Title:
Flooring installation pull bars and methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Pull bars for the installation of flooring materials, especially tongue-and-groove flooring materials, having a removable anvil cap. In especially preferred embodiments, the pull bars of the present invention have an elongate tail piece, a header bar attached rigidly to a forward end of the tail piece, and a tail block assembly attached rigidly to a rearward end of the tail piece, wherein the tail block assembly includes a forwardly inclined tail post and an anvil cap removeably coupled to a terminal end of the tail post. The anvil cap may be formed of a metal or plastics material. In use, the pull bar may be employed to install flooring material by striking the anvil cap repetitively with a hammer or mallet until such time that the anvil cap becomes damaged due to receiving such blows. The damaged anvil cap may then be removed form the tail piece and replaced by an undamaged anvil cap.



Inventors:
Gargano, Peter A. (Annapolis, MD, US)
Application Number:
11/150484
Publication Date:
12/14/2006
Filing Date:
06/13/2005
Assignee:
Ultimate Tool, Inc. (Annapolis, MD, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WATSON, ROBERT C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC (ARLINGTON, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A pull bar to assist in the installation of flooring materials comprising: an elongate tail piece; a header bar attached to a forward end of the tail piece; and a tail block assembly attached to a rearward end of the tail piece, wherein said tail block assembly includes (i) a forwardly inclined tail post and (ii) an anvil cap removeably coupled to a terminal end of the tail post.

2. The pull bar of claim 1, wherein the anvil cap is removeably threadably coupled to the terminal end of the tail post.

3. The pull bar of claim 2, wherein the anvil cap includes a coupling flange with interior threads, and wherein the terminal end of the tail post includes exterior threads for removable threaded coupling with the interior threads of the coupling flange.

4. The pull bar of claim 2, wherein the tail post includes a threaded aperture, and the anvil cap includes a rearwardly projecting threaded connection shaft which is threadably coupled with the aperture.

5. The pull bar of claim 1, wherein the anvil cap and the tail post define registered apertures, and wherein the tail block assembly further includes an elongate attachment pin received within the registered apertures for removeably coupling the anvil cap to the tail post.

6. The pull bar of claim 1, further comprising a cushion layer attached to a bottom surface of the tail piece.

7. The pull bar of claim 1, wherein the anvil cap includes a rearwardly protruding attachment boss removeably received within the tail post.

8. The pull bar of claim 7, wherein the attachment boss and the tail post define registered apertures.

9. The pull bar of claim 8, wherein the tail block assembly further includes an elongate attachment pin received within the registered apertures for removeably coupling the anvil cap to the tail post.

10. The pull bar of claim 1, wherein the header bar is attached to the forward end of the tail piece to allow for relative pivotal articulations therebetween.

11. The pull bar of claim 10, comprising a position pin and apertures for receiving the position pin to adjustably position the header bar in one of a plurality of non-orthogonal angular orientations relative to the tail piece.

12. The pull bar of claim 10, wherein the header bar includes at least one grip pin projecting rearwardly parallel to the tail piece.

13. A pull bar to assist in the installation of flooring materials comprising: an elongate tail piece; a header bar attached to a forward end of the tail piece; and a tail block assembly attached to a rearward end of the tail piece, wherein said header bar includes at least one grip pin projecting rearwardly parallel to the tail piece.

14. The pull bar as in claim 13, wherein the header bar defines a contact surface that is oriented at a non-orthogonal angle relative to the tail piece.

15. The pull bar as in claim 14, wherein said header bar includes a removable angle block which defines the contact surface that is non-orthogonal relative to the tail piece, wherein the at least one grip pin projects rearwardly from the contact surface thereof.

16. A pull bar to assist in the installation of flooring materials comprising: an elongate tail piece; a header bar attached to a forward end of the tail piece; a tail block assembly attached to a rearward end of the tail piece, and an angle block removeably attached to the header bar which defines a non-orthogonal contact surface.

17. The pull bar of claim 16, wherein the angle block includes at least one grip pin projecting rearwardly parallel to the tail piece.

18. The pull bar of claim 16, further comprising attachment bolts to removeably attach the angle block to the header bar.

19. A method of installing flooring material comprising the steps of: (a) providing a pull bar as in claim 1; (b) engaging the header bar with an edge of a flooring material piece to be installed; (c) striking the anvil cap repetitively until the flooring material piece is installed; (d) repeating steps (b) and (c) as necessary with additional flooring material pieces until the anvil cap becomes damaged; and thereafter (e) removing the damaged anvil cap from the tail post; and (f) removeably installing an undamaged anvil cap onto the tail post.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein step (e) includes threadably removing the anvil cap from the tail post.

21. The method of claim 19, wherein step (e) includes removing an attachment pin from registered apertures of the anvil cap and tail post, and thereafter removing the anvil cap from the tail post.

22. The method of claim 19, further comprising providing a cushion layer between the tail piece and the flooring material piece.

23. The method of claim 19, further comprising adjustably moving the header bar so it assumes a non-orthogonal orientation relative to the tail piece.

24. The method of claim 19, further comprising attaching an angle block to the header bar, the angle block defining a non-orthogonal contact surface relative to the tail piece.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of flooring installation. In especially preferred embodiments, the present invention relates to pull bars and their use to install flooring materials.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Flooring materials, for example, engineered hardwood and laminate floating floors and the like, are conventionally butted together using tongue-and-groove joinery. Certain types of tongue-and-groove flooring materials require substantial force to completely insert the tongue of one piece of the flooring material into the groove of an adjacent piece. As a result, adjacent pieces of flooring material are set in place by means of their mated tongue-and-groove joinery.

The force needed to install adjacent flooring material pieces is frequently applied as a series of abrupt impacts to the edge of a flooring material piece being installed using an intervening installation tool known in the trade as a “pull bar”. Thus, during installation, the pull bar is associated with a piece of flooring material to be set, and an installer physically hits a rearward tail block with a hammer or mallet. The force of the hammer or mallet strike against the tail block is therefore transferred by the pull bar to the edge of the piece being installed thereby driving it into position with an adjacent flooring material piece and mating their tongue-and-groove joinery.

Light duty pull bars are in and of themselves well known. In general, pull bars are provided with a forward header bar adapted to overlap an edge of a flooring piece being installed, an elongate tail member oriented perpendicularly to the header bar and extending rearwardly therefrom, and a tail block formed of metal or a hard rubber material (e.g., EPDM rubber) at a rearward portion of the tail member to provide a strike surface to receive repeated blows from a hammer or mallet. Over time, therefore, the tail block will become damaged or break off completely due to the fact it receives repeated blows of the hammer or mallet during flooring installation. Thus, once the tail block of the pull bar becomes severely damaged, the entire pull bar must be discarded.

It would therefore be desirable if heavy duty pull bars for the installation of tight fitting flooring materials, especially tongue-and-groove flooring materials, could be provided which allow the anvil surface of the tail block to be replaced so that the entire pull bar need not be discarded. It is towards fulfilling such a need that the present invention is directed.

Broadly, the present invention is embodied in pull bars for the installation of flooring materials, especially tongue-and-groove flooring materials, having a removable anvil cap. In especially preferred embodiments, the pull bars of the present invention comprise an elongate tail piece, a header bar attached rigidly to a forward end of the tail piece, and a tail block assembly attached rigidly to a rearward end of the tail piece, wherein the tail block assembly includes a forwardly inclined tail post and an anvil cap removeably coupled to a terminal end of the tail post. The anvil cap may be formed of a metal or plastics material.

Advantageously, the anvil cap is removeably threadably coupled to the terminal end of the tail post. For example, the anvil cap may include a coupling flange with interior threads, while the terminal end of the tail post includes exterior threads for removable threaded coupling with the interior threads of the coupling flange.

Alternatively, the anvil cap and the tail post define registered apertures which receive an elongate attachment pin for removeably coupling the anvil cap to the tail post. For example, the anvil cap may be provided with a rearwardly protruding attachment boss which is received within the tail post. The attachment boss and the tail post may therefore define registered apertures for receiving therewithin an elongate attachment pin for removeably coupling the anvil cap to the tail post.

The pull bar may comprise a cushion layer attached to a bottom surface of the tail piece to prevent marring of the surface of the flooring material being installed.

These and other aspects and advantages will become more apparent after careful consideration is given to the following detailed description of the preferred exemplary embodiments thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCOMPANYING DRAWINGS

Reference will hereinafter be made to the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals throughout the various FIGURES denote like structural elements, and wherein;

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a pull bar in accordance with the present invention being employed to install pieces of tongue-and-groove flooring material;

FIGS. 2 and 3 are top plan and side elevation views, respectively, of an especially preferred embodiment of a pull bar in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged exploded side elevation view of the tail block assembly associated with the pull bar embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 3;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged side elevation view, partly in section, of the assembled tail block assembly shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged exploded side elevation view of another embodiment of a tail block assembly that may be employed with a pull bar in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged side elevation view of the assembled tail block assembly depicted in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged exploded side elevation view of yet another embodiment of a tail block assembly that may be employed with a pull bar in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged side elevation view of the assembled tail block assembly depicted in FIG. 8; and

FIG. 10 is a top perspective view of yet another preferred embodiment of a pull bar in accordance with the present invention whereby the relative angle between the header bar and the tail piece may be adjustably varied so as to accommodate angled flooring materials;

FIGS. 11-13 are bottom plan, bottom perspective and top plan views, respectively, of the pull bar embodiment depicted in FIG. 10; and

FIG. 14 is a top plan view of another embodiment of a pull bar in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As briefly noted above, flooring material pieces having tongue-and-groove joinery may be installed side-by-side on a subfloor SF to form a finished floor FF as depicted schematically in accompanying FIG. 1. The finished floor is typically provided with a small, but meaningful (e.g., about ½-inch) expansion gap EG adjacent to the interior walls W. To assist in the installation of a flooring material piece FMP, a pull bar 10 in accordance with the present invention may be employed. In this regard, the pull bar 10 is provided with a header bar 12 and a tail piece 14 rigidly connected at its forward end to the header bar 12 and extending rearwardly therefrom at a right angle. The tail piece 14 includes a tail block assembly 16 at a rearward portion thereof.

The header bar 12 is most preferably formed from angle bar stock and thus has an upper flange 12-1 adapted to being rigidly connected (e.g., by welding) to a forward end of the tail piece 14. The header bar 12 also includes an orthogonal lower flange 12-2 adapted for placement in the expansion gap EG along an exposed edge of a flooring material piece FMP being installed adjacent to a wall W as shown in FIG. 1. The lower flange 12-2 is therefore oriented in a vertical plane which is perpendicular to the horizontal plane established by the tail piece 14. Thus, upon striking the tail block assembly 16 with a hammer swung along an arc (arrow A1) by an installer (not shown), the force of the hammer hit will be transferred to the lower flange 12-1 of the header bar 12 by means of the tail piece 14. The header bar 12 will therefore be encouraged to move in a direction noted by arrow A2 in FIG. 1 which is perpendicular relative to the edge of the flooring material piece FMP engaged by the header bar 12. As such, the flooring material piece FMP will be seated properly with an adjoining piece by means of the tongue-and-groove joinery thereof.

The relative dimensions of the header bar 12 and tail piece 14 are not critical. However, it is preferred that the tail piece 14 be of sufficient length to allow the hammer H to be swung through a normal arc by an installer when the pull bar 10 is placed near a wall (e.g., as depicted in FIG. 1). In this regard, a length of between about 20 inches to about 30 inches is usually suitable for the tail piece 14 to accomplish such purpose, with a length of about 24 inches being especially preferred. Similarly, the length of the header bar 12 may vary depending upon the dimensions of the flooring material to be installed, for example, from between about 2 inches to about 10 inches. Thus, for example, for relatively smaller sized flooring materials, a length of about 2½ inches for the header bar is desirably, whereas larger sized flooring material may require a header bar having a length of between about 6 to about 10 inches, e.g., about 7 inches.

As is perhaps better shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the tail block assembly 16 includes a tail post 16-1 which is rigidly connected to a rearward portion of the tail piece 14 at a lower end thereof, and is inclined forwardly relative to the tail piece 14. The upper end of the tail post 16-1 terminates in a removable anvil cap 16-2 which provides a striking surface to receive repetitive blows of a hammer H (see FIG. 1). The tail post 16-1 may be inclined at any convenient angle to accommodate hammer strikes onto its distal anvil cap 16-2. For example, the tail post 16 may be angled between about 20° to about 45°, and more preferably between about 25° to about 35° relative to the horizontal plane established by the tail piece 14. The angular orientation of the tail post 16-1 relative to the tail piece 14 thus serves to ensure that a force vector in a rearward direction in a horizontal plane parallel to the planar tail piece 14 will result with each blow of the hammer H against the anvil cap 16-2.

As is also shown in FIG. 2, the tail piece 14 is provided on its lower surface with a cushion layer 14-1 which serves to prevent surface marring of the flooring material pieces FMP and the finished flooring FF formed thereof. Any suitable material may be used for the cushion layer 14-1, including foamed and unfoamed rubbers, woven and nonwoven fabrics, and the like.

As noted briefly above, the anvil cap 16-2 is removably attached to the tail post 16-1. According to the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 4 and 5, such removeability is obtained via the threaded coupling of interior threads 16-2a formed within the coupling flange 16-2b of the anvil cap 16-2 with the exterior threads 16-1a formed on the terminal end 16-1b of the anvil post 16-1. Thus, in the event that the anvil cap 16-2 becomes damaged beyond repair, it may be threadably uncoupled from the tail post 16-1 so that an undamaged anvil cap 16-2 may then be threadably coupled thereto in its place.

An alternative embodiment of a tail block assembly 20 in accordance with the present invention is depicted in FIGS. 6 and 7. As shown, the tail block assembly 20, like tail block assembly 16 discussed previously, includes a tail post 20-1 which is rigidly connected to a rearward portion of the tail piece 14 at a lower end thereof, and is inclined forwardly relative to the tail piece 14. The upper end of the tail post 20-1 terminates in a removable anvil cap 20-2 which provides a striking surface to receive repetitive blows of a hammer H (see FIG. 1).

The anvil cap 20-2 defines an aperture 20-2a formed in a rearwardly protruding coaxially disposed attachment boss 20-2b. The attachment boss 20-2b is sized and configured to be received within the interior of the tubular tail post 20-1. Alternatively, the major extent of the tail post 20-1 could be solid with a recess formed in its terminal end so as to accept the attachment boss 20-2b therewithin. When the attachment boss 20-2b is seated within the tail post 20-1, the aperture 20-2a will be capable of alignment with an aperture 20-1a formed in the terminal end of the tail post 20-1. The aligned apertures 20-1a and 20-2a will therefore accept an elongate attachment pin 22 so as to secure the anvil cap 20-2 to the tail post 20-1. The pin 22 may be in the form of a friction fit pin member which can be physically driven into and out of the aligned apertures 20-1a and 20-2a or may be a threaded set screw in which case the aperture 20-2a is most preferably provided with interior threads to threadably receive the same.

Another preferred embodiment of a tail block assembly 30 in accordance with the present invention is depicted in FIGS. 8 and 9. As shown, the tail block assembly 30, like tail block assemblies described previously, includes a tail post 30-1 which is rigidly connected to a rearward portion of the tail piece 14 at a lower end thereof, and is inclined forwardly relative to the tail piece 14. The upper end of the tail post 30-1 terminates in a removable anvil cap 30-2 which provides a striking surface to receive repetitive blows of a hammer H (see FIG. 1).

The anvil cap 30-2 includes a rearwardly projecting coaxially disposed threaded connection shaft 30-2a which is capable of threaded engagement with the threaded recessed aperture 30-1a formed coaxially in the tail post 30-1. Thus, the anvil cap 30-2 may be threadably coupled and uncoupled from the tail post 30-1 by threaded engagement of the recessed aperture 30-1a and connection shaft 30-2a.

Another embodiment of a pull bar 40 in accordance with the present invention is depicted in FIGS. 10-12 and includes a tail block assembly which is not shown but which may be structurally similar to the embodiments described previously (e.g., structurally similar to tail block assemblies 10, 20 or 30).

According to the embodiment of the pull bar 40 shown in FIGS. 10-13, however, the header bar 42 is coupled to the tail piece 44 so as to be pivotally adjustable between a pair of oppositely disposed non-orthogonal angular orientations with respect to the tail piece 44. Specifically, a pivot joint 48 is provided so as to allow pivotal articulation between the header bar 42 and the tail piece 44 so that the former may be moved pivotally (arrow A3 in FIG. 10) relative to the latter between one of a plurality of non-orthogonal angles, for example, between right and left angular positions as depicted in solid and dashed lines, respectively, in FIG. 10. Stop plates 50 are provided on the undersurface of the upper flange 42-1 so as to contact a respective lateral edge of the tail piece 44 and thereby establish the angular orientation of the header bar 42.

By way of example, the right and left angular positions of the header bar 42 may form an angle of about 45° with respect to the tail piece 44. However, angular orientations between about 20° to about 80°, preferably between about 30° to about 60°, may be provided. A removable position pin 52 is provided so as to be received within a registered pair of the position apertures 54 so as to positionally lock the angular orientation of the header bar 42 relative to the tail piece 44.

The header bar 42 shown in FIGS. 10-13 is therefore capable of being moved pivotally so as to establish at least opposite relative angles with the tail piece 42 so as to accommodate angled and straight flooring materials.

The header bar 42 most preferably includes a pair grip pins 56 which are received within a respective one of the threaded apertures 58a, 58b formed in the lower flange 42-2 of the header bar 42. The pairs of apertures 58a, 58b are provided within the lower flange 42-2 of the header bar 42 so that the sharp ends of the threaded grip pins 56 project rearwardly parallel to the elongate axis of the tail piece 44 in both the right and left angular orientations, respectively. As shown in FIG. 13, the grip pins 56 serve to penetrate into the edge of the flooring material piece FMP being installed when the header bar 42 is in one of its right or left angled orientations relative to the tail piece 44. Relative slippage between the angled edge of the flooring material piece FMP and the header bar 42 is thereby prevented due to the penetration of the grip pins 56 into the flooring material edge thereby ensuring that the force of the hammer blow onto the tail block assembly (not shown) is translated into a vector force parallel to the tail piece 44.

Of course, the header bar 42 may also be provided in a rigid position relative to the tail piece 44 in which case separate pull bars having both a right and left angular orientation would be needed. An alternative to providing separate angularly oriented header bars is depicted by the embodiment of the pull bar 70 depicted in FIG. 14. In this regard, the header bar 72 of pull bar 70 is rigidly fixed at a right angle to the tail piece 74. A angle block 76 is connected to the header bar 72 by means of removable bolts 78. The angle block forms a contact surface 76-1 which forms a non-orthogonal angle relative to the elongate dimension of the tail piece 74. Preferably, the angle formed by the contact surface 76-1 is between about 20° to about 80°, preferably between about 30° to about 60°. The angle formed by the contact surface 76-1 depicted in FIG. 14 is about 45°.

The angle block may be formed of any material that will withstand the forces needed to accomplish installation of the flooring material pieces. Thus, relatively hard plastics materials (e.g., phenolics) and metal may be employed. In order to prevent slippage of the contact surface 76-1 relative to the edge of the flooring material piece FMP against which it presses, the angle block 76 carries grip pins 76-1 which project rearwardly from the contact surface 76-1 in a direction parallel to the elongate dimension of the tail piece 74. In order to reverse the angular orientation of the contact surface 76-1 formed by the angle block 76, one need only remove the attachment bolts 78 so as to uncouple the angle block 76 from the header bar 72. The angle block 76 may then be turned over and then reattached to the header bar 72 by means of the bolts 78 so that the contact surface 76-1 assumes the angular orientation as depicted by the dashed lines thereof in FIG. 14.

In use, flooring material pieces may be installed by providing a pull bar as described previously and engaging the header bar with an edge of a flooring material piece to be installed. The anvil cap may then be struck repetitively using a hammer until the flooring material piece is installed with such steps being repeated as necessary with additional flooring material pieces until the anvil cap becomes damaged. Thereafter the damaged anvil cap may be remove from the tail post and an undamaged anvil cap installed onto the tail post in its place.

The anvil caps are depicted in the accompanying drawing FIGURES as being formed of a metal. However, they may also be formed of non-metals, for example, a plastics material. For example, engineered plastics materials (e.g., nylons, polyolefins and the like) having good impact resistance properties may be satisfactorily employed. In addition, the anvil caps may have a portion or an entirety thereof formed of a resilient elastomeric material to serve as a cushion against blows from the hammer H. Alternatively or additionally, an elastomeric cap may be removeably fitted over the anvil caps for such purpose.

While the invention has been described in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments thereof, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the disclosed embodiment, but on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.