Title:
Drywall patch for blind hole and picture hanger
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drywall patch includes a base member having a handle attached to it by frangible arms of a yoke, allowing the drywall patch, which also serves as a strong reinforcement plate, strengthening the wall in the repaired area, to be pulled against the blind side of a wall following insertion of the drywall patch into a hole. While the drywall patch is held against the blind side of the wall, screws are used to fasten the patch to the wall, then the handle is removed by breaking it from the base member. Patching compound is then applied, sanded and painted to finish the repair. The base member includes an array of conical apertures to hold patching compound better. Alternatively, the handle may be left attached to the base member and used as a hanger.



Inventors:
Bailey, Robert D. (McPherson, KS, US)
Application Number:
11/344738
Publication Date:
05/18/2006
Filing Date:
02/01/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02D37/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GENNARO, JR, ANTHONY J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kenneth W. Iles (Overland Park, KS, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A drywall patch comprising a base member and a handle connected to said base member.

2. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 1 further comprising means for providing an area of relative weakness where said handle is connected to said base member.

3. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 2 wherein said area of relative weakness further comprises at least one hinge connecting said handle to said base member.

4. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 3 wherein said at least one hinge further comprises a living hinge.

5. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 1 wherein said handle further comprises a yoke.

6. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 5 wherein said yoke further comprises a pair of parallel arms, with each said arm member comprising a distal end connected to said base member.

7. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 6 wherein said distal end of each said arm is connected to said base member by a living hinge.

8. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 6 wherein said yoke further comprises a proximal end on each said parallel arm with said proximal ends connected to a cross member portion.

9. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 8 further comprising a handle portion connected to said cross member portion.

10. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 9 wherein said handle portion further comprises a finger slot.

11. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 1 further comprising at least one aperture in said base member.

12. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 1 further comprising means for identifying an upper face on said base member marked on said base member.

13. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 1 wherein said base member further comprises a full width portion adjoining a reduced width portion with said handle connected to said base member at the juncture of said full width portion and said reduced width portion.

14. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 13 wherein said handle further comprises a yoke connected to said base member, said yoke further comprising a left-hand arm having a distal end connected to a left side of said base member, said left-hand arm having a outer edge parallel to and aligned with a left-hand outer edge of said full width portion of said base member and a right-hand arm having a distal end connected to a right side of said base member, said right-hand arm having an outer edge parallel to and aligned with a right-hand outer edge of said full with portion of said base member.

15. A drywall patch comprising a base member having a yoke comprising a left-hand arm having a distal end connected to said base member and a right-hand arm having a distal end connected to said base member, with said left-hand arm further comprising a proximal end portion connected to a cross member portion, said right-hand arm further comprising a proximal end portion connected to said cross member portion and a handle having a finger slot connected to said cross member.

16. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 15 wherein said left-hand arm is connected to said base member by a hinge and said right-hand arm is connected to said base member by a hinge.

17. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 15 further comprising an array of a plurality of apertures in said base member.

18. A drywall patch comprising a base member having a full width portion and a reduced width portion and a yoke, said yoke further comprising a left-hand arm having a distal end connected to a left-hand side of said base member at the juncture of said full width portion and said reduced width portion of said base member, with said left-hand arm having an outer edge parallel to and aligned with a left-hand outer edge of said full width portion of said base member and said yoke further comprising a right-hand arm having a distal end connected to a right-hand side of said base member at the juncture of said full width portion and said reduced width portion of said base member at the juncture of said full width portion and said reduced width portion of said base member, with said right hand arm having an outer edge parallel to and aligned with a right-hand outer edge of said full width portion of said base member, and said left-hand arm having a proximal end connected to a cross member and said right-hand arm having a proximal end connected to said cross member.

19. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 18 further comprising an array of a plurality of apertures in said base member.

20. A drywall patch in accordance with claim 18 wherein said each aperture in said array of a plurality of apertures further comprises a conical aperture.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

SEQUENCE LISTING

Not applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is related to a device for easily patching a significant hole or crack in a wall made from drywall (wallboard), plaster or the like. More particularly, the device can be used to repair a blind hole, that is, one that cannot be reached from the rear of the wall having the hole. Further, the device can be used to patch an existing hole or to provide a strong hanger for pictures or the like.

DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART INCLUDING INFORMATION DISCLOSED UNDER 37 C.F.R. 1.97 and 1.98.

Drywall has become the preferred surfacing material for interior wall of many structures, particularly houses because it is relatively inexpensive and quick to install. Drywall, however, is notoriously relatively weak and is easy to damage or break. Substantially sized holes, structural breaks or cracks, which are all collectively referred to as a hole or holes throughout this paper, are often made in drywall from accidents. Typically it is desired to repair such holes to restore the appearance of the wall to its original condition.

When the hole to be repaired in on one side of a wall having two opposing sides, which is nearly always the case in residential interiors, the wall having the hole to be repaired cannot be reached from the rear of the drywall because the hidden surface of the wall with a hole is in a cavity between the two spaced drywall sheets that form the wall, hence it is a blind hole. In making repairs with the drywall patch described herein, the wall cavity is not filled-only the hole is patched. When it is desired to repair the hole from the rear surface of the drywall having the hole, which is necessary if the repair is to leave a smooth outer surface over the repaired area and is also necessary if the repair is to have any strength at all, then material, such as stuffing, a reinforcing plate or the like must be inserted through the hole, rotated and then fixed to the back side of the drywall in some fashion. In order to achieve this type of repair, it is highly desirable to pull the patch plate toward the outer surface of the drywall somehow. This is the problem addressed by the present invention, which can also be used to hang heavy objects up to about 90 kg. (200 lbs.) if desired. Significant effort has been devoted to various means for repairing such holes, but all such systems known to the inventor after extensive research fall short of desirable ease of use and effectiveness.

A drywall repair appliance can be designed to be applied to the outer surface of the drywall, covering the hole, or can be applied to the rear surface of the drywall around the hole, or can be made to fit into a cavity that fills the cavity itself.

Any type of repair appliance that is applied to the outer surface of the drywall, that is the surface that will be visible to a person using the room the drywall is located in, will leave a hump in the wall of greater or lesser thickness that will be perceptible to a person in the room. These types of repair appliances also invariably have little if any structural strength. Examples of repair appliances that are designed to be fixed to the outer surface of the wall include, U.S. Pat. No. 6,227,292, issued to Hoffmann, Sr. Sep. 30, 2003, discloses a Surface Repair Assembly Including Non-Metallic Repair Patch, comprising a flexible plastic sheet having a plurality of apertures through it. The sheet is cut or torn to size and is applied to a hole by means of an adhesive layer. This thin flexible sheet is designed to be placed on the user visible side of the wall to close the opening between electrical switch plates and the like and is then to be covered with a thin layer of drywall mud.

Other related examples include U.S. Pat. No. 6,231,949, issued to Hoffmann, Sr. on May 15, 2001, which discloses a Surface Repair Assembly Including Non-metallic Repair Patch comprising, a plastic sheet having a plurality of apertures arranged to form a network of strips. And adhesive layer fixes the patch to the surface to be repaired. The patch is mechanically bonded to the outer surface of the wall around the perimeter of the hole in the wall and then it is covered by a repair material such as spackle.

Another such proposed solution is found in U.S. Pat. No. 6,162,525, issued to Amy on Dec. 19, 2000, which discloses a Drywall Patch comprising a fiberglass mesh patch having a depending skirt portion that defines a rectangular opening. An area to be patched is cut out in the shape and size of the patch. A drywall plug is inserted into the skirt portion of the patch and pressed into the wall while the perimeter portion of the skirt remains on the inside surface of the wall and a patching compound such a spackle is spread across the patch and the dry wall plug. This reference is a type of cross between a cavity-filling plug patch and an outer surface patch, which leaves the same type of hump on the outer wall and retains the same lack of structural strength as other references classified in this group.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,358,495, issued to Parker on Nov. 9, 1982 discloses a Drywall Pitch Kit comprising a thin sheet of material that is adhesively fixed to the outer surface of the wall over the hole to be repaired.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,135,017, issued to Hoffmann, Sr. on Jan. 16, 1979 discloses a Laminate Patch comprising a thin flexible sheet of material having an adhesive backing, which is the placed over the hole to be repaired and is covered with a thin coating of patch material, such as spackle.

Each of the above references suffers from a less than flat surface on the outer surface of the wall and a lack of structural integrity. None can be used in any area where it is desired to hang anything, even a light weight picture, a towel rack, and the like. None can provide structural reinforcement or be used as a hanger.

Hole patch appliances that are applied from the rear side of the drywall seem to be more popular, probably because they offer the possibility of a completely indiscernible repair in which the outer surface of the wall appears never to have been damaged. A problem with executing this type of repair is that holes in drywall are typically blind holes, so the rear surface of the drywall sheet can be reached only by passing the appliance through the hole to be repaired. Since it is typically necessary to bind the patch material to the rear surface of the drywall, some mechanism for pulling the patch material toward the outer wall is needed, as some way to hold the patch material in place, a problem not always adequately addressed.

Examples of approaches that provide patch material applied to the rear surface of the drywall include U.S. Pat. No. 6,378,263, issued to Sobers on Apr. 30, 2002, which discloses a Wall Patching Device comprising, a rectangular plate having a symmetrical plurality of apertures through it and a step-down flange on each end, which presents a flat surface to be pulled against the inside surface of a wall. A handle made of a string or the like is connected to the plate by threading it through one aperture at each end of the string, threading a washer over the end of the string and tying a knot in the string at each end. The plate is inserted into a hole to be repaired and is pulled tightly toward the inside of the room while screws or other fasteners are inserted through the wall and to the flanges on the inside of the wall. Any permanent patch material is then spread over the opening. This patch requires cutting the hole in the wall to fit the patch. After the patch is fastened to the wall, the stringed-handle is cut or broken and the ends are threaded through the apertures into the wall, where they fall to the bottom of the wall. Because each end of this device has two 90° bends to create a parallel offset between the fastening flanges held by screws in the surrounding sound drywall and the hole breaching patch portion of the appliance, a user must either have equipment on hand to cut and bend the patching material or carry a large number of different sized patches in inventory. In addition, it is likely that further damage will have to caused to the wall in order to make any patch fit the hole.

In another example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,209,277, issued to DiGate on Apr. 3, 2001, discloses a Wallboard Repair Clip, Method of Repairing Wallboard, and Kit for Repairing Wallboard comprising a clip having outwardly projecting teeth to engage a wallboard and hold a patch cut to fit a matching hole, which has been cut into the wall around a damaged area, while a patching compound is applied. The clip has many right angle bends and a surface portion of the clip remains on the outer surface of the drywall, leading to a hump in the finished wall. It is a kind of hybrid in that part of the clip, which holds a drywall plug, is in the wall and a permanent part is outside the wall on the outer surface. U.S. Pat. No. 6,088,986, issued to DiGate on Jul. 18, 2000, discloses a Wallboard Repair Clip, Method of Repairing Wallboard, Kit for Repairing Wallboard, and Method of Accessing the Interior Office Hollow Walls, which, for our purposes is identical to U.S. Pat. No. 6,209,277, issued to DiGate and discussed immediately above and so will not be discussed separately here.

In another example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,018,331, issued to Forzano on May 28, 1991 discloses Wall Repair Method and Device comprising a plate having a pair of outwardly extending flexible arms that are nailed to the outer surface of the wall after the hinged plate has been folded in half and inserted into the damaged opening. The inserted plate provides a backing for holding a patching compound, but the holding bands are on the outside surface of the wallboard, leaving a hump in the finished wall.

In another example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,285,183, issued to Condit on Aug. 25, 1981, discloses a Wallboard Patching Apparatus comprising a thin flexible sheet having a plurality of apertures they're in. The sheet is intended to be inserted into and through the hole in the wall after adhesive has been applied to its perimeter, which overlaps the undamaged portion of the wall. That handle is pulled outwardly to hold the perimeter of the patch against the interior of the wall. A wire brace holds the handle securely until the glue dries. Some shortcomings of this solution are that the user must apply force to the patch until the glue has set; the glue may not work because the interior surface of the drywall may be dirty or covered with dust, construction debris or the like that adhesive will not adhere to and which it may not be possible to clean; and any resulting patch cannot be strong.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,193,243, issued to Tiner on Mar. 18, 1980 discloses a Panel Repair Kit comprising a rigid patch plate having a plurality of apertures through it is inserted into a rough cut hole in the wall. A rod having a suction cup attached to it is inserted through one of the apertures and is pushed against the opposite wall and held there by a bracket. The rod remains in place after the repair has been completed by applying a patching compound over the patch. The resulting depression in the hole, that is, the thickness of the drywall, is patched with a patching compound. This type of patch does not have the structural strength to hang anything.

Each of the references in the above group have some drawback such as leaving a hump in the finished outer wall surface, relying on adhesive, which tend to degrade over time, or may not adhere to a dirty surface inside a wall cavity, or have little resulting strength.

In another example of this type of patch, U.S. Pat. No. 3,583,122, issued to Biegajski on Jun. 8, 1971 discloses a Repair Patch for Wallboards comprising a hinged plate having a plurality of apertures through it, which is folded into thirds and inserted into the hole to be repaired. A string is tied to the patch plate and extends into the room. The user then pulls the string tight to hold the patch against the inside surface of the wall. A screw or the like can be used to push against the opposite wall inside the wall cavity. The patch is then covered with plaster or the like.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,295,285, Metz on Jan. 3, 1967, discloses a Wall Repair Device comprising a plate having a plurality of apertures and four attached fastening tabs 4, which are bent to conform to a cutaway portion of the wall.

A third approach to this problem is to provide some type of patch that fits directly into the hole, which topically requires further shaping in order to accommodate the patch. Even so, such patches would necessarily have to be readily available in a wide variety of sizes because they must match the hole almost perfectly.

Perhaps the best example of this type of patch is U.S. Pat. No. 5,960,603, issued to Redden et al. On Oct. 5, 1999, which discloses a Drywall Patch Device comprising a plate having a plurality of apertures through it, and a row of angular teeth along each of two opposed sides. The patch is bent slightly outward along the center line between the two rows of teeth. A hole the size of the patch is cut into the wall around the damaged area and the patch is inserted into it, then straightened to force the teeth 12 into the wallboard, thereby securing the patch, which is then covered with a patching compound. This patch requires precision work in sizing the hole and placing the teeth into the exposed drywall prior to straightening the hinge. The resulting patch does not have the structural integrity of the undamaged wall and will not support heavy loads.

In another solution, a plug is formed to fit a hole that is cut into the wall around an existing hole. For example, U.S. Patent Application Publication Number U.S. 2002/0102381, disclosing an invention by McClurg and published on Aug. 1, 2002, discloses Drywall Patch and Method, comprising a circular plug approximately the thickness of the drywall, which is inserted into a circular hole in a wall, which has been cut to enlarge a puncture in the wall to match the plug. The circular plug is secured to the wall by drywall mud. This type of patch requires precision repair work and cannot hold any significant load.

A similar solution is proposed by U.S. Pat. No. 4,620,407, issued to Schmid on Nov. 4, 1986 discloses Method for Drywall Patching comprising a kit having a number of different sizes of solid rigid plugs, a series of matching templates and a saw for cutting an opening around the damaged area of the wallboard. The appropriate sized plug is inserted into the matching opening and held in place with drywall patching compound cement, or the like. This proposed solution involves the same shortcomings as McClurg '381 immediately above.

Because each of these proposed solutions has certain shortcomings as discussed above and none can serve as a hanger for pictures, tools or the like, there is a need for a drywall patch for blind holes and optional structural backer plate or picture hanger that leaves the outer surface finished indiscernibly from the undamaged wall; that is easy to install; that is mechanically fastened to the drywall; that can be readily employed to repair a blind hole; that can be easily pulled tightly against the interior surface of the perimeter of the hole with one hand while mechanical fasteners are installed; that leaves no structure on the outer side of the wall, if desired; that provides a strong repair capable of holding heavy loads; and that can serve as a hanger for tools, pictures or the like if desired.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a drywall patch for blind holes and optional picture hanger that leaves the outer surface finished indiscemibly from the undamaged wall.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a drywall patch for blind holes and optional picture hanger that is easy to install,

It is another object of the present invention to provide a drywall patch for blind holes and optional picture hanger that is mechanically fastened to the drywall.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a drywall patch for blind holes and optional picture hanger that can be readily employed to repair a blind hole.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a drywall patch for blind holes and optional picture hanger that can be easily pulled tightly against the interior surface of the perimeter of the hole with one hand while mechanical fasteners are installed.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a drywall patch for blind holes and optional picture hanger that leaves no structure on the outer side of the wall, if desired.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a drywall patch for blind holes and optional picture hanger that provides a strong repair capable of holding heavy loads.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a drywall patch for blind holes and optional picture hanger that can serve as a hanger for tools, pictures or the like if desired.

These and other objects of the present invention are achieved by providing a base consisting of a substantially planar body of substantially rectangular shape having a plurality of apertures through it, with a handle formed with a pair of attachment yokes that are connected at a pair of stepped in shoulders. The handle is connected to the base by a pair of living hinges.

The body is inserted into a hole in a wall or the like along the thickness of the base, which is thin, with the handle remaining outside the wall and is then manipulated to turn the face of the base parallel to the wall. The handle is then used to pull the body of the patch tightly against the inside surface of the wall and screws are driven into the patch through the wall from the front side of the wall.

Then, if the drywall patch is to be used as a hanger, drywall mud, spackle or the like is used to fill the remaining voids, sanded smooth and painted if desired, with the handle being left in place. In this embodiment, the drywall patch does not have any living hinge or the like that would weaken the yoke that is connected to the drywall patch.

If the drywall patch is to be used only as a patch, the handle is cut off or simply pulled off with pliers or the like, breaking at the point where the living hinges connect the arms of the handle yoke to the base member of the drywall patch, and the remaining voids are filled with drywall mud, spackle or the like, sanded and then painted if desired.

The patching compound, such as drywall mud, plaster, spackle or the like, is forced into any exposed holes in the base of the drywall patch for blind holes and optional picture hanger during patch finishing, strengthening the final finished patch and making it resistant to stresses in the wall and increasing the adhesion of the patching compound.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein is set forth by way of illustration and example, the preferred embodiment of the present invention and the best mode currently known to the inventor for carrying out his invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger according to the present invention shown being inserted into a hole in a wall.

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger of FIG. 1 showing the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger being manipulated into a wall-repair position by a worker.

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger of FIG. 1 showing a worker fastening the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger to the damaged wall by screws.

FIG. 4 is an isometric view of the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger of FIG. 1 showing a worker removing the handle from the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger so that it serves as a patch.

FIG. 5 is an isometric view of the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger of FIG. 1 showing the completed repair prior to finishing with drywall mud, spackle or the like.

FIG. 6 is an isometric view of an alternative embodiment of the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger of FIG. 1 showing a completed repair without removal of the handle, leaving the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger in position for use as a hanger for pictures, power tools or the like.

FIG. 7 is a front view of the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is a cross section taken along lines 8-8 of FIG. 7 showing the cross sectional shape of the holes in the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger of FIG. 1.

FIG. 9 is a cross section taken along lines 9-9 of FIG. 7 showing the cross sectional shape of the holes in an alternative embodiment of the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger of FIG. 1.

FIG. 10 is a cross section taken along lines 10-10 of FIG. 7 showing the cross sectional shape of the holes in another alternative embodiment of the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIG. 1; the drywall patch for blind hole and optional picture hanger (drywall patch) 10 is shown being inserted into a hole 12 in a wall 14, such as drywall, a plaster wall or so forth along the direction of the arrow 16, that is into the wall from the exposed surface 18 of the wall 14, such as from the interior of a room, with the drywall patch 10 ultimately being seated against the blind surface 20 of the wall 14, that is the side of the wall 14 that is normally not accessible because it is faced by another sheet of drywall (not shown) for forming a two surface wall having a cavity between two sheets of materials. In the case of interior room and hallway walls, both side of the wall will normally be the same or similar material, whereas in the case of an outside building wall, the interior surface will normally be plaster, drywall or the like and the exterior surface will be some type of siding. The drywall patch 10 can be used in either situation. The drywall patch 10 is preferably semi-flexible, but strong, resilient and basically rigid, to provide a strong reinforcement plate to strengthen the wall 14 in the repaired area. The distal end edge 15 of the drywall patch 10 is inserted first into the hole 12 so that the handle 70 (discussed below) of the drywall patch 10 remains outside the exposed surface 18 of the wall 14. It may be necessary or desirable to enlarge the hole 12 in order to provide an opening large enough to insert the drywall patch 10 into the hole 12. The base member 22 of the drywall patch 10 further includes a left-hand side or edge 17, a right-hand side or edge 19 and a proximal end or side 21.

In a preferred embodiment, it has been found that a convenient size for the drywall patch 10 is a length along the left-hand side 17 and the right-hand side 19 lies in a range of about 10-25 cm (4-10 inches), with the preferred length being about 14 cm (5.66 inches). The width of the preferred embodiment, that is along the distal end edge 15, lies in a range of about 4.5-10 cm (1.75-4 inches), with the preferred width being about 6.4 cm (2.5 inches) and the width of the reduced width portion along the edge 21 lying in a range of about 1.90-6.4 cm (0.75-2.5 inches), with a preferred width of about 4.6 cm (1.8 inches). The thickness 26 of the base member 22 desirably falls within a range of about 2-10 mm (0.08-0.40 inches), with the preferred thickness being about 3.1 mm (0.125 inches).

Still referring to FIG. 1, the drywall patch 10 includes a base member 22 having a plurality of apertures 24 formed into it, which are filled with the finishing material such as drywall mud, plaster, spackle or the like (patching compound), strengthening the final repair. The base member 22 is a substantially planar base made having a relatively thin thickness 26 lying in the range of about 1.5 mm-9.5 mm ( 1/16 inch-⅜ inch). The base member typically have a length, defined as the dimension parallel to the arrow 16, typically lying in a range of 10-20 cm (4-8 inches) and a width, perpendicular to the length typically lying in a range of 5-10 cm (2-4 inches). The base member 22 can conveniently be made in a variety of shapes and sizes with different shapes and sizes of apertures 24, as desired. Due to the flexibility of the drywall patch 10 for different types of holes or breaks in walls, there is no real preferred size or range of sizes because the structure of the drywall patch 10 can be used in repairing the smallest holes to providing a backing for whole sheets of drywall or the like. The drywall patch 10 can conveniently be made from injection molded plastic, wood or wood fiber products, for example, oriented strand board, or any other suitable material.

Still referring to FIG. 1, a yoke 28, all of which may be conveniently formed as an integral part of the drywall patch 10 when it is injection molded, includes a left-hand arm 30 and a parallel right-hand arm 32. The base member 22, as shown, has a basically rectangular face 34 and a full width portion 36 and a reduced width portion 38, forming a left-hand shoulder portion 40 and a right-hand shoulder portion 42. The distal end 44 of the left-hand arm 30 is connected to the left-hand shoulder portion 40 by the left-hand living hinge 46, which is frangible upon application of substantial tension force, or which can be readily cut. The distal end 48 of the right-hand arm 32 is fastened to the reduced right-hand shoulder portion 42 by the right-hand living hinge 50, which is frangible upon application of substantial tension force, or which can be readily cut. The left-hand arm 30 includes an outer edge 52, which is aligned with the outer left-hand edge 54 of the wide portion 36 of the base member 22. A living hinge is a thinned portion of a large piece that is therefore relatively weakened and where the piece will naturally bend when shear forces are applied to the piece. They are easily formed in molded plastic products and will bend a great number of time before failing. The joint at the living hinge may remain very strong. The right-hand arm 32 includes a left-hand outer edge 56 that is aligned with the right-hand outer edge 58 of the full width portion 36 of the base member 22. Thus the overall rectangular shape of the drywall patch 10 is preserved by the yoke 28 because the left-hand arm 30 and the right-hand arm 32 do not extend beyond the general shape of the drywall patch 10, facilitating insertion into a hole 12 in the wall 14. It may be necessary or desirable to enlarge the hole 12 so that the left-hand arm 30 and the right-hand arm 32 of the yoke 28 will clear the hole 12, which facilitates manipulation of the yoke 28 during installation, as described below in connection with FIGS. 2-4.

Still referring to FIG. 1, the proximal end 60 of the left-hand arm 30 and the proximal end 62 of the right-hand arm 32 are both connected to a cross member portion 64 of the yoke 28. The cross member portion 64 includes a reduced left-hand shoulder portion 66 and a reduced right-hand shoulder portion 68. The cross member portion further includes a straight line portion 61 that is parallel to and spaced apart from the proximal end edge 21 of the base member 22 and is slightly longer than said proximal end 21, so that the handle 70 can clear the reduced width portion 38 when the handle 70 is bent or otherwise manipulated. A handle 70 having a finger slot 72 formed in it to facilitate gripping is connected to the cross member portion 64 between the reduced left-hand shoulder portion 66 and the right-hand reduced shoulder portion 68 and projects outwardly from the hole 12 in a direction opposite that of the arrow 16 while the drywall patch 10 is being inserted into the hole 12. The proximal end of the handle 70 has a circular radius 74 and the finger slot 72 has a matching profile. The handle 70 describes the connected frangible portion of the drywall patch 10, including the yoke 28 and the portion 70, 72 that is normally gripped by a worker during installation, as shown in FIGS. 2-4.

Referring to FIG. 2, a worker grips the handle 70 of the drywall patch with his hand 76 and pulls the drywall patch toward himself in the direction of the directional arrow 78. As illustrated, the reduced width portion 38 of the base member 22 is lower than the full width portion 36 of the base member 22, but the reduced width portion 38 could as well be above the full width portion 36. The worker continues to pull on the handle 70 until the position illustrated in FIG. 3, namely with the base member 22 being pulled firmly into full contact with the blind surface 20 of the wall 14. Then, using a tool such as the electric drill 80 held in his right hand 81 hand, the worker drives the screws 82 through the wall 14 from the exposed surface 18 into the wall 14 and through the base member 22, securing the drywall patch 10 to the wall 14. The screws 82 are preferably self-tapping, such as drywall screws. It is not necessary that any particular screw 82 penetrate one of the apertures 24 because they will naturally drill and tap the base member 22. The screws 82 preferable have countersunk screw heads so that the top surface of the screw head will lie somewhat below the exposed surface 18 of the wall 14. The number of screws 82 to be used depends to some degree on the use to be made of the completed patch, but in general two to three screws above the handle 70 and two to three screws 82 fastened below the handle 70, as shown in FIG. 5, are sufficient to reinforce the crack of hole 12 and to hold the base member 22 securely in place. To work effectively, the screws 82 must be installed in a portion of the wall 14 that remains sound, that is, portions of the wall away from the hole 12. Therefore, the exact locations and patterns of the screws 82 in the installed drywall patch 10 will vary from one patch to another.

Referring to FIG. 4, the worker is shown pulling the yoke 28 from the fastened drywall patch 10, with the right-hand arm 32 having been severed at the right-hand living hinge 50 and the left-hand arm 30 being pulled by the worker's right hand 81 using a pair of pliers 84 to repeatedly bend and pull on the left-hand arm 30, as was previously done with the right-hand arm 32. Alternatively, the left-hand arm 30 and the right-hand arm 32 can be cut from the base member 22. In either case, the left-hand arm 30 and right-hand arm 32 will be severed well beneath the exposed surface 18 of the wall 14 so that the patching compound can be finished smoothly. FIG. 5 shows the drywall patch 10 fully attached to the wall 14, providing a reinforced surface for application of a patching compound. Applying a patching compound, sanding it and painting it completes the repair of the hole 12 in the wall 14.

Referring to FIG. 6, in an alternative embodiment of the drywall patch 10, the above steps are followed except that the yoke 28 is not removed from the base member 22 of the drywall patch 10, leaving most of the yoke 28 exposed on the exposed surface 18 of the wall 14, with the handle 70 preferable being positioned at a downward angle. In this embodiment, there is no living hinge connecting the arms 30, 32 of the yoke 28 to the base member 22, preserving the strength of the arms 30, 32 and providing sufficient strength to support loads. A picture, power tools or the like can be suspended from the handle 70, conveniently using the finger slot 72. Experiments demonstrate that a production quality prototype can suspend a load of at least 90 kg (200 lbs) safely without damaging the wall 14 and without detaching the yoke 28 from the base member 22.

Referring to FIG. 7, the apertures 24 are arranged in a rectangular array, that is, with the apertures 24 aligned on a grid of perpendicular lines as found on graph paper. Any other type of arrangement of the apertures 24 is acceptable. The purpose of the apertures 24 is to receive a patching compound so that it forms a stronger mechanical and adhesive bond with the drywall patch 10 and the wall 14 where the patching compound is applied. Additionally, the apertures 24 may facilitate installation of the screws 82 if one of them happens to find an aperture 24. The shapes of the apertures have an effect on the ability of the apertures 24 to hold and retain a patching compound.

Referring to FIG. 8, the apertures 24 are conical apertures 86, with the widest portion 88 of the conical apertures 86 being in the upper face 90 of the base member 22 and the narrowest portion 92 of the conical apertures 86 being adjacent to the lower face 94 of the base member 22. This shape of conical apertures is preferred when the drywall patch 10 is injection molded because it allows the mold projections that form the apertures 24 to release from the molded product readily. Further, this design provides more gripping surface than cylindrical apertures and a convenient pathway for forcing the patching compound deeply into the apertures 24. In this embodiment, it is desirable that the upper face 90 of the base member 22 be against the blind surface 20 of the wall 14 in order to provide the best mechanical bonding with the patching compound and user instructions to this effect are desirably printed on the upper face 90 of the base member 22, as shown by the instructions 85 shown in FIG. 7, which are marked on the upper face 90 of the base member 20.

Referring to FIG. 9, the apertures 24 are shown in an alternative embodiment, namely the cylindrical apertures 96. The cylindrical apertures 96 can be readily formed by drilling or the like as is the case with peg board, for example, and have the advantage that either the upper face 90 or the lower face 94 can be against the blind surface 20 of the wall 14. Cylindrical apertures provide suitable mechanical adhesion with patching compounds in many applications.

Referring to FIG. 10, the apertures 24 are shown in another alternative embodiment, in which is opposed conical apertures meet in the center of the thickness of the base member 22, that is a the upper conical apertures 98 are aligned with the opposing lower conical apertures 100, with each of the upper conical apertures 98 and the lower conical apertures 100 being moderately truncated. This design is useful when a thicker injection molded drywall patch 10 is desired and shrinkage and warping are a concern. This design also has the advantage of being symmetrical so it does not matter whether the upper face 90 or the lower face 94 is against the blind surface 20 of the wall 14 and the apertures 24 have much of the mechanical patching compound holding capacity of the embodiment of FIG. 8. The screws 82 are used to secure the base member 22 to the wall 14 regardless of the shape of the apertures 24 in any particular base member 22.

The drywall patch 10 can be used to repair any hole that it can span and more than one drywall patch 10 may be used in a single repair.

While the present invention has been described in accordance with the preferred embodiments thereof, the description is for illustration only and should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention. Various changes and modifications may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.