Wood cooking plank with easy to use split closure
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An improved wood cooking or baking plank having pre-installed crack or split closure hardware. The cooking plank has permanently embedded nuts so connecting split closing screws can easily turn while sealing closed a crack or split in the wood grain. Operating the plank's split closing hardware requires no special tools foreign to many kitchens. A common table knife will turn the screw easily into the embedded nut subsequently closing the crack or split.

Wright, Victor Marcel (Port Angeles, WA, US)
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Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
1. A wood cooking plank having: a. permanently embedded nuts b. slotted head fastening screws or bolts whereby wood cracks or splits can be repaired conveniently while the plank remains in an oven.



This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/605,003 filed Aug. 27, 2004, by the present inventor.


Not Applicable


Not Applicable


1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to wood split closures, specifically, to wood splits that occur in wood cooking or baking planks.


2. Prior Art

Wood cooking or baking planks have long been used by home and commercial cooks to add flavor to food and, to insulate food to increase the food's juice retention.

Due to the heating and cooling of the wood plank each time it is used to prepare food, usage over time will eventually cause the wood to split along the wood's grain. The ensuing split or crack will allow food juices held on the cooking plank's top surface to fall through and between the newly opened crack to the oven's bottom surface creating, of course, an undesirable mess or possible smoke hazard. To extend the life of or, to repair when being used, prior art has pre-installed threaded steel rods across and through the wood's grain on each end of the cooking plank. Attached to each end of these threaded rods are common threaded receiving nuts. When turned, these nuts will tighten toward the rod's head thereby forcing the wood split or crack to close and seal preventing the further leaking of food juices.

Although these rods and nuts will close a wood split which occurs in the cooking plank, the degree of difficulty in doing so usually necessitates the removal of a heating cooking plank from within the oven for safety concerns. Because the nuts and rod heads are recessed into pre-drilled counter-sunk holes so as to prevent accidental touching of hot steel by cooks or their guests, special tools uncommon to most kitchens are required for tightening. Tools, such as a lawn mower spark plug remover or, a deep dish socket with ratchet are needed to access the recessed nut or rod head. Often, both tools are needed since one must hold either the nut or rod head while the other is turned to close the split. The need for two tools is caused by the wood's shrinkage, or expansion, from the repeated heating and cooling. Locknut washers often fail to function as desired under these conditions. Additionally, to fit the socket(s) or spark plug remover(s) over the nut or rod head usually requires the plank be held firmly to turn the nut or rod head while tightening. This can be hazardous if attempted while the plank is still atop a hot steel rack inside a heating oven. Most users will be forced to remove prior art cooking planks from within a hot oven and onto a stable cool surface to affect a crack or split repair. This removal of the heating plank interrupts the cooking times required by specific recipes and often leaves food juices spilled on undesired surfaces. Attempts to avoid removal of the heated cooking plank prior to repairing a crack can cause burns to the user. Also, food spillage occurs should the plank tip to one side while a split repair is attempted within a hot oven.


The objects and advantages of the present invention are:

    • (a) to provide a wood cooking or baking plank which a user can easily and safely repair a crack or split without necessitating the plank's removal from a hot oven.
    • (b) to provide a wood cooking plank which requires no special tools beyond a common table knife for a wood crack or split repair.


In accordance with the present invention, wood cooking plank split or crack closure hardware will include a nut permanently embedded into the plank's wood allowing a slotted head rod to be easily screwed into the embedded nut with a table knife or similar flat and narrow tool such as a common flathead screwdriver. Furthermore, the present invention will not require a plank's user to hold the plank stable while affecting a repair.


FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of my plank with the split tightening rods and “tee” nuts disassembled.

FIG. 2 shows a top view of my plank with pre-drilled holes for nuts and rods (2A) along with an alternative location (2B) for holes in a different location through the plank or, for a different length plank.

FIG. 3 shows a side view with pre-drilled holes for the split closing hardware.

FIG. 4 shows an end view of my plank without pre-drilled holes but with the routed area for food and it's juices.

FIG. 5 shows and end view of my plank with pre-drilled holes for split closure hardware but without a routed area for food and its juices.

FIG. 6 shows an end view of my plank with a permanently embedded “tee” nut receiving the threaded end of the split closing tightening rod.


  • 1 wood plank
  • 2 tightening rod with threaded end
  • 3 slotted tightening rod head
  • 4 washer
  • 5 pronged “tee” nut with threaded barrel
  • 6 pre-drilled hole for split closure hardware


A preferred embodiment of the split closure hardware from the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1 (perspective view) and FIG. 6 (end view). The closure hardware includes either a two, three, or four pronged threaded barrel “tee” nut 5 which is pressed into a pre-drilled counter sunk hole 6 until the prongs have fully embedded into the wood plank 1. Once embedded into the wood plank 1, the threaded end of the tightening rod 2 can be inserted in the pre-drilled hole 6 directly opposite the embedded “tee” nut 5. The slotted head of the tightening rod 3 is then screwed into the threaded receiving barrel of the embedded “tee” nut until the washer 4 is snug and flush with the wood inside the end of the larger countersunk hole.

In the preferred embodiment, the “tee” nut 5, the washer 4, and the threaded rod 2 are made of stainless steel. However, these components of the split closure hardware may consist of other metals strong enough to pull a wood split closed. The metal should also resist anodizing or corrosion caused by moisture and repeated heating or cooling. Typical adjusting rod 2 threading will be ¼×20 with a corresponding thread size inside the barrel of the “tee” nut 5. The washer 4 outside diameter will be less than the pre-drilled counter-sunk hole 6 diameter yet have a larger diameter than that of the smaller diameter pre-drilled hole 6 which extends across and through the wood plank's grain. In the preferred embodiment, this smaller pre-drilled hole 6 is 5/16 inches while the larger pre-drilled countersunk hole is ¾ inches in diameter.

Operation—FIG. 1

To use the split closure hardware in in the event a crack or split occurs in the wood plank 1, one inserts a flat head screwdriver or the end of a common table knife into the slot or groove of the split's nearest tightening rod head 3. Once fitted into the slot, one simply turns the head until the threaded rod 2 pulls into the “tee” nut 5 far enough that the crack or split running with the wood plank's grain has closed and can no longer leak food juice. Because the threaded barrel of the “tee” nut 5 is open on both ends, this procedure can be repeated endlessly, if needed or desired by the plank's user.

FIG. 2—Additional Embodiments

Additional embodiments are illustrated in FIG. 2. Different locations can be used for the split closure hardware along the length of the cooking plank across and through the wood grain. Additionally, different lengths or widths of wood planks can use the present invention.

Alternative Embodiments

Different threaded receiving nuts can be used in place of the “tee” nut so long as the nut is embedded into the wood plank in such a way as to allow a threaded rod to pull through the nut without causing the embedded nut to turn, slip, or shear the surrounding wood.


Based on the previous description, a number of advantages of my wood cooking plank become evident:

    • (a) Because splits or cracks will often occur while the wood cooking plank is within a hot oven, a user can close the crack or split with much less risk of physical injury. She or he can conduct the repair without first removing the heated cooking plank from the oven. Since the “tee” nut pulls the tightening rod when the tightening rod's slotted head is turned, the weight of the food atop the plank often is sufficient to keep the plank steady while the split is closed. Thus, the user doesn't need to hold or steady the hot cooking plank to conduct a split repair.
    • (b) The cooking plank split closure hardware requires no special tools be kept within kitchen.
    • (c) The food juices leaking through a crack or split are substantially reduced since the repair can be conducted much faster.
    • (d) Over-tightening of the split closure hardware and the ensuing wood fracture is less likely to occur when “screwing” the tightening rod compared to “wrenching” the tightening rod.


The reader will see that this cooking plank is safer, easier, and cleaner to use should a crack or split occur during use. This improvement of existing prior art is especially beneficial for fast paced commercial environments. However, home cooks will also appreciate this invention.

While the previous description contains many specificities, these shouldn't be construed as limiting the scope of the invention. The cooking plank can be made from different types of wood and can be different lengths, widths, or thicknesses. Different lengths, diameters, and metals can be used for the tightening rods. The same applies to the embedded receiving nuts.

Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.

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