Title:
Waler clamp
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A waler clamp having a structure that facilitates placement of a waler board between upper and lower plates of the waler clamp, and, at the same time, provides excellent rigidity and strength against deformation and twisting of the waler clamp as a wedge is driven through openings in the waler clamp to wedge a board against abutting vertical frame members of adjacent concrete wall forms is provided. The clamp includes an upper plate having a hook for engaging the wall form, a lower plate spaced below the upper plate, the upper and lower plates interconnected at respective longitudinal edges by a side web having an opening adapted to receive a waler board.



Inventors:
Shidler, David C. (Holland, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/126895
Publication Date:
11/16/2006
Filing Date:
05/11/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04G17/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SAFAVI, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PRICE HENEVELD LLP (GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US)
Claims:
The invention claimed is:

1. A waler clamp for use with a concrete wall form, comprising: an upper plate having a hook for engaging a wall form; a lower plate spaced below the upper plate; and the upper plate and lower plate interconnected at respective longitudinal edges by a side web, the side web having an opening adapted to receive a waler board.

2. The waler clamp of claim 1, further comprising: an end flap extending from the side web and projecting between the upper plate and the lower plate in proximity to distal ends of the upper plate and the lower plate.

3. The clamp of claim 1, wherein the hook includes a tooth for engaging a recess defined by abutting vertical frame members of adjacent wall forms.

4. The clamp of claim 1, wherein the upper plate further defines a notch for engaging a vertical rib projecting from one of abutting vertical frame members of adjacent wall forms.

5. The clamp of claim 1, wherein each of the upper and lower plates defines a wedge opening.

6. The clamp of claim 5, further comprising a wedge disposed through the wedge openings.

7. The clamp of claim 6, wherein the wedge has a flared lower end with a width greater than the width of the wedge opening in the lower plate, whereby the wedge is retained by the waler clamp.

8. A concrete wall form, comprising: at least two adjacent wall forms having vertical frame members held in abutting relationship, the abutting vertical fame members having aligned horizontal openings; and a waler clamp having a hook engaging the aligned horizontal openings and thereby being supported on the vertical frame members, the waler clamp including an upper plate having a hook for engaging a wall form, a lower plate spaced below the upper plate, and the upper plate and lower plate interconnected at respective longitudinal edges by a side web, the side web having an opening adapted to receive a waler board.

9. The wall form of claim 8, further comprising: an end flap extending from the side web and projecting between the upper plate and the lower plate in proximity to distal ends of the upper plate and the lower plate.

10. The wall form of claim 8, wherein the hook includes a tooth for engaging a recess defined by abutting vertical frame members of adjacent wall forms.

11. The wall form of claim 8, wherein the upper plate further defines a notch for engaging a vertical rib projecting from one of abutting vertical frame members of adjacent wall forms.

12. The wall form of claim 8, wherein each of the upper and lower plates defines a wedge opening.

13. The wall form of claim 12, further comprising a wedge disposed through the wedge openings.

14. The wall form of claim 13, wherein the wedge has a flared lower end with a width greater than the width of the wedge opening in the lower plate, whereby the wedge is retained by the waler clamp.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to waler clamp assemblies for holding concrete wall forms in alignment during pouring and curing of a concrete wall.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Waler clamps are used in the construction industry to hold adjacent panels of concrete wall forms in proper alignment with each other while concrete is being poured between spaced apart wall forms. Typically, the panels comprising the wall form include frames having vertical and horizontal members that are used for attaching the panels together in an edge-to-edge abutting relationship. The vertical frame members define a series of horizontal openings used for attachment of a waler clamp. The waler clamps are used for supporting a waler board that is wedged between the wall form frame and a wedge driven through openings in the waler clamp to hold the waler board firmly against the frame, thereby maintaining the panels in straight alignment during pouring and curing of concrete between the forms.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,562,845 discloses a typical waler clamp assembly having an upper plate with a hook for attaching the waler clamp to a vertical frame member of a concrete wall form, a lower plate spaced below the upper plate, and a distal end web connecting the upper and lower plates. A waler board is inserted between the upper and lower plates and wedged against the vertical frame member by driving a wedge through openings defined in the upper and lower plates. A recognized disadvantage with this waler clamp is that there is very little reinforcement or rigidity to prevent downward deflection or longitudinal twisting of the plate as the wedge is being driven into place. As a result, this waler clamp is susceptible to damage, and, therefore, has relatively limited reusability before failing to maintain proper alignment.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,322,047 discloses a similar waler clamp assembly that attempts to overcome the susceptibility to damage inherent in previous waler clamps by adding a reinforcing leg that interconnects the upper and lower plates, and extends upwardly from the lower plate and outwardly toward the end web. A notable disadvantage with this arrangement is that the waler board must be placed on top of the upper plate, instead of between the upper plate and lower plate, as is conventional. Thus, the waler board placed on the waler clamp can become easily dislodged by inadvertently bumping the waler board or by inadvertently placing weight at the end of the waler board before it is firmly wedged in place. This could conceivably present safety issues. Another disadvantage is that the reinforcing leg of the clamp must be welded or otherwise securely fixed to the upper plate. This additional manufacturing step, beyond the normal cutting and bending operations used for manufacturing previously known waler clamps, adds significantly to the cost of manufacturing the waler clamp.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The waler clamp assembly of this invention includes reinforcing features that do not interfere with, but instead facilitate placement of a waler board between upper and lower plates of the waler clamp, whereby accidental dislodgement of a waler board prior to firmly wedging the waler board in place is prevented, while at the same time providing excellent rigidity and strength against deformation and twisting as the waler board is wedged into position. Further, the waler board of the invention can be fabricated without any welding operations, using only cutting and bending operations to achieve the desired rigidity.

The waler clamp includes an upper plate having a hook for engaging a wall form, a lower plate spaced below the upper plate, the upper and lower plates interconnected at respective longitudinal edges on one side of the plates by a side web, the side web having an opening adapted to receive a waler board. The upper and lower plates each define a wedge opening through which a wedge may be driven to firmly secure a waler board against vertical frame members of adjacent wall forms to hold the wall forms in proper alignment.

In accordance with certain embodiments of the invention, an end flap extends at an angle from the side web and projects between the upper and lower plates in proximity to distal ends of the upper and lower plates.

These and other features, advantages and objects of the present invention will be further understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art by reference to the following specification, claims and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a waler clamp assembly in accordance with the present invention being used with concrete wall forms for holding the wall forms in alignment with each other.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of the waler clamp shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the waler clamp shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the waler clamp shown in FIG. 1, as seen along view lines IV-IV.

FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the waler clamp shown in FIGS. 1-4.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the waler clamp assembly of the invention that is configured for use with concrete wall forms made of aluminum and having a slightly different configuration.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the waler clamp assembly shown in FIG. 1 being used with concrete wall forms for holding the wall forms in alignment with each other, with a waler board placed on top of the waler clamp, rather than through an opening in the clamp.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 shows a waler clamp 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention being used to wedge a waler board 12 between a wedge 14 and abutting vertical frame members 16 and 17 of wall forms 18 and 19. Vertical frame members 16 and 17 have a series of vertically spaced and aligned horizontal openings 20 through which a hook 22 of waler clamp 10 is inserted. Waler clamp 10 is supported on vertical frame members 16 and 17 by hook 22 and a proximal edge 24 that bears against outer edges 26 and 27 of vertical frame members 16 and 17, respectively.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, waler clamp 10 includes an upper plate 28 defining hook 22 and wedge opening 30; a lower plate 32 spaced below the upper plate 28 and defining vertical frame member-engaging proximal edge 24 and wedge opening 34; and side web 36 defining an opening adapted to receive waler board 12. Extending at approximately a right angle from a distal end of side web 36 is an end flap 42. End flap 42 projects from side web 36 between upper plate 28 and lower plate 32 in proximity to respective distal ends of lower plate 32 and upper plate 28, but is not directly connected to upper plate 28 or lower plate 32. End flap 42 provides resistance to deformation and twisting of plates 28 and 32 when wedge 14 is being driven into openings 30 and 34 of clamp 10 to wedge board 12 against vertical frame members 16 and 17, without requiring direct interconnection between plates 28 and 32 and without interfering with placement of waler board 12 between plates 28 and 32. Side web 36 interconnects lower plate 32 and upper plate 28 at respective longitudinal sides of the upper and lower plates. Waler board opening 38 separates side web 36 into two spaced apart pillers 70 and 72 spaced at opposite ends of clamp 10. This arrangement provides inherently greater rigidity and strength than prior waler clamp structures having only an end web. While allowing safe and conventional placement of waler board 12 between upper and lower plates 28 and 32 of clamp 10.

As shown in FIG. 4, hook 22 includes a tooth that projects into a recess defined between adjacent, abutting vertical frame members 16 and 17. Upper plate 28 also defines a notch 48 that engages a longitudinal rib 50 projecting from vertical frame member 17. Tooth 44 and notch 48 cooperate with recess 46 and rib 50, respectively, to securely retain waler clamp 10 on vertical frame members 16 and 17.

As can be seen in FIGS. 3 and 5, end flap 42 is not directly connected to upper plate 28 or lower plate 32. Instead, there are gaps 52 and 54 between end flap 42 and upper and lower plates 28 and 32, and end flap 42 extends from side web 36 around a bend 56.

Waler clamp 10 is used by first inserting hook 22 through horizontal openings 20 of adjacent vertical wall frame members 16 and 17 and positioning waler clamp 10 so that tooth 44 is disposed in and cooperates with slot 46 defined between vertical frame members 16 and 17, projecting rib 50 of vertical frame member 17 engages notch 48 of upper plate 28, and vertical frame member-engaging proximal edge 24 bears against outer edges 26 and 27 of vertical frame members 16 and 17. Thereafter, waler board 12 is inserted through opening 38 of side web 36. Typically, each waler board 12 is supported by two or more waler clamps 10.

Alternatively, rather than inserting waler board 12 through opening 38, as described above, waler board 12 may be placed on top of upper plate 28 of waler clamp 10, as shown in FIG. 7.

Because waler board 12 is circumscribed by web 36, rather than being placed loosely on top of upper plate 28, there is little risk that waler board 12 will become inadvertently dislodged by jarring, bumping or placing weight on waler board 12, whereby enhanced construction site safety is achieved. At the same time, side web 36 in combination with end flap 42 provide excellent strength, rigidity and reinforcement that prevents downward deformation and/or twisting of upper plate 28 or lower plate 32 when wedge 14 is driven downwardly to firmly secure waler board 12 against vertical frame members 16 and 17. Thus, the invention provides a combination of improved safety and reusability by simultaneously allowing placement of waler board 12 between upper plate 28 and lower plate 32 while also providing reinforcement against deformation and twisting. Further, reinforcement against deformation and twisting is provided without requiring welding or any other attachment of a reinforcing leg to the upper or lower plates. Instead, waler clamp 10 can be fabricated by appropriately cutting (stamping) metal sheet and bending the resulting stamped metal sheets so that upper plate 28, lower plate 32, and side flap 42 project at right angles from side web 36.

As shown in FIG. 1, the lower ends 60 and 62 of wedge 14 can be flared outwardly away from each other to achieve a width dimension that exceeds the width dimension of wedge opening 34 of lower plate 32, thereby preventing wedge 14 from being completely removed from waler clamp 10. This feature assures that waler clamp 10 and wedge 14 are not separated from each other and lost or misplaced.

Shown in FIG. 6 is an alternative embodiment of waler clamp 10′, configured for use with concrete wall forms made of aluminum and having circular apertures rather than rectangular apertures 20. Accordingly, rather than having a hook 22, as shown in FIG. 2, clamp 10′ includes a peg 22′ having a circular cross section for engaging circular apertures in the wall forms.

The above description is considered that of the preferred embodiments only. Modifications of the invention will occur to those skilled in the art and to those who make or use the invention. Therefore, it is understood that the embodiments shown in the drawings and described above are merely for illustrative purposes and not intended to limit the scope of the invention, which is defined by the following claims as interpreted according to the principles of patent law, including the doctrine of equivalents.