Title:
Thigh protector for use with a pneumatic tool
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A thigh protector is provided that includes a reinforcement material; a vibration resistant material attached to a first side of the reinforcement material; and a impact resistant material attached to a second side of the reinforcing member.



Inventors:
Garcia, Nicolas (Alhambra, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/252996
Publication Date:
08/31/2006
Filing Date:
10/17/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PATEL, TAJASH D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NICOLAS GARCIA (ALHAMBRA, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A thigh protector comprising: a reinforcement material; a vibration resistant material attached to a first side of the reinforcement material; and a impact resistant material attached to a second side of the reinforcing member.

2. The thigh protector of claim 1, wherein the impact resistant material comprises an impact resistant component that is formed to a preformed curvature to support the remainder of the thigh protector in the preformed curvature.

3. The thigh protector of claim 2, wherein the impact resistant component has a shape memory property that allows it to return to the preformed curvature after an external force has moved the impact resistant component out of the preformed curvature.

4. The thigh protector of claim 2, wherein the impact resistant component comprises a plurality of reinforcing ribs that tend to return the impact resistant component to the preformed curvature after an external force has moved the impact resistant component out of the preformed curvature.

5. The thigh protector of claim 3, wherein the impact resistant component comprises a polycarbonate material.

6. The thigh protector of claim 2, wherein the impact resistant material further comprises at least one cushioning material.

7. The thigh protector of claim 2, wherein the impact resistant material further comprises a first cushioning material and a second cushioning material different from the first cushioning material, and wherein the impact resistant component is disposed between the first and second cushioning materials.

8. The thigh protector of claim 7, wherein the second cushioning material is a sweat resistant breathable material.

9. The thigh protector of claim 1, further comprising a belt loop connected to the reinforcing member and forming an acute angel with a longitudinal axis of the vibration resistant material.

10. The thigh protector of claim 1, further comprising a belt loop connected to the reinforcing member and having a slot for receiving a belt loop from a user's pants.

11. The thigh protector of claim 1, wherein an outer surface of the vibration resistant material includes a plurality of strips and a plurality of grooves, forming a plurality of air pockets therebetween for increases vibration resistance.

12. The thigh protector of claim 1, wherein the vibration resistant material is composed of a rubber material.

13. The thigh protector of claim 1, wherein the reinforcing member is composed of a hard leather material.

14. The thigh protector of claim 1, wherein the reinforcing member is composed of a soft leather material.

15. A thigh protector comprising: a reinforcement material; a vibration resistant material attached to a first side of the reinforcement material; a impact resistant material attached to a second side of the reinforcing member; wherein the impact resistant material comprises an impact resistant component that is formed to a preformed curvature to support the remainder of the thigh protector in the preformed curvature; and wherein an outer surface of the vibration resistant material includes a plurality of strips and a plurality of grooves, forming a plurality of air pockets therebetween for increases vibration resistance.

16. The thigh protector of claim 15, wherein the impact resistant component has a shape memory property that allows it to return to the preformed curvature after an external force has moved the impact resistant component out of the preformed curvature.

17. The thigh protector of claim 15, wherein the impact resistant component comprises a plurality of reinforcing ribs that tend to return the impact resistant component to the preformed curvature after an external force has moved the impact resistant component out of the preformed curvature.

18. The thigh protector of claim 15, wherein the impact resistant material further comprises a first cushioning material and a second cushioning material different from the first cushioning material, and wherein the impact resistant component is disposed between the first and second cushioning materials.

19. A waist supported structure for mounting a tool carrier to carry tools at the waist of a wearer comprising: an upper portion having an outwardly directed surface adjacent the waist of a wearer; at least one band portion attached at its opposite ends to the outwardly directed surface, wherein the band is substantially parallel to and facing the outwardly directed surface to define a slot therebetween; a tool carrier extending through the slot and releasably attached to the at least one band portion; a lower portion having an outwardly directed surface and an inwardly directed surface adjacent the thigh of a wearer; at least one thigh protector attached to the lower portion and comprising: a vibration resistant material attached to the outwardly directed surface of the lower portion; and an impact resistant material attached to the inwardly directed surface of the lower portion.

20. The waist supported structure claim 19, wherein the impact resistant material comprises an impact resistant component that is formed to a preformed curvature to support the remainder of the thigh protector in the preformed curvature.

21. A protective boot for attachment to a pneumatic tool comprising: a body movable from an open position to a closed position to removably secure the boot in surrounding relation to a portion of a pneumatic tool; and a fastener connected to the body for securing the body in the closed position; wherein the body includes protective outer and inner covers disposed in surrounding relation to a cushioning material.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 11/060,635, filed Feb. 17, 2005, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/545,421, filed Feb. 17, 2004, which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a thigh protector, and more particularly to a thigh protector having a vibration resistance layer and an impact resistance layer. The present invention also relates to a thigh protector connected to a waist supported structure having at least one band for attachment of a tool carrier.

BACKGROUND

User's of pneumatic tools often experience repeated impacts and vibrations from the tools. In some cases these impacts and/or vibrations can cause serious injury to the user. One example of a pneumatic tool is a pneumatic hammer (sometimes referred to as a jack hammer), a tool typically used to break apart concrete surfaces. Often when a user operates a pneumatic hammer, the tool repeatedly impacts and/or vibrates against the user's thighs, typically against an inner portion of the thighs. Hence, a need exists for a thigh protector to be worn for protection when operating a pneumatic tool.

A known method for protecting a user against the impact and vibration of a pneumatic hammer is to wrap a soft material, such as a T-shirt around the pneumatic hammer and taping the soft material thereto. Accordingly, a need also exists for an improved protection device for attachment to a pneumatic hammer.

User's of pneumatic tools often carry other tools on a waist supported structure. Some waist supported structures include police belts, military belts and construction utility belts. These belts include attachment means such as eyelets, hooks, and/or pockets for the attachment of tools or tool carriers. However, these attachment means often cause the belt to torque or sag from the wearer's waist when a heavy tool is attached to them. Accordingly, an improved waist supported structure is needed for the attachment of tool carriers and having thigh protectors attached thereto for protection during operation of pneumatic tools.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, the present invention is a thigh protector that includes a reinforcement material; a vibration resistant material attached to a first side of the reinforcement material; and a impact resistant material attached to a second side of the reinforcing member.

In another embodiment, the impact resistant material of the above described thigh protector includes an impact resistant component that is formed to a preformed curvature to support the remainder of the thigh protector in the preformed curvature; and an outer surface of the vibration resistant material includes a plurality of strips and a plurality of grooves, forming a plurality of air pockets therebetween for increases vibration resistance.

In yet another embodiment, the present invention is a waist supported structure for mounting a tool carrier to carry tools at the waist of a wearer that includes an upper portion having an outwardly directed surface adjacent the waist of a wearer and at least one band portion attached at its opposite ends to the outwardly directed surface, such that the band is disposed substantially parallel to and facing the outwardly directed surface to define a slot therebetween. The waist supported structure also includes a tool carrier extending through the slot and releasably attached to the at least one band portion; a lower portion having an outwardly directed surface and an inwardly directed surface adjacent the thigh of a wearer; and at least one thigh protector attached to the lower portion. The thigh protector includes a vibration resistant material attached to the outwardly directed surface of the lower portion; and an impact resistant material attached to the inwardly directed surface of the lower portion.

In still another embodiment, the present invention is a protective boot for attachment to a pneumatic tool. The boot includes a body movable from an open position to a closed position to removably secure the boot in surrounding relation to a portion of a pneumatic tool; and a fastener connected to the body for securing the body in the closed position; wherein the body includes protective outer and inner covers disposed in surrounding relation to a cushioning material.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a thigh protector according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a front view of the thigh protector of FIG. 1 being worn by a user;

FIG. 3 is front view of the thigh protector of FIG. 1, showing a vibration resistant material;

FIG. 4 is a back view of the thigh protector of FIG. 1, showing a impact resistant material;

FIG. 5 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the thigh protector of FIG. 1 taken from line 5-5 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the impact resistant material of FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a back view of an impact resistant component of the impact resistant material of FIG. 4;

FIG. 8 is a front view of a thigh protector according to another embodiment of the present invention being worn by a user;

FIG. 9 is a front view of a waist supported structure;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a tool carrier for attachment to the waist supported structure of FIG. 9, where the tool carrier is shown in an open position;

FIG. 11 is a front view of a tool carrier for attachment to the waist supported structure of FIG. 9, where the tool carrier is shown in an closed position;

FIG. 12 is a front view of a pneumatic hammer having a protective boot attached thereto;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of the protective boot of FIG. 12 shown in an open position;

FIG. 14 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the protective boot of FIG. 12 taken from line 14-14 of FIG. 12 showing the boot disposed in surrounding relation to an exhaust of a pneumatic hammer;

FIG. 15 is another longitudinal cross-sectional view of the protective boot of FIG. 12 taken from line 15-15 of FIG. 13;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a protective boot for attachment to a pneumatic tool according to another embodiment of the invention, showing the boot in an open position;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of the protective boot of FIG. 16, showing the boot in a closed position; and

FIG. 18 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the protective-boot of FIG. 16 taken from line 18-18 of FIG. 17;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, the present invention is directed to a thigh protector. The thigh protector is particularly useful when worn as protection during operation of a pneumatic tool, such as a pneumatic hammer, a paving breaker, a chipping hammer, a concrete vibrator, a rivet buster or a trench digger. In one embodiment, the thigh protector includes a vibration resistance layer and an impact resistance layer. In another embodiment, the thigh protector is connected to a waist supported structure having at least one band for attachment of a tool carrier. Such a waist supported structure is described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/456,878, which is herein incorporated by reference. In yet another embodiment of the invention, the present invention is directed to a user protection device for attachment to a pneumatic tool, such as a pneumatic hammer.

FIG. 1 shows a thigh protector 10 according to one embodiment of the present invention. In the depicted embodiment, the thigh protector 10 includes a vibration resistant material 12 and an impact resistant material 14. The vibration resistant material 12 and the impact resistant material 14 are attached to a reinforcing member 16. As shown, the reinforcing member 16 is disposed between the vibration resistant material 12 and the impact resistant material 14.

A belt loop 18 is attached to the reinforcing member 16. The belt loop 18 allows the thigh protector 10 to be suspended from a user's belt 21 (as shown in FIG. 2.) A first adjustment strap 19 and a second adjustment strap 20 are each attached to the reinforcing member 16. The first adjustment strap 19 has a buckle 22 and the second adjustment strap 20 has a buckle receiver 24 that forms a removable inter-locking connection with the buckle 22.

In one embodiment, the thigh protector 10 is curved to approximate the curvature of a typical user's thigh. In one embodiment, when the thigh protector 10 is worn by a user, the belt loop 18 of the thigh protector 10 is suspended from the belt 21 (as shown in FIG. 2) of the user such that the impact resistant material 14 faces towards the user's thigh. In one embodiment, the belt loop 18 is attached to the reinforcing member 16 by one or more rivets 30. Although in other embodiments other appropriate attachment means may be used. When so attached, the belt loop 18 forms an opening 32 for receiving a user's belt. Preferably, the belt loop 18 is composed of a strong, durable material, such as leather, for example vegetable tanned leather, also known as vege-tanned leather.

To secure the thigh protector 10 to the user's leg (as shown in FIG. 2), the attachment straps 19 and 20 are wrapped around the user's leg, such that the impact resistant material 14 contacts the user's thigh. As shown in FIG. 2, when the thigh protector 10 is so attached the vibration resistant material 12 covers the user's thigh and faces outwardly so that when a pneumatic tool is contacted thereagainst, the user's leg is protected.

In one embodiment, the longitudinal axis 23 of the vibration resistant material 12 forms an acute angel a with the belt loop 18. This angular arrangement of the longitudinal axis 23 of the vibration resistant material 12 with respect to the belt loop 18 urges the vibration resistant material 12 towards the inner thigh of the user. This is particularly helpful when the thigh protector 10 is worn during the operation of a pneumatic hammer, since it is natural to many user's to allow a large portion of the pneumatic hammer's weight to bear against the user's inner thighs while operating the pneumatic hammer.

FIG. 3 shows the vibration resistant material 12 attached to the reinforcing member 16. In this embodiment, the vibration resistant material 12 is attached to the reinforcing member 16 by a stitching 34. Although in other embodiments other appropriate attachment means may be used. In the embodiment of FIG. 3, the vibration resistant material 12 includes an indention 15 the follows the periphery of the vibration resistant material 12. Pacing the stitching 34 in the indention 15 protects the stitching 34 against snagging and therefore protects the attachment of the vibration resistant material 12 to the reinforcing member 16.

As mentioned above, in use the vibration resistant material 12 protects a user's thigh when a pneumatic tool is contacted thereagainst. A pneumatic tool, such as a pneumatic hammer imparts a large amount of vibration on the user. Bearing the pneumatic hammer against the vibration resistant material 12 lessens the vibration that is transferred or felt by the user. In one embodiment, the vibration resistant material 12 is composed of a flexible, compressible material, such as a rubber material. Preferably, the vibration resistant material 12 is formed by an injection molding processes.

As shown in FIG. 3, the vibration resistant material 12 also includes a plurality of protruding strips 38. The protruding strips 38 define a corresponding plurality of grooves 40. The protruding strips 38 and grooves 40 together form a plurality of air pockets. The air pockets aid the vibration resistant material 12 in reducing the vibration that is felt by the user when the pneumatic tool is in contact with the vibration resistant material 12.

In one embodiment, at least some of the protruding strips 38 are oriented at an angle with respect to the horizontal position, such as an angle of approximately forty five degrees. Such an angled orientation lessens the likelihood of the pneumatic tool repeatedly catching a leading edge of the protruding strips 38 and instead urges the pneumatic tool to slide relative to the protruding strips 38.

Repeated vibration by the pneumatic tool against the vibration resistant material 12 imparts shearing forces on the vibration resistant material 12 that tend to tear the vibration resistant material 12. Attaching the vibration resistant material 12 to the reinforcing member 16 reinforces the vibration resistant material 12 and lessens the likelihood of tearing of the vibration resistant material 12. In one embodiment the reinforcing member 16 is composed of a leather material such as vegetable tanned leather.

In one embodiment, the vibration resistant material 12 is attached directly to the impact resistant material 14 without the intervening reinforcing member 16. In such an embodiment, to add structural strength the to vibration resistant material 12 and to avoid tearing of the vibration resistant material 12, reinforcement members, such as metal bars and/or wires, are integrally formed with the vibration resistant material 12.

FIG. 4 shows the impact resistant material 14 attached to the reinforcing member 16. In this embodiment, the impact resistant material 14 is attached to the reinforcing member 16 by one or more rivets 42. Although in other embodiments other appropriate attachment means may be used. In the depicted embodiment, the rivet(s) 42 also connects the first adjustment strap 19 (shown) and the second adjustment strap 20 (not shown) to the reinforcing member 16. The vibration resistant material 12 is shown as having openings that allow the rivet(s) 42 to extend through the vibration resistant material 12 without securing the vibration resistant material 12 to the reinforcing member 16. Since the vibration resistant material 12 is not attached to the rivet(s) 42, and the rivet(s) 42 are surrounded by the vibration resistant material 12 adjacent to the vibration resistant material openings, the vibration resistant material 12 protects the rivet(s) 42 against being snagged or otherwise dislodged.

In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 6, the impact resistant material 14 is a multi-layered component. In the depicted embodiment, the impact resistant material 14 includes a high strength, durable, impact resistant component 44; a first cushioning component 46; and a second cushioning component 48 that is sweat resistant and breathable; and a covering 43. In another embodiment, the first and second cushioning components 46 and 48 are omitted.

In one embodiment, the covering 43 is composed of a nylon fabric, such as cordura; the impact resistant component 44 is composed of a polycarbonate material; the first cushioning component 46 is composed of a high density foam material or a high density bubble wrap material; and the second cushioning component 48 is composed of a meshed foam material, such as Dri-Lex® 1013, manufactured by the Faytex Corporation located in Weymouth, Mass.

In the depicted embodiment, the covering 43 warps around the impact resistant component 44; the first cushioning component 46; and the second cushioning component 48 and binds the components 44, 46 and 48 together by a stitching 54 that extends around a periphery of the second cushioning material 48 (see for example, the stitching 54 in FIG. 4.)

The impact resistant component 44 preferably is formed to a predetermined curvature. For example, in one embodiment, the impact resistant component 44 is formed from a polycarbonate material in a heat forming process to a predetermined curvature. Polycarbonate is a particularly useful material for use as the impact resistant component 44 because of its excellent shape memory properties. This property allows the material to return to its original shape when an external force displaces the material from its original shape. This property is advantageous because it is desirable for the thigh protector 10 to have the previously described curvature to approximate the curvature of a typical user's thigh.

The polycarbonate material is formed to the desired curvature to approximate the shape of a typical user's thigh and supports the remainder of the thigh protector 10 in that shape as well. In addition, when the thigh protector 10 is displaced out of its curvature, the shape memory of the polycarbonate material allows the remainder of the thigh protector 10 to return to its original curvature.

In embodiments where the impact resistant component 44 has poor or no shape memory, reinforcement ribs can be used to help maintain the original curvature of the high strength component 44. For example, in one embodiment as shown in FIG. 7, the impact resistant component 44 is formed from a high density polyethylene material having reinforcement ribs 50 protruding therefrom. The reinforcement ribs 50 help prevent the material from departing from its original curvature.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, the thigh protector 10 includes the first adjustment strap 19 and the second adjustment strap 20. Each strap 19 and 20 is attached to the reinforcing member 16 by one or more rivets 42 as described above. The first adjustment strap 19 includes the buckle 22 that forms the removable inter-locking connection with the buckle receiver 24 of the second adjustment strap 20. In one embodiment, the buckle 22 includes outwardly elastic arms 56, each having an angled ramp section 57 and a catch section 59 inset from the ramp section 57. The ramp sections 57 guide the arms 56 into an end opening of the buckle receiver 24, which compresses the arms 56 until the ramp sections 57 extend past side openings 60 in the buckle receiver 24 allowing the catch sections 59 to lockingly engage the side openings 60. The arms 56 can be disengaged by depressing the ramp sections 57 and pulling the arms 56 away from the buckle receiver 24.

The buckle 22 also includes a slot that receives the first adjustment strap 19 and allows a slack between the first adjustment strap 19 and the second adjustment strap 20 to be loosened or tightened, respectively, by pushing the first adjustment strap 19 through the slot or pulling the first adjustment strap 19 through the slot.

FIG. 8 shows an alternative thigh protector 10′. The thigh protector 10′ contains that same components and/or alternatives as the thigh protector 10 described above, a difference being that the thigh protector 10′ of FIG. 8 includes a belt loop 18′ which contains a slot 25 for receiving a belt loop 27 from the pants of the user. This facilitates attachment of the thigh protector 10′ onto a user's belt 29 since the slot 25 prevents the belt loop 18′ of the thigh protector 10′ from overlapping any of the belt loops 27 from the user's pants. Thus, it is less likely that the user will inadvertently skip or not thread the belt 29 through each of the belt loops 27 from the pants of the user.

Also, in the embodiment of FIG. 8 the reinforcing member 16′ is composed of a very flexible and thin split or soft leather material, such as latigo leather. Thus increasing the comfort to the user since the overall flexibility of the thigh protector 10′ is increased. This material also facilitates manufacturing of the thigh protector 10′ since a light duty sewing machine may be used to thread a stitching into this material.

FIG. 9 shows an embodiment of a waist supported structure 100 for carrying tools at the waist of a wearer 101, as described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/456,878, which is herein incorporated by reference. As shown in FIG. 9 and described in more detail in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/456,878, the waist supported structure 100 includes an upper portion 102 having an outwardly directed surface 103 adjacent the waist of a wearer 101 and at least one band portion 104 attached at its opposite ends to the outwardly directed surface 103. The attachment of the band 104 to the outwardly directed surface 103 forms a slot 106. The band 104 is tightly attached to the outwardly directed surface 103 such that even when the band 104 is pulled in a direction away from the outwardly directed surface 103, the band 104 is substantially parallel to and facing the outwardly directed surface 103. The slot 106 allows for a tool carrier 108A (shown in FIGS. 10 and 11) to be removably attached to the band 104.

As shown in FIG. 9, the waist supported structure 100 may additionally include a first thigh protector 110A and a second thigh protector 110B, each of which extend from the waist of the wearer 101 to a position just above the knee 113 of the wearer 101.

The tool carrier 108 may be removably attached to the band 104 as illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11. The band 104 is tightly attached to the waist supported structure 100 such that even when the band 104 is pulled in a direction away from the outer surface 114 of the waist supported structure 100, the band 104 is substantially parallel to and facing the outer surface 114 of the waist supported structure 100. As a result, the tool carrier 108 that is attached to the band 104 is tightly held thereon.

FIGS. 10 and 11 show an exemplary tool carrier 108A being attached to the band 104. Preferably, the tool carrier 108A is composed of a flexible material, such as leather. The tool carrier 108A includes a main portion 186 and an upper portion 190. The main portion 186 may carry any one of a variety of tool carrying means 188. In the depicted embodiment, the tool carrying means 188 includes pockets of various sizes that are secured to the main portion 186 by rivets 185. Some of the pockets additionally contain clamps. The pockets and clamps may be used to carry any one of a variety of tools, such as side-cutters, chalk, or sticks among other appropriate tools. In other embodiments, the tool carrying means 188 include pockets, clamps, eyelets, hooks, straps or any combination thereof, among other appropriate tool carrying means.

The tool carrier 108A may be removably attached to the band 104. For example, in one embodiment an outwardly facing flap 192 is coupled to the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A. Preferably, the flap 192 is composed of a flexible material such as leather. The flap 192 may be attached to the upper portion 190 in a manner that allows the flap 192 to be rotated away from the upper portion as shown in FIG. 10. Preferably, an upper end 192A of the flap 192 is rigidly affixed to a top marginal portion 190A of the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A, forming a rigidly attached juncture 220 between the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A and the flap 192; and a lower end 192B of the flap 192 contains a coupling means 196 that forms a releasable interlocking connection with a coupling means 198 on a bottom marginal portion 190B of the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A. For example, the rigidly attached juncture 220 of the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A and the flap 192 may be formed by stitching 194A and/or rivets 194B, and the releasable interlocking connection may be formed by buttons 196 on the flap 192 that snap fit onto corresponding button receiving members 198 on the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A.

As such, in one embodiment, the tool carrier 108A is releasably attached to the band 104 by inserting the tool carrier 108A into the slot 106 formed by the band 104 and the outer surface 114 of the waist supported structure 100 (see FIGS. 10 and 11); rotating the flap 192 away from the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A to allow the band 104 to be positioned adjacent to the rigidly attached juncture 220 between the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A and the flap 192; extending the flap 192 over the band 104; and depressing the buttons 196 of the lower portion 192B of the flap 192 to from the releasable interlocking connection with the button receiving members 198 of the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A.

When so connected, the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A is disposed adjacent to an inner surface of the band 104, and the flap 192 is disposed adjacent to an outer surface of the band 104, such that the band 104 is confined between the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A and the flap 192. In addition, a top edge of the band 104 is disposed adjacent to the rigidly attached juncture 220 of the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A and the flap 192, and a bottom edge of the band 104 is disposed adjacent to the interlocking connection between the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A and the flap 192, such that the band 104 is also confined between the rigidly attached juncture 220 and the releasable interlocking connection of the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A and the flap 192. In this position, the band 104 presses against the outer surface of the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A to secure the tool carrier 108A to the waist supported structure 100. The flap 192 and/or the upper portion 190 of the tool carrier 108A may include a reinforcing material, such as plastic, to increase the structural stability of the tool carrier 108A.

In the waist supported structure 100 of FIG. 9, the first and second thigh protectors 110A and 110B may each be replaced by any embodiment of the thigh protectors described above with respect to FIGS. 1-8.

FIG. 12 shows an exemplary pneumatic hammer 61 having a protective boot 72, according to one aspect of the invention, attached thereto. Although the boot 72 can be adapted to any appropriate pneumatic hammer, the depicted pneumatic hammer 61 includes handles 62; a throttle 64; an air hose connector 66; an exhaust 68; and a connector 70 that removably receives a chisel (not shown.) The exhaust 68 can become very hot after extended use of the pneumatic hammer 61 and consequently can cause injury to a user if contacted by the user. As such, the boot 72 attaches in surrounding relation to the exhaust to protect the user from the heat of the exhaust and to reduce the vibration and impact that is felt by the user when the user contacts or bears against the boot 72.

The boot 72 is movable between an open position, as shown in FIG. 13; and a closed position as shown in dashed lines in FIG. 12, where the boot 72 is attached to the pneumatic hammer 61 in FIG. 12 (see also FIG. 14 where the boot 72 is attached to the pneumatic hammer 61.) The boot 72 may be secured in the closed position by a snap 74 and button 76 arrangement as shown in FIG. 13. Although in other embodiments any appropriate fastener may be used.

In the embodiment of FIGS. 12-15, the boot 72 is substantially cylindrical having an opening 73 defined by an inner surface 75. The inner surface 75 of the boot 72 closely approximates the size and shape of the external surface of the exhaust 68. As such, the inner surface 75 of the boot 72 may have any appropriate configuration that approximates the external surface of the exhaust 68 and/or facilitates attachment to the pneumatic hammer 61 in surrounding relation to the exhaust 68. In the embodiment of FIG. 14, the exhaust 68 includes exhaust ports 77 that flare outwardly and expel exhaust air downwardly as shown by arrow 78. In this embodiment, the boot 72 forms around the exhaust ports 77 and further facilitates the downward flow of the exhaust air.

As shown schematically in FIG. 15, the boot 72 includes an outside covering 79, such as a nylon covering for example cordura, a first cushioning layer 81, such as a high density sound proof foam material, a second cushioning layer 83, such as a high density felt material, and a impact resistant component 85, such as a polycarbonate or polyethylene material. The cover 79 is stitched to the remaining layers in substantially the same manner as is described above with respect to the covering 43 of the impact resistant material 14.

FIGS. 16-18 show a protective boot 72, according to another embodiment of the invention. As shown in FIGS. 16 and 17, the boot is movable from an open position (FIG. 16) to a closed position (FIG. 17) to removably secure the boot 72′ in surrounding relation to an exhaust 68 of a pneumatic hammer 61 as shown and described with respect to the boot 72 of FIGS. 12-15.

As shown in FIGS. 16 and 17, the boot 72′ is substantially cylindrical having an opening 73′ defined by an inner surface 75′ for covering the external surface of the exhaust of a pneumatic tool. As shown in FIGS. 17 and 18, the boot 72′ as an open lower end 87 and a partially enclosed upper end 89 defining an upper opening 91, concentric with but smaller than the opening 73′ formed by the inner surface 75′ of the boot 72. The boot 72′ also includes a buckle 80 and strap 82 arrangement for securing the boot 72′ in the closed position. The strap 82 includes spaced apart openings 84 such that the diameter or size of the inner surface 75′ and the upper opening 91 of the boot 72′ are adjustable, enabling the boot 72′ to be secured to pneumatic tools of varying sizes. In one embodiment, it is the sidewalls of the upper opening 91 that frictionally engage a portion of a pneumatic tool, such as the exhaust, to secure the boot 72′ thereto.

As shown schematically in FIG. 18, the boot 72 includes an outside covering 79′, such as a leather covering, for example vegetable tanned leather, at least one cushioning layer 81′, such as a high density sound proof foam material or a high density felt material, and an inner covering 93, such as a leather covering, for example vegetable tanned leather. The covers 79′ and 93, and the cushioning layer(s) 81′ are attached by rivets 95. Although in other embodiments other appropriate fastening means may be used. In one embodiment, the cushioning layer 81/81′ of the boot 72/72′ functions to absorb heat and/or muffle the sound from the pneumatic tool.

Although the foregoing invention has been described in terms of certain embodiments, other embodiments will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, in view of the disclosure herein. Accordingly the present invention is not intended to be limited by the recitation of the preferred embodiments, but is instead intended to be defined solely by reference to the appended claims.





 
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