Title:
Arch support device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is a method and device for supporting construction materials used to form a masonry arch on a wall. The method for constructing an arch includes extending an elongatable body to a select length and tightening a lock to secure the length of the body. The next step is inserting a first end of a leaf spring into a first slot between a first end strap and a first toggle clamp and then clamping the leaf spring into place with the first toggle clamp. The next step is inserting a second end of the leaf spring into a second opposite slot between a second end strap and a second toggle clamp and then clamping the leaf spring into place with said second toggle clamp. Finally, the arch support device is mounted on a mounting surface near the wall where the arch is to be installed, and the mason places a plurality of masonry objects on the leaf spring to create an arch.



Inventors:
Knerr, Jacoby L. (Wapakoneta, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/912317
Publication Date:
03/23/2006
Filing Date:
08/05/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04D15/00; E04F21/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FULTON, CHRISTOPHER W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KREMBLAS & FOSTER (REYNOLDSBURG, OH, US)
Claims:
1. An arch support device for supporting construction materials used to form a masonry arch on a wall, the arch support device comprising: (a) an elongatable body; (b) a leaf spring; and (c) first means on the body for clamping the leaf spring on a first end of the body and second means on the body for clamping the leaf spring on a second end of the body.

2. An arch support device for supporting construction materials used to form a masonry arch on a wall, the arch support device comprising: (a) an elongatable body, the body having a first body member telescopically engaged with a second body member; (b) a leaf spring; and (c) at least two clamps mounted to the body for clamping the leaf spring on opposite ends of the body.

3. An arch support device in accordance with claim 2, wherein each of the at least two clamps comprises: (a) an end strap mounted to the body and having an inner face positioned near the end of the body; (b) a toggle clamp mounted to the body and adjacent said end strap; wherein the end strap and the toggle clamp form a slot for receiving the leaf spring.

4. An arch support device in accordance with claim 3, wherein the inner face of each end strap is transverse to the body axis at an angle greater than 90°.

5. An arch support device in accordance with claim 4, wherein the toggle clamp has at least one swivel end.

6. An arch support device in accordance with claim 4, further comprising at least two cleats rigidly attached to the body for being supported by a mounting support.

7. An arch support device in accordance with claim 4, further comprising at least one bracket for seating against the leaf spring during operation to keep the leaf spring from being distorted.

8. An arch support device in accordance with claim 4, further comprising a body extension having a first end mounted to said first body member and a second, opposite end mounted to said second body member for extending the length of said body.

9. An arch support device in accordance with claim 4, wherein a lock tightens the body members at the elongated position.

10. An arch support device in accordance with claim 2, wherein the leaf spring seats against the clamps at the end of the body for forming a non-transition arch.

11. An arch support device for supporting construction materials used to form a masonry arch on a wall, the arch support device comprising: (a) a body, having a first body member telescopically engaged with a second body member; (b) a leaf spring; (c) at least two clamps mounted to the body for clamping the leaf spring on opposite ends of the body, each of the at least two clamps comprises (i) an end strap, mounted near the end of the body, with an inner face that is transverse to the body axis at an angle greater than 90° and (ii) a toggle clamp mounted to the body with at least one swivel end adjacent said end strap, wherein the end strap and the swivel end form a slot for receiving the leaf spring; (d) at least two cleats rigidly attached to the body for being supported by a mounting support; and (e) at least one bracket for seating against the leaf spring during operation.

12. An arch support device in accordance with claim 11, further comprising a body extension having a first end mounted to said first body member and a second opposite end mounted to said second body member for extending the length of said body.

13. An arch support device for supporting construction materials used to form a masonry arch in combination with a wall, the combination comprising: (a) a body, having a first body member telescopically engaged with a second body member; (b) a leaf spring mounted to the body; (c) at least two clamps mounted to the body and clamping the leaf spring on opposite ends of the body, each of the at least two clamps comprises (i) an end strap, mounted near the end of the body, with an inner face that is transverse to the body axis at an angle greater than 90°; and (ii) a toggle clamp mounted on the body with at least one swivel end adjacent said end strap, wherein the end strap and the swivel end form a slot receiving the leaf spring; (d) at least two cleats rigidly attached to the body and resting on a mounting surface; (e) at least one bracket mounted to the wall, spaced a select distance from the body and seated against the leaf spring; and wherein a plurality of masonry objects are seated along a course of the leaf spring.

14. A method for constructing a masonry arch on a wall, the method comprising: (a) extending an elongatable body to a select length; (b) inserting a first end of a leaf spring into a first clamp on the body and then clamping the leaf spring to the body; (c) inserting a second end of the leaf spring into a second clamp on the body and then clamping the leaf spring to the body; (d) placing a plurality of masonry objects on the leaf spring against the wall to create an arch.

15. A method for constructing a masonry arch in accordance with claim 14, further comprising mounting a mounting support under at least two cleats rigidly attached to the body.

16. A method for constructing a masonry arch in accordance with claim 15, further comprising mounting at least one bracket to the wall a select distance above the leaf spring for seating against the leaf spring during operation.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

(Not Applicable)

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY-SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

(Not Applicable)

REFERENCE TO AN APPENDIX

(Not Applicable)

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field Of The Invention

This invention relates generally to masonry tools and techniques and more specifically, to a method and device for forming a masonry arch.

2. Description Of The Related Art

When a mason forms an arch out of masonry objects over a window, he first measures the arch, then conventionally traces the pattern onto a piece of Styrofoam or plywood and cuts the pattern out. This is followed by cutting two braces to size and setting the pattern and braces against the frame of the house in order to begin installing the brick or stone over the arched pattern. This method is not only time consuming, but is very costly considering that a house can have many arches installed at the same time. In addition, the pattern is typically not reusable.

Several arch forming assemblies have been developed including those shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,000,193 to Valero-Cuevas et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,329,743 to Legnante, U.S. Pat. No. 5,305,576 to Giles, U.S. Pat. No. 4,325,207 to Russell et al., and U.S. Pat. No. 938,718 to Smith. There are several problems with the arch forming assemblies disclosed in these patents. First, the Valero-Cuevas patent and Giles patent show arch forming apparatuses that have a center pole with arms branching from the pole. They have multiple adjusting points, and include the need to adjust each arm length and the height of the center pole. It takes an extraordinary amount of time to make the necessary adjustments to use each of the disclosed assemblies. Time is critical on a building site; the more time it takes to set up and tear down the arch forming assembly the less money made by the builder. In addition, each of the arch forming assemblies illustrated can only be adjusted to a predetermined curve because each of the disclosed inventions has holes that are used to adjust the arm length to a specific curve. This inhibits the user because there are many arch sizes that may not fit into this pre-determined design. The holes are set incrementally, therefore the user cannot adjust to his discretion, and he must use the pre-set holes to form his arch. This is unacceptable for a mason who is inventive and creative in his masonry work.

Second, the Russell and Legnante patents disclose arch forming assemblies that include a large number of mechanical parts. These inventions are not practical for use at a home building site. In the Legnante patent, the center frame is made up of multiple Y-shaped modular rod members, hinges, locks, and rods, etc. There are many moving parts in this apparatus, and the mortar from the brick laying could fall onto and interfere with the hinges, thereby requiring the user to quit and clean the apparatus before continuing. The Russell patent discloses an arch forming assembly that has a plurality of tension lines, which have to be extended using an electric motor and slipping clutch gear reduction unit. This requires a lot of extra materials just to set up the arch forming assembly, which does not include the actual masonry materials needed to build the arch.

The Smith patent discloses an arch forming assembly that has two bowed overlapping members attached together in the middle and rigidly attached to a spreading device. The connection of the two bowed members creates an area of rigidness in the bowed members because the portion that is overlapped is thicker than the rest of the bowed members. In addition, because the lock 8 extends above the bowed members, when bricks are laid over the bowed members the lock creates an area that is no longer along the same course as the other bricks that are laid along the bowed members. This invention also has incremental lengthening as shown in FIG. 1, where the rods 9 are threaded 10 to be adjusted one thread length, but not to intermediate lengths.

Therefore, there is a need for a device that has an infinite number of arch sizes and shapes available to the user and that is quick and efficient to install and use.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is an arch support device for supporting construction materials used to form a masonry arch on a wall. The arch support device comprises an elongatable body, which has a first body member telescopically engaged with a second body member and a leaf spring. In addition, there are at least two clamps mounted to the body for clamping the leaf spring on opposite ends of the body. The clamps include an end strap mounted to the body having an inner face positioned near the end of the body and a toggle clamp mounted to the body, adjacent the end strap. The end strap and the toggle clamp form a slot for receiving the leaf spring.

The arch support device is used by masons to install brick or stone arches in buildings, such as at windows or entryways. Once the arch support device is assembled and seated against a wall where the arch is to be installed, the mason begins laying the masonry objects, such as brick or stone, on the leaf spring to create an arch. Once the mason has finished laying the masonry objects, the arch is self-supporting and the device can be reused. The invention provides many advantages not found in the prior art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view illustrating the preferred embodiment of the present invention in combination with masonry objects and a wall during operation.

FIG. 2 is a top view in perspective illustrating the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a bottom view in perspective illustrating the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a side view illustrating the toggle clamp and swivel end of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a schematic illustrating the angled end strap of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a top view in perspective illustrating a body extension of the present invention in an operable position.

FIG. 7 is a bottom view in perspective illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a side view illustrating an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a schematic view illustrating an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a side view illustrating an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

In describing the preferred embodiment of the invention, which is illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology will be resorted to for the sake of clarity. However, it is not intended that the invention be limited to the specific term so selected and it is to be understood that each specific term includes all technical equivalents, which operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose. For example, the word connected or term similar thereto is often used. They are not limited to direct connection, but include connection through other elements where such connection is recognized as being equivalent by those skilled in the art.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1. The invention is an arch support device 10 used by masons for forming a masonry arch over a window or entryway 11. In general, the arch support device 10 has an elongatable body 12, a leaf spring 20 and a means for clamping the leaf spring 20 on the body 12.

More specifically, the preferred elongatable body 12 has a first body member 14 that is telescopically engaged with a second body member 16. In the preferred embodiment, the first body member 14 has a male end and the second body member 16 has a female end for receiving the male end of the first body member 14. Thus, the length of the body 12 can be adjusted by sliding the members 14 and 16 relative to one another. The first and second body members can, alternatively, each have female ends or each have male ends and still function as the preferred embodiment if there is a piece interposed between them to which they attach (see FIGS. 6 and 7), as will be recognized by a person of ordinary skill.

“Elongatable”, as the term is used herein to describe the body 12, means that the body is adjustable in length, that is, in the spacing between its opposite ends. An “elongatable” body can manifest itself in a variety of particular structures. For example, a first alternative to the body 12 is illustrated in FIG. 9 and has a center body 150 that does not itself elongate, but has two threaded rods 152 and 154 that extend from opposite ends of the body 150 into threaded apertures to elongate the entire structure by rotation of the threaded rods. Two clamps 156 and 158 are mounted to the ends of the rods 152 and 154 for accepting the leaf spring (not shown). As recognized by a person of ordinary skill, it is possible for only one of the rods 152 and 154 to extend into or out of the center body 150 in order to elongate the entire structure. Although this alternative limits the adjustability of the device, it may be useful in some situations.

Another alternative illustrated in FIG. 10 shows that a central portion of the body may be eliminated altogether leaving an elongatable body with only the ends 170 and 172. Even if independent of one another, the ends 170 and 172 are considered elongatable according to the invention because the ends 170 and 172 can be adjusted laterally to extend to the edges of the opening in the stone wall. The ends 170 and 172 have the cleats 174 and 176 for mounting to a mounting surface 180 as described below. The slot created by the end straps 182 and 184 and toggle clamps 186 and 188 form clamp openings that accept the leaf spring 178. The masonry objects 190 are placed on the leaf spring 178 to form the arch. This design is much less stable than the preferred embodiment. However, it is possible to create an arch using this alternative elongatable body device.

The second body member 16 of the preferred embodiment has a slot 17, as illustrated in FIG. 3, for accepting a locking knob 18. The slot 17 enables a mason to move the knob 18 along the slot 17 and tighten the knob 18 when the body 12 is adjusted to the length desired. The knob 18 is used to lock the body 12 at a particular length, as determined by the user. The knob 18 shown in FIG. 3 is attached to the end of a threaded shaft that extends through a threaded aperture in the first body member 14 to tighten the body members 14 and 16 together. It will become apparent that a variety of alternative locking mechanisms can be used.

It is important to note that the first body member 14 preferably does not have a plurality of holes or notches for setting the body 12 to one of a plurality of predetermined lengths. The infinitely adjustable body allows the user to set the body 12 to the exact distance needed for the arch, unlike prior devices. Conventionally, the method for selecting the length of the arch was pre-determined by the apparatus having holes set at increments, thereby requiring the mason to use a number of shims to get the arch to begin at the correct transition. The invention eliminates this problem.

Once the user has set the length of the body 12 or possibly before, the leaf spring 20 is inserted into the clamps 22 and 24. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the clamps 22 and 24 include end straps 23 and 25 mounted to the body members 14 and 16, respectively. The toggle clamps 32 and 34 are mounted to the body 12 adjacent the respective end straps 23 and 25. The end straps 23 and 25 and toggle clamps 32 and 34 form slots 28 and 29 there between, respectively, for receiving the ends of the leaf spring 20.

In the preferred embodiment, the end straps 23 and 25 have inner faces 26 and 27 that are transverse to the body 12 axis A at an angle B slightly greater than 90°, as illustrated in FIG. 5. The inner faces of the end straps 23 and 25 are thus angled slightly from perpendicular to the body axis in order to force the leaf spring 20 slightly outwardly before bending in to create the radius of the arch where the masonry objects begin to contact the leaf spring 20. Thus, the inner faces 26 and 27 angle away from one another at the tops to urge the attached leaf spring 20 outwardly slightly. The spring 20 then curves inwardly at the exact radius desired at the portion of the spring that supports the masonry objects, such as one inch above the top of the body 12. This enables the mason to lay one course of brick or stone along the arch support device and keep the arch in the perfect radius. Although not preferred, it is possible that the end straps can be perpendicular to the body axis or even at an angle less than 90°, as will be recognized by a person of ordinary skill. This will, of course, not have the preferred advantage.

The toggle clamps 32 and 34 are recessed into openings 36 and 38 formed in the tops of the body members 14 and 16 near the end straps 23 and 25. The toggle clamps 32 and 34 are conventional mechanisms that have arms 33 and 35 that move a corresponding finger outwardly or inwardly to mechanically tighten or release a swivel end 36 and 37 near the inner faces 26 and 27 of the end straps 23 and 25, respectively. The swivel end 36 and 37 has a ball and socket joint so that it can pivot the swivel ends 36 and 37 to accommodate the leaf spring's angle relative to the body axis. The toggle clamps of the preferred embodiment is illustrated in FIG. 4. However, it is known that any clamping device can be used to seat against the leaf spring 20 when it is inserted between the clamp and the end straps.

The clamps 22 and 24 clamp the leaf spring 20 and hold it in place during use of the device. The leaf spring 20 is a flexible spring steel strip that is clamped into place by inserting each of the ends 19 and 21 of the leaf spring 20 into the slots 28 and 29 of the clamps 22 and 24. The toggle clamps 32 and 34 are extended and the swivel ends 36 and 37 are forced firmly into contact with one side of the leaf spring 20, and the opposite side is forced into contact with the inner surfaces 26 and 27 of the end straps 23 and 25. This causes a friction fit that prevents the leaf spring from moving relative to the clamps.

The preferred leaf spring 20 may have a frictional coating, such as a spray urethane, rubber or duct tape, adhered to the outer surface for increasing the friction between the inner surface of the end strap and the leaf spring 20. Alternatively, the frictional coating may be applied to the inner surfaces of the end straps 23 and 25 to achieve the same result. This coating is optional and as recognized by a person of ordinary skill, is not necessary for the device to operate as described.

There are cleats 40 and 42 rigidly attached to the first and second body members 14 and 16, respectively, for being supported by a mounting support 44, as illustrated in FIG. 1. The cleats 40 and 42 allow the mason to make adjustments to the leaf spring 20 without the body 12 falling from the mounting support surface 44. A person of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the cleats 40 and 42 are optional and that a mason can seat the first and second body members 14 and 16 against the mounting support surface 44 without the cleats 40 and 42.

In one embodiment, the mounting support 44 consists of two wooden two-by-four boards 46 and 48, wherein the lower ends rest on the masonry objects and the upper ends seat against the cleats providing sufficient support to the body 12. However, it is known that any type of mounting support materials can be used. For example, a windowsill or telescoping metal poles with attached pivots can be used.

The preferred embodiment also includes at least one bracket 50 for seating against the leaf spring 20 during use to keep the flexible leaf spring 20 from being significantly distorted by the weight of the masonry objects 52. Distortion can occur due to the flexibility of the leaf spring 20 when the weight of a brick is placed on one side of the spring. The bracket 50 is mounted to the wall where the arch is being installed at a height, which is one half the length of the arch. The bracket 50, although preferred, is not necessary for the arch support device to function if the user is very careful, although the bracket 50 allows the user to make a perfect arch without having to be as careful. In addition, a plurality of brackets can be mounted to the wall to ensure that the arch support device remains undistorted during installation of the masonry objects 52. For example, a bracket can be mounted on each side of the arch and one on the top of the arch for maximum support.

When constructing an arch either from brick or stone, the mason begins by extending the body 12, which has the first body member 14 inserted telescopically into the second body member 16 until it reaches the desired length. It is possible that the body 12 is not assembled, in which case the mason begins by inserting the first body member 14 into the second body member 16 and elongating the body 12 to the desired length. The desired length is the inside dimensions of the arch opening. In the case of a window arch shown in FIG. 1, the desired length is the inside dimensions of the masonry objects laid to the bottom of the arch. The outer edges of the clamps 22 and 24 seat against the previously laid masonry objects, or just inside them, when the body 12 is elongated to the desired length.

Once this length is reached, the lock 18 is tightened, which locks the body 12 to the desired length. The mason then installs the two wooden two-by-four boards 46 and 48, which will act as mounting supports for the body 12. The boards 46 and 48 are placed vertically near the wall where the arch is being installed, either beneath the window or along a wall of the structure and the body 12 is placed on the top ends of the boards 46 and 48. The body 12 has two cleats 40 and 42 mounted to the bottom of the body 12 for accepting the support boards 46 and 48 as shown. The cleats 40 and 42 keep the boards 46 and 48 from slipping during use.

The mason next inserts a first end 19 of the leaf spring 20 in the first slot 27 between the end strap 25 and the toggle clamp 34 and tightens the toggle clamp 34 so that the swivel end 37 seats tightly against the leaf spring 20, thereby holding the leaf spring 20 in place. The mason then inserts the second end 21 of the leaf spring 20 into the second slot 26 between the end strap 23 and the toggle clamp 32. By measuring the length of the body 12 and dividing the length in half, the mason determines the height of the arch. Once this height is determined, the mason mounts at least one bracket 50 to the wall at the arch height and can mount additional brackets along the perimeter of the arch, if desired. The mason adjusts the height of the leaf spring 20 to seat against the bracket 50, which is at the required arch height, and then tightens the toggle clamp 32 so that the swivel end 36 seats tightly against the leaf spring 20 holding the leaf spring 20 in place.

Once the arch support device is assembled and in place, the mason begins laying the masonry objects 52, such as brick or stone, on the leaf spring 20 to create the arch. For the best results, the mason lays the masonry objects 52 on both sides of the arch, working course by course. Once the mason has finished laying the masonry objects, the arch is self-supporting and the device 10 can be removed. To be more secure, the device 10 can be left in place until the mason lays stone or brick that reaches two courses above the arch.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention is advantageous over conventional arching tools because it is not necessary for the mason to leave the arch support device in place overnight. In addition, the present invention only requires a mason to purchase the arch support device and perform some minor assembly, unlike the conventional methods of purchasing Styrofoam and measuring and cutting each form for each arch. The preferred embodiment of the present invention is reusable and can be moved from supporting the arch almost immediately upon finishing the arch. Furthermore, the preferred embodiment of the present invention allows a mason to install the masonry objects with out using any shims with the device. This saves the mason time and money, which in turn, saves the builder or homeowner time and money.

FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate a body extension 60 that can be used with the present invention. The body extension 60 has two female ends for accepting two male ends of body members 62 and 64. The body extension 60 enables the user to create arches with extreme lengths that may extend past the length of the preferred embodiment. Although the body extension 60 is illustrated as having two female ends, a person of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the body extension can have two male ends to be inserted into two female body members or the body extension can have a male and a female end for inserting and receiving female and male body members. In FIGS. 6 and 7, two locking knobs 66 and 68 lock each of the body members 62 and 64 on to the body extension 60. More or fewer locks may be used depending upon the type of body extension being used.

FIG. 8 illustrates an alternative to the preferred embodiment. In this alternative embodiment, the arch support device 100 is the same as described in the preferred embodiment, except that the leaf spring 110 is seated at an angle against the clamps 102 and 104 at the end of the body 106 instead of being completely inserted into the slots created by the end straps and the toggle clamps. This alternative embodiment is used for creating an “eyebrow”, a term used in the art to describe a non-transition or cropped arch. The masonry objects 108 are seated on the top of the leaf spring 100 to create the eyebrow.

While certain preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed in detail, it is to be understood that various modifications may be adopted without departing from the spirit of the invention or scope of the following claims.