Title:
Self-squaring modular cabinetry
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Contemplated modular self-squaring cabinets are component-wise assembled onto a wall or ceiling, wherein assembly is typically achieved by first coupling one or more mounting rails to the wall or ceiling at a desired angle. Bulkheads are then coupled to the rail, and the remaining cabinet components are coupled to the bulkheads to thereby complete the cabinet. Preferably, the cabinet includes one or more squaring brackets and fixed angles in the bulkheads such that assembly necessarily results in a perfectly squared cabinet. Contemplated cabinets may further include an adjustable component that allows straightening of the mounting rail to a horizontal position and/or changing of the distance of the bulkhead relative to the wall.



Inventors:
Heyer, Ronald (Huntington Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/131724
Publication Date:
11/17/2005
Filing Date:
05/17/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B95/00; A47B96/00; (IPC1-7): A47B96/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ING, MATTHEW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FISH IP LAW, LLP (Irvine, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A modular self-squaring cabinetry kit comprising: an instruction that instructs a person to assemble a cabinet by (a) coupling at least one mounting rail to a static surface; (b) coupling at a predetermined angle a first and a second bulkhead to the mounting rail; (c) optionally coupling a secondary rail to the first and the second bulkhead; (d) coupling at least one of a cabinet top, a cabinet bottom, a cabinet side, a shelf, and a cabinet face plate to the first and second bulkheads; wherein the cabinet includes a squaring bracket that is coupled to the bulkhead such that the bracket prevents change of an angle that is formed between an imaginary plane through the bulkhead and an imaginary plane through the mounting rail; and at least one of the mounting rail, the bulkhead, the secondary rail, the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, the cabinet face plate, and the squaring bracket.

2. The kit of claim 1 wherein the bulkhead has at least one of a rectangular frame configuration, an X-shaped configuration, an M-shaped configuration, and a U-shaped configuration.

3. The kit of claim 1 further comprising an instruction of assembling the bulkhead from a plurality of elements.

4. The kit of claim 1 wherein the squaring bracket is permanently coupled to the bulkhead.

5. The kit of claim 1 wherein the squaring bracket is configured to engage with the bulkhead and the mounting rail to thereby prevent change of the angle.

6. The kit of claim 1 wherein at least one of the cabinet face and the bulkhead are configured to change a length in at least one dimension.

7. The kit of claim 1 wherein the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate are configured to be coupled to the bulkhead.

8. The kit of claim 1 wherein the static surface is a wall and the mounting rail is coupled in a horizontal position to the wall, and wherein the predetermined angle is 90 degrees, and wherein the angle is maintained by the squaring bracket.

9. A method of installing a cabinet comprising the steps of: coupling at least one mounting rail to a static surface; coupling at a predetermined angle a first and a second bulkhead to the rail; optionally coupling a secondary rail to the first and the second bulkhead; coupling at least one of a cabinet top, a cabinet bottom, a cabinet side, a shelf, and a cabinet face plate to the first and second bulkheads; and including a squaring bracket into the cabinet such that the bracket is coupled to the bulkhead to prevent change of an angle that is formed between an imaginary plane through the bulkhead and an imaginary plane through the rail.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein the mounting rail is coupled in a horizontal position, and wherein the bulkheads are mounted at a 90 degree angle between the mounting rail and the bulkhead.

11. The method of claim 9 wherein the step of coupling the at least one of the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate to the first and second bulkheads includes using prefabricated connectors that are optionally coupled to the bulkhead or the at least one of the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate.

12. The method of claim 9 wherein the squaring bracket is included as part of the bulkhead.

13. The method of claim 9 further comprising a step of changing a length in at least one dimension of the bulkhead or the face plate.

14. The method of claim 9 further comprising a step of assembling the bulkhead from a plurality of elements.

15. A modular cabinet comprising: a first and a second bulkhead coupled to a mounting rail, wherein the mounting rail is configured to be coupled to a wall or ceiling; an optional secondary rail that is coupled to the first and the second bulkhead; at least one of a cabinet top, a cabinet bottom, a cabinet side, a shelf, and a cabinet face plate, each of which is coupled to the first and second bulkheads; and a squaring bracket coupled to the bulkhead such that the bracket prevents change of an angle that is formed between an imaginary plane through the bulkhead and an imaginary plane through the rail.

16. The cabinet of claim 15 wherein the bulkhead has at least one of a rectangular frame configuration, an X-shaped configuration, an M-shaped configuration, and a U-shaped configuration.

17. The cabinet of claim 15 wherein the squaring bracket is configured to cooperate with at least one of the mounting rail, the optional secondary rail, and the face plate to thereby prevent change of the angle.

18. The cabinet of claim 15 further comprising an adjusting mechanism coupled to at least one of the mounting rail and the bulkhead that allows changing of a distance between the bulkhead and the mounting rail.

19. The cabinet of claim 15 wherein at least one of the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate comprises a connector element that is configured to allow coupling of the at least one of the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate to at least one of the first and second bulkheads.

20. At least one of a bulkhead, a squaring bracket, a cabinet top, a cabinet bottom, a cabinet side, a shelf, and a cabinet face plate, wherein the bulkhead, the squaring bracket, the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate are configured to be coupled to at least one of a mounting rail and another bulkhead to thereby form at least part of the modular cabinet of claim 15.

Description:

This application claims priority to my copending provisional patent application with the Ser. No. 60/572135, filed May 17, 2004, which is incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The field of the invention is furniture.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Numerous wall mounted furniture pieces are known in the art, and all or almost all of the currently known wall mounted furniture pieces are first assembled before mounting to the wall. Prefabrication of wall mounted furniture advantageously simplifies, or completely eliminates any required assembly. However, as side, top, and bottom walls are typically load bearing structures, the weight of prefabricated wall mounted furniture if often substantial, and generally requires at least two persons to safely install the furniture. Furthermore, adjustment in distance from the wall as well as leveling out such furniture is frequently challenging as the entire weight needs to be held by a person until the correct position of the furniture is achieved. Worse yet, storage requirements for prefabricated furniture is significant, and the sheer size of such furniture often exceeds transport capabilities of most customers that have not a truck or other cargo vehicle. Therefore, while numerous wall mounted furniture configurations are well known in the art, all or almost all of them suffer from significant disadvantages. Among other things, the weight and size of presently known furniture often prevents a person from transporting and installing the furniture by him- or herself. Therefore, there is still a need to provide improved wall hanging furniture, and especially self-squaring cabinetry.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to modular self-squaring cabinets and methods for same in which the cabinet is configured such that the cabinet is stepwise assembled onto a static surface (e.g., wall or ceiling). Especially contemplated cabinets advantageously include at least one squaring bracket that forces the cabinet into a properly squared and plumbed configuration.

In one aspect of the inventive subject matter, a modular self-squaring cabinetry kit will include an instruction that instructs a person to assemble a cabinet by (a) coupling at least one mounting rail to a static surface; (b) coupling at a predetermined angle a first and a second bulkhead to the mounting rail; (c) optionally coupling a secondary rail to the first and the second bulkhead; (d) coupling at least one of a cabinet top, a cabinet bottom, a cabinet side, a shelf, and a cabinet face plate to the first and second bulkheads; wherein the cabinet includes a squaring bracket that is coupled to the bulkhead such that the bracket prevents change of an angle that is formed between an imaginary plane through the bulkhead and an imaginary plane through the mounting rail. Such kits will further include at least one mounting rail, bulkhead, secondary rail, cabinet top, cabinet bottom, cabinet side, shelf, cabinet face plate, and/or squaring bracket.

Preferably, the bulkhead is configured as a rectangle, or has a X-shaped, M-shaped, or U-shaped configuration. While it is typically preferred that the bulkhead is prefabricated, it is also contemplated that the bulkhead can be assembled from a plurality of parts. Alternatively, or additionally, at least one of the dimensions of the bulkhead (and/or face plate) may be adjustable (e.g., telescoping). Furthermore, it is generally preferred that the mounting rail is horizontally mounted to a wall and the bulkhead is coupled to the mounting rail at a 90 degree angle. Particularly preferred squaring brackets are permanently coupled to the bulkhead and/or are configured to engage with the bulkhead and the mounting rail to thereby prevent change of the angle between the bulkhead and the mounting rail. Furthermore, it is typically preferred that most, or even all of the components of the cabinets are coupled to the bulkhead.

Thus, in another aspect of the inventive subject matter, a modular cabinet includes a first and a second bulkhead that is coupled to a mounting rail, wherein the mounting rail is configured to be coupled to a wall or ceiling. The cabinet further includes an optional secondary rail that is coupled to the first and the second bulkhead, and at least one of a cabinet top, a cabinet bottom, a cabinet side, a shelf, and a cabinet face plate, each of which is coupled to the first and second bulkheads. Such cabinets further advantageously include a squaring bracket coupled to the bulkhead such that the bracket prevents change of an angle that is formed between an imaginary plane through the bulkhead and an imaginary plane through the rail.

Most preferably, the bulkhead has at least one of a rectangular configuration, an X-shaped configuration, an M-shaped configuration, and a U-shaped configuration, and/or the squaring bracket is configured to cooperate with at least one of the mounting rail, the optional secondary rail, and the face plate to thereby prevent change of the angle. Where desirable, an adjusting mechanism may be coupled to at least one of the mounting rail and the bulkhead that allows changing of a distance between the bulkhead and the mounting rail. In further contemplated aspects, the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and/or the cabinet face plate comprises a connector element that is configured to allow coupling of the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and/or the cabinet face plate to the first and/or second bulkheads. Thus, and especially where contemplated cabinets are sold in individual components, the inventors also contemplate a bulkhead, a squaring bracket, a cabinet top, a cabinet bottom, a cabinet side, a shelf, and/or a cabinet face plate, wherein the bulkhead, the squaring bracket, the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and/or the cabinet face plate are configured to be coupled a mounting rail and/or another bulkhead to thereby form at least part of contemplated modular cabinets.

Consequently, the inventors also contemplate a method of installing a cabinet comprises the steps of coupling at least one mounting rail to a static surface. In another step, a first and a second bulkhead are coupled to the rail at a predetermined angle, and in a further optional step, a secondary rail is coupled to the first and the second bulkhead. In a still further step, a cabinet top, a cabinet bottom, a cabinet side, a shelf, and/or a cabinet face plate is coupled to the first and second bulkheads, and in yet another step, a squaring bracket is included into the cabinet such that the bracket is coupled to the bulkhead to prevent change of an angle that is formed between an imaginary plane through the bulkhead and an imaginary plane through the rail.

Various objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, along with the accompanying drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of an exemplary cabinet according to the inventive subject matter.

FIG. 2A is a schematic representation of one exemplary squaring bracket according to the inventive subject matter.

FIG. 2B is a schematic representation of another exemplary squaring bracket according to the inventive subject matter.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The inventor has discovered that furniture, and especially wall and/or ceiling mounted furniture can be manufactured from a plurality of components in which the furniture is assembled onto a static surface. Preferably, the static surface is a surface in a building, and most preferably a wall or ceiling.

In one particularly preferred aspect of the inventive subject matter, the furniture is a wall mounted modular cabinet that is mounted to the wall using a mounting rail. The mounting rail in turn supports two bulkheads, which transfer substantially all of the vertical load of the cabinet to the mounting rail. In further preferred furniture items, the side walls of the cabinet as well as the top and bottom and face plate (typically including the doors and/or drawers), and optionally shelves, are coupled to the bulkheads, and a squaring bracket is included that is coupled to the bulkhead such that the bracket prevents change of an angle that is formed between an imaginary plane through the bulkhead and an imaginary plane through the mounting rail. As the bulkhead in preferred embodiments has fixed angle relative to the mounting rail (and with that relative to the wall or ceiling), it should be appreciated that the squaring bracket will force the entire cabinet frame into a properly squared and plumbed configuration without need for adjustment of the entire assembled cabinet.

The term “bulkhead” as used herein refers to a structure that transfers substantially all (i.e., greater 90%) of the vertical load of the cabinet to one or more mounting rails, wherein the structure extends in one dimension to at least 40% of the height (top to bottom) of the sidewall of the furniture and extends in another dimension to at least 40% of the width (front to back) of the sidewall of the furniture, wherein at least one of the sidewalls, the top, the bottom, and the face plate is coupled to the structure, and wherein the vertical load includes the weight of the cabinet as well as any items placed into the cabinet. Thus, it should be recognized that the sidewall is expressly excluded from the meaning of the term “bulkhead”. As also used herein, the term “vertical load” refers to the weight force component of the furniture that is perpendicular to an absolute horizontal (typically level ground).

Therefore, in one preferred aspect of the inventive subject matter, a modular furniture, and particularly a modular wall-mounted cabinet includes a first and a second bulkhead coupled to a mounting rail, wherein the mounting rail is configured to be coupled to a wall or ceiling. An optional secondary rail may be coupled to the first and the second bulkhead such that the secondary rail runs parallel to the mounting rail(s). Contemplated furniture further includes a cabinet top, a cabinet bottom, a cabinet side, a shelf, and/or a cabinet face plate, each of which is coupled to the first and second bulkheads. One or more squaring brackets are typically coupled to the bulkhead such that the bracket prevents change of an angle that is formed between an imaginary plane through the bulkhead and an imaginary plane through the rail.

In one exemplary and particularly preferred aspect of the inventive subject matter as depicted in FIG. 1, the furniture is a modular wall mounted cabinet 100. Here first and second mounting rails 120A and 120B, respectively are mounted in horizontal position to a wall (not shown) using mounting gear 124 that maintains the rail in a fixed position to the wall and that optionally includes a mechanism or indicator that facilitates level (e.g., horizontal) coupling to the wall. Additionally, the mounting gear 124 may also include a mechanism that allows changing of the distance between the mounting rail and the wall. It should be especially noted that using contemplated configurations a cabinet or other piece of furniture can be assembled on a wall in a level manner and predetermined distance from the wall simply by positioning the mounting rails in a proper position as the remaining components will provide predetermined angles that force the cabinet into a squared configuration. In contrast, commonly used wall mounted cabinets are pre-assembled and then mounted to the wall, necessitating most adjustments with the cabinet suspended mid-air. Needless to say, such endeavor can be challenging, especially where only a single person mounts the cabinet to the wall.

Once the mounting rails are coupled to the wall in a desired position, both bulkheads 110A and 110B are coupled to the mounting rail(s). Most preferably, the bulkhead includes a squaring bracket 122A that engages with the mounting rail in a manner such that the angle between the mounting rail and the bulkhead is fixed (most typically 90 degrees). Bulkheads 110 are typically metal frames having a rectangular configuration and have sufficient stiffness to prevent buckling and or warping. Cabinet top 130A, sidewalls 130B and 130C, rear wall 130D, and cabinet bottom 130E are then coupled to the bulkheads, and coupling of the face plate 130F completes the wall mounted cabinet. The face plate 130F typically includes one or more doors (not shown). An instruction 140 may be included to assist in assembling the cabinet. Most typically the instruction will inform a user to assemble a cabinet by (a) coupling at least one mounting rail to a static surface; (b) coupling at a predetermined angle a first and a second bulkhead to the mounting rail; (c) optionally coupling a secondary rail to the first and the second bulkhead; and (d) coupling at least one of a cabinet top, a cabinet bottom, a cabinet side, a shelf, and a cabinet face plate to the first and second bulkheads.

Most preferably, the mounting rails are fabricated from a metal, metal alloy, fiberglass, carbon-containing material, synthetic polymer, or combination thereof. However, alternative materials are also deemed suitable and include wood and fibrous materials. Regardless of the material, it is generally contemplated that the dimensions of the mounting rail may vary considerably, and suitable dimensions will at least in part depend on the particular use of the furniture. For example, where the furniture is a wall-mounted cabinet, or bank of cabinets, suitable mounting rails may have a length of between 5 inches (or even less) to about 10 feet or more. Suitable thickness and heights will typically be in the range of about 1/32 inch (or even less) to 3 inches or more. Furthermore, suitable mounting rails may also have a stepped, indented or otherwise shaped profile that allows engagement of the bulkhead with the mounting rail in a predetermined position. For example, indentations or grooves in the mounting rail may direct corresponding portions of the bulkhead such that the bulkhead can only be mounted in a perpendicular angle (e.g., vertical) relative to the position of the mounting rail (typically horizontal). Thus, suitable mounting rails may include a U-shaped, T-shaped, or W-shaped profile, or an otherwise shaped profile. Similarly, the mounting rail may be configured to (e.g., slidingly) engage with a squaring bracket such that the squaring bracket couples the bulkhead to the mounting rail (infra).

Moreover, contemplated mounting rails may have one or more elements that facilitate horizontal adjustment. For example, a mounting rail may include a level (e.g., water or laser), and/or a device that allows adjustment of the height of the rail relative to the ground while the mounting rail is coupled to the wall. Among other things, such device may include a channel through which a screw or nail proceeds into the wall, wherein the position of the channel is variable relative to the remaining mounting rail. Alternatively, or additionally, contemplated rails may also include a mechanism that allows adjustment of the distance of the rail relative to the ground while the mounting rail is coupled to the wall.

With respect to the bulkheads, it is generally preferred that the bulkheads have a frame configuration, and most preferably a rectangular frame configuration, wherein the frame includes a plurality of hollow elements with rectangular cross section that are welded or otherwise coupled to each other to form a frame with a predetermined size. Alternatively, the frame may also be fabricated as a single-piece element. Most preferably, the frame materials are light-weight materials (e.g., metal, metal alloy, fiberglass, carbon-containing material, synthetic polymer, or combinations thereof), and suitable frames may further include stabilizing components (e.g., diagonal cross-bars or wires, corrugated elements, etc.) to further improve mechanical strength. Alternatively, contemplated bulkheads may also have numerous shapes other than a rectangular or square configuration, and particularly contemplated alternative configurations include an X-shaped configuration, an M-shaped configuration, and a U-shaped configuration.

As discussed above, suitable bulkheads may be pre-assembled, in unitary configuration (made from one piece), or may be provided as a plurality of elements that are assembled by a user. In further preferred aspects, the bulkhead may also be configured to allow change in length in a least one dimension prior and/or after coupling of the bulkhead to the mounting rail. For example, contemplated bulkheads may include telescoping portions, or removable portions having one length that can be exchanged with other portions having another length. Thus, it should be recognized that furniture can be customized to a specific dimension while retaining a modular character. Still further, and where desired, contemplated bulkheads may further include a cover or other structure coupled to the frame such that further increases mechanical strength and/or provides additional functionality. For example, contemplated additional elements may include corrugated covers that increase buckling strength and provide additional options for coupling shelves or drawers to the bulkhead.

As the bulkhead in preferred furniture supports the sidewalls, the furniture top, the furniture bottom, the face plate, the back wall, and/or the shelves, it is generally preferred that the bulkhead has a width of at least 40% of the height (top to bottom), more preferably at least 50%, even more preferably at least 65% and most preferably at least 80% to 95% of the sidewall of the furniture. Similarly, contemplated bulkheads also extend in another dimension to at least 40% of the height (top to bottom), more preferably at least 50%, even more preferably at least 65% and most preferably at least 80% to 95% of the width (front to back) of the sidewall of the furniture. Exemplary width W1 of the bulkhead and width W2 of the sidewall, and height H1 of the bulkhead and height H2 of the sidewall is depicted in FIG. 1.

With respect to the squaring bracket, it is generally preferred that the squaring bracket is (permanently or removably) coupled to the bulkhead such that the squaring bracket engages with the bulkhead and the mounting rail to thereby prevent change of a angle that is formed between the mounting rail and the bulkhead. For example, a triangle-shaped squaring bracket may include one portion that permanently or removably connects the mounting rail to the bulkhead angle, wherein the connection may be achieved by mating pins and notches, bolts, screws, or snap-connectors. Alternatively, or additionally, a squaring bracket may also be configured to cooperate—while coupled to the bulkhead—with the optional secondary rail, and/or the face plate to thereby prevent change of the angle. Thus, it should be recognized that all structures that reduce, and more typically eliminate weathervaning of the bulkhead relative to the mounting rail are deemed suitable for use herein.

Moreover, further contemplated squaring brackets may include an adjusting mechanism coupled to at least one of the mounting rail and the bulkhead that allows changing of a distance between the bulkhead and the mounting rail and/or changing of the angle between the bulkhead and the mounting rail. Exemplary embodiments of contemplated squaring brackets are provided in FIGS. 2A and 2B. Here, in FIG. 2A, a squaring bracket 230A is coupled to mounting rail 220A (hatched lines) via screws (not shown) that engage with the bracket through channels 232A. Bulkhead 210A (hatched lines) is received in the bracket and retained by a screw (not shown) that engages with the bracket through channel 234A. In this exemplary bracket, the angle between an imaginary plane running through the bulkhead 210A and an imaginary plane running through the mounting rail is maintained at 90 degrees. Of course, it should be recognized that there are numerous other manners of coupling the squaring bracket 230A to the bulkhead and the mounting rail, and all know manners of coupling, including mechanical, chemical, etc. are deemed suitable for use herein and may be permanent or temporary. In another example, as depicted in FIG. 2B, the squaring bracket may have a triangular shape and include a plurality of openings 234 that will matingly receive corresponding pins in the mounting rail, bulkhead, secondary rail, etc. Alternatively, the squaring bracket may also include pins (or other fasteners) to engage with any of the elements of the furniture item.

The cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate may vary substantially, and it should be recognized that all known shapes, sizes, and materials are deemed suitable so long as at least one of the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate are configured to be coupled to the bulkhead. Most preferably, however, it is contemplated that the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate (including doors and/or drawers) are fabricated from a light weight material as these components need not carry significant loads, and do not significantly contribute to the stability of the furniture item. Therefore, suitable materials particularly include synthetic polymers, wood, metal, and all reasonable combinations thereof, and especially include fiberglass, synthetic polymers, and wood-containing composite materials, which optionally may be coupled to a veneer on at least one side.

Suitable dimensions will typically be those common in the art of furniture making, however, smaller and larger sizes are also contemplated. For example, where the furniture item is a decorative rather than functional item, smaller sizes may be advantageous. On the other hand, larger sizes are also deemed suitable, especially where the furniture item is part of an industrial cabinet. Therefore, contemplated shelves, cabinet tops, and cabinet bottoms will typically have a width (side-to-side) and depth (front-to-back) that is between 3 inches to about 6 feet, and 2 inches and 4 feet, respectively. Similarly, contemplated sidewalls will typically have a height (top-to-bottom) and width (front-to-back) that is between 3 inches to about 6 feet, and 2 inches and 4 feet, respectively. Consequently, the faceplate will typically have dimensions of about 2 inches to about 6 feet in the two largest dimensions (side-to-side and top-to-bottom). The thickness of preferred cabinet tops, cabinet bottoms, cabinet sides, shelves, and cabinet face plates is typically between about ⅛ inch to ½ inch. However, and depending on the particular configurations, smaller thicknesses are also deemed suitable. Similarly, and especially where the component is exposed to at least some mechanical load (e.g., face plate with door, or shelf), larger thicknesses are also considered suitable.

Furthermore, doors and/or drawers in contemplated furniture items may also be coupled to a component other than the faceplate, and most preferably to the bulkhead. Additionally, it is contemplated that at least one of the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate are configured to change length in at least one dimension. For example, change in dimension may be implemented by incorporating sliding or telescoping elements, or modular elements that releasably engage with another element (e.g., via dove-tail connectors, pins, etc.)

With respect to coupling the components of the furniture item contemplated herein, it should be recognized that at least one of the bulkhead, mounting rail, cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate comprises a connector element that is configured to allow coupling of the at least one of the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate to at least one of the first and second bulkheads. There are numerous manners of coupling known in the art, and all of such connectors and connector elements are deemed suitable for use herein. However, it is generally preferred that the connection made is a releasable connection, and in even more preferred elements, the position of an element that is connected to another element can be adjusted in at least one dimension while the two elements are coupled to each other. Therefore, suitable connectors include dowels, screws, clamps, locks, pins, etc.

Contemplated modular furniture or components thereof may be sold as a kit with an instruction, but also as single components that are configured to be coupled to an existing mounting rail and/or bulkhead to thereby form at least part of a modular cabinet. Therefore, the inventors contemplate a method of installing a cabinet that includes a step of coupling at least one mounting rail to a static surface (e.g., wall, ceiling, or floor of a room or house); coupling at a predetermined angle (typically at 90 degrees, but other angles, including those between 15 and 89 degrees are also deemed suitable) a first and a second bulkhead to the rail; optionally coupling a secondary rail to the first and the second bulkhead (e.g., where the secondary rail coupled first and second bulkheads in a position parallel to but not coinciding with the mounting rail); coupling at least one of a cabinet top, a cabinet bottom, a cabinet side, a shelf, and a cabinet face plate to the first and second bulkheads; and including a squaring bracket into the cabinet such that the bracket is coupled to the bulkhead to prevent change of an angle that is formed between an imaginary plane through the bulkhead and an imaginary plane through the rail. Most preferably, the step of coupling the at least one of the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate to the first and second bulkheads includes using prefabricated connectors that are optionally coupled to the bulkhead or the at least one of the cabinet top, the cabinet bottom, the cabinet side, the shelf, and the cabinet face plate.

Alternatively, in still further contemplated aspects of the inventive subject matter, it should also be appreciated that contemplated furniture may also be assembled on a static surface from multiple rails and posts, wherein the rails and posts are coupled to each other via a squaring bracket that squares the rails to the posts, and wherein at least one of the rails (and in some cases at least one of the posts) is coupled to the wall. For example, an exemplary cabinet according to the inventive subject matter may have a face frame that is coupled to front rails, and that further includes a door that is movably coupled to the face frame. A back wall and side wall are coupled to the posts and/or rails and held in place by a cabinet top and/or bottom. Typically, four posts are coupled to each other via rails four rails using a pair of rivets along an x-coordinate. One rail is coupled to a wall via screws or bolts, while a second pair of rivets on each of the rails engages with a squaring bracket, that further includes a rivet that suspends the top of the cabinet.

In configurations similar to the bulkhead described above, one portion of an angled post (e.g., L-shaped) may be employed to mount a shelf to the post. Consequently, it should be recognized that in such embodiments, the load of the contents of the cabinet is transferred to a frame and not to the inside walls. It should be appreciated that such construction is not only functionally desirable but also visually attractive. As discussed earlier, squaring brackets may be configured and placed such that squaring bracket couples the rails and posts in a manners such that the bracket couples pins on each of the rails extending in x-coordinate and y-coordinate, which are also linked in the z-coordinate by the posts. Such configuration is thought to provide an additional measure of stability.

It is particularly preferred that squaring brackets with pin and notch connectors are configured and disposed such that the cabinetry is not only self-squaring, but can also be assembled without any tools. Therefore, each of the rails and/or posts has at least two, typically horizontally or vertically arranged pins and/or holes to ensure proper alignment. With respect to the location of the pins, it is contemplated that the pins may be disposed on any side of the rails and/or posts, but it is generally preferred that (where possible) the pins are located on the sides that face the inside of the cabinets. Consequently, in one especially preferred aspect, the frame can be configured as a self-squaring frame in which the position of the pins and notch connectors force and maintain the cabinet (or other furniture) in a squared position or other position with a predetermined angle that is achieved and maintained by connecting the frame elements. Most preferably, such connection is performed without the need of tools to fasten and/or unfasten the connection. Therefore, it should be especially recognized that the entire frame, and in some aspects even the entire furniture can be erected without use of a tool.

Rails and posts can be fabricated from any material, but it is preferred that the rails and/or posts are manufactured from a metal (or alloy) in a plurality of prefabricated elements having a predetermined length and thickness. Typically, suitable lengths for rails will be between about 2 inches (e.g., for decorative spacers) and 40 inches (for double-door cabinets), or even longer. Similarly, the posts will typically be in the range of about 5 inches to about 40 inches (and even more). Depending on the particular material, the preferred thickness may be between about ½ inch to about 1/16 of an inch. Similar material considerations apply for the squaring bracket.

It is also contemplated that while rectangular angles are generally preferred, angles other than 90 degrees are also deemed suitable, and it should be recognized that alternative angles may be formed via angle stabilizers and/or the angle of posts. Still further, it should be recognized that while it is preferred that the furniture can be assembled without tools, alternative connectors (e.g., screws or other connectors requiring a tool to fasten or unfasten) are also deemed suitable.

Side walls and face frames (with or without doors) may be coupled to the weight bearing frame in various manners, and it is generally contemplated that the coupling may be to the post and/or rails. Moreover, it is contemplated that a side wall may be reinforced to transfer at least part of the load placed on the shelves to the rails and/or posts (e.g., using pins as those connecting posts and rails). Since the weight of the cabinet is almost entirely supported by the metal frame (the posts and rails, held together by the squaring brackets), it should be recognized that the walls, top, bottom, doors, and face frame may be fabricated from any material, and that these elements may be reduced in thickness as compared to conventional furniture. Thus, it should be appreciated that the face frame may include numerous materials other than metal, and especially contemplated materials for face frames include wood (particularly laminates or other wood composite materials).

With respect to the shelves, it is typically preferred that the shelves arte coupled to the posts, wherein the posts have indentations and/or protrusions that support the shelf. Similarly, it is contemplated that the furniture is couple to the wall using at least one of the rails and/or posts. However, it should also be recognized that the furniture need not be fasted to a wall but may also be fasted to a floor or ceiling (or be stand-alone versions).

Therefore, it should be appreciated that contemplated furniture is not only cosmetically appealing from inside as well as outside, but also simple to install because such furniture is installed in pieces rather than lifting an entire cabinet. Still further, contemplated furniture is particularly space, materials, and energy saving due to the non-supporting side panels, and or tops/bottoms. Moreover, using such constructions, it should be recognized that the side panel can be scribed to the wall.

Thus, specific embodiments of modular self-squaring cabinetry have been disclosed. It should be apparent, however, to those skilled in the art that many more modifications besides those already described are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein. The inventive subject matter, therefore, is not to be restricted except in the spirit of the present disclosure and the contemplated claims. Moreover, in interpreting the specification, all terms should be interpreted in the broadest possible manner consistent with the context. In particular, the terms “comprises” and “comprising” should be interpreted as referring to elements, components, or steps in a non-exclusive manner, indicating that the referenced elements, components, or steps may be present, or utilized, or combined with other elements, components, or steps that are not expressly referenced.