown here, apparatus 8 resides in a recess formed in post 20 and is securely held thereto by fasteners 22. While a preferred embodiment shows mounting plate 10 located in a recess, surface mounting of plate 10 is also considered appropriate. In such an embodiment, further modification to beam 40 may be desired as will be described below.

[0023] Beam 40 has beam end 44 with channel 42 formed therein. Channel 42 can be created by making a dado cut in beam end 44, although other forms of creation are contemplated such as by means of a router and the like. Recess 42 is shown in phantom lines and can be seen to approximate the maximum volume of space occupied by flange 12, extension portion 14, and jacking bolt 16 when installing beam 40 and/or when beam 40 is positioned on apparatus 8. A separate recess, support plate recess 48, is formed on the lower surface of beam 40 adjacent to beam end 44 as best shown in FIG. 1., to accommodate support plate 18. Because flange 12 resides in channel 42 and beam end 44 obscures mounting plate 10, only support plate 18 and a portion of jacking bolt 16 are exposed (because beams are mounted high or support structures on their tops, persons will generally not be in a position to view the upper surface of beam 40). Cosmetic insert 46 is shaped to fit into recess 48 in proximity to the support plate. Once the beam is installed, insert 46 can be placed in the lower part of recess 48 to cover the exposed beam support plate 18 and the head of the jacking bolt 16.

[0024] Flange extension portion 14 is shown having a length in the Z axis about ⅓of the overall length of flange 12 in the Z axis. While the presently preferred embodiment utilizes this extension, it is not necessary to the invention that one be present. Thus, flange extension portion 14 could be longer or shorter in length in the Z axis relative to the overall Z dimension of flange 12 without necessarily detracting from the utility of apparatus 8. In addition, a flange may be dispensed with altogether, and the bore in which bolt 16 resides may be formed in flange 12. Moreover, it may be desirable in certain high load installations to have multiple jacking bolts such as illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9.

[0025] Jacking bolt 16 may be of a wide variety of machine bolt type fasteners. It is appropriately sized to support the loads of the beam 40 when the beam end 44 rests on the load support plate 18.

[0026] Support plate 18 is shown in FIGS. 1-3 as having a square shape, but other shapes including circular may be substituted. A corresponding adaptation of beam 40 would then be necessary as is best shown in FIG. 7. A principal consideration is that support plate 18 be constructed of materials that will not fail by deformation or the like when beam end 44 is resting upon it. In cases where beam 40 is a wood beam, further consideration as to the area of support plate 18 must be given to reduce or prevent inordinate crushing of the wood fibers due to reaction loads.

[0027] Mounting plate 10 is shown in FIG. 1 as being bolted to support structure 20. In FIG. 1, support structure 20 is illustrated as a wooden post. However, support structure 20 can be of any material suitable to carry the resultant loads of beam 40, e.g., a cast concrete wall. In some applications it may not be desirable or convenient to form a recess in support structure 20 to receive mounting plate 10. In such a situation, recess 42 can be shaped to receive those portions of mounting plate 10 and fasteners 22 that would extend from the surface of support structure 20, as will be appreciated by those persons skilled in the art.

[0028] FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate the location of beam 40 on apparatus 8 after complete installation. It should be noted that in these Figures, flange 12 is shown flush with the upper surface of beam 40, however, in many installations flange 12 will not extend to the upper surface; in certain special circumstances, flange 12 may extend partly above the upper surface of beam 40. While FIG. 1 illustrated a top down method of associating beam 40 with apparatus 8, in a remodeling application, for example, wherein a ceiling (not depicted) above beam 40 is not removed, apparatus 8 can be installed on support structure 20 from the bottom up without jacking bolt 16 and support plate 18 in place. Once beam 40 is positioned into place adjacent the ceiling and with recess 42 passed over flange 12, jacking bolt 16 and support plate 18 can be installed. Then jacking bolt 16 can be turned to position the beam in its final preferred position, preferably but not necessarily with external assistance. After the positioning is complete, the portion of jacking bolt 16 and support plate 18 that are observable, from below the beam for example, can be obscured for aesthetic reasons by installing insert 46 as indicated in FIGS. 2-5. Insert 46 may be constructed of a thin layer of the same material as beam 40, or some other material as desired.

[0029] In many instances, apparatus 8 will be installed on a post or a wall. Then by turning jacking bolt 16, beam 40 will be urged in a direction substantially parallel to axis of the jacking bolt, i.e. upwards or downwards. Such movement is also defined herein to be substantially parallel to the mounting plate 10. However, it is also possible to use apparatus 8 to position and secure structural members, such as a post, in vertical positions.

[0030] FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate respectively the final installed state of beam 40 and rafter 50. FIG. 6 is a sectional elevation view of FIG. 5. The principal of use and operation in a rafter installation is essentially the same as in the case of beam 40 discussed above. Rafter 50 usually is installed at an acute angle θ relative to the support structure 20.

[0031] Alternative embodiments are shown in FIGS. 8-11. In both FIGS. 8 and 9, a dual elevating means is shown by way of a pair of bolts 16 engaging a suitably modified flange extension portion 14. Also shown in FIG. 8 is an alternative support plate 18′ and insert 46′. Both support plate 18′ and insert 46′ have been modified to account for movement of the lower portion of beam end 44 beyond the lower portion of flange 12. It is foreseeable that in certain installation significant vertical movement of beam 40 will be necessary. Consequently, with the arrangement shown in FIG. 8, one can increase the vertical movement of beam 40 without having to relocate apparatus 8.

[0032] In FIGS. 10 and 11, alternative apparatus 8′ and 8″ are shown. With respect to these embodiments, there is no need for support structure 20 modification (i.e., no recess 11) or additional modification of beam end 44 beyond formation of recess 42. In each instance, the basic operation of the invention is preserved.

[0033] The embodiment of FIG. 10 illustrates the use of flange 12′ having extension portion 14′, which is suitably threaded to receive bolt 16. Flange 12′ differs from flange 12 in that it is preferably inverted and dispenses with the need for a separate mounting plate 10, since flange 12′ also incorporates an integrated mounting plate. A variation of this configuration is shown in FIG. 11 wherein channel flange 12″ is used in conjunction with threaded member 30, which may be fixed or freely associated with flange 12″. A was true with respect to flange 12′, there is no need for a separate mounting plate. In either embodiment, loads imparted to extension portion 14′ or 14″ are transferred to support 20 via flange 12′ or 12″, respectively.

[0034] A systems approach to the present invention combines apparatus 8 with beams 40 or rafters 50. Beams 40 or rafters 50 have recesses 42 and 48 preformed in beam end 44 or rafter end 54. Such a system can be produced in an offsite facility then shipped to a work site for installation with little need, if any, for custom fitting or fabrication on site. Such a systems approach is not only useful in remodeling and renovation, but has particular usefulness in new construction where beam and rafter dimensions can readily be determined from plans, and the beams and rafters can be cut to length and the recesses formed offsite in a facility adapted to produce such structural members in large numbers.