Title:
Furniture connector
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for assembling furniture includes a first attachment member having a plurality of spaced apart protrusions. A second attachment member has a plurality of spaced apart depressions. The first attachment member is adapted to mate with the second attachment member with the protrusions positioned in the depressions. Engagement structure is provided for securing the first attachment member to the second attachment member. The first attachment member is provided on a first furniture piece and the second attachment member is provided on a second furniture piece. The first attachment member is mated with the second attachment member to properly position the first furniture piece relative to the second furniture piece. The engagement member engages the first attachment member to the second attachment member to secure the first furniture piece to the second furniture piece. A method for securing a first furniture piece to a second furniture piece is also disclosed.



Inventors:
Lowsky, Steven M. (Hollywood, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/143144
Publication Date:
12/21/2006
Filing Date:
06/02/2005
Assignee:
Pride Outdoor Products Group, Inc. (Ft. Lauderdale, FL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/00
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Primary Examiner:
AMIRI, NAHID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AKERMAN LLP (WEST PALM BEACH, FL, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A system for assembling furniture comprising: a first attachment member having a plurality of spaced apart protrusions; a second attachment member having a plurality of depressions; the first attachment member being adapted to mate with the second attachment member with the protrusions positioned in the depressions; engagement structure for securing the first attachment member to the second attachment member; the first attachment member being provided on a first furniture piece and said second attachment member being provided on a second furniture piece and said first attachment member being mated with said second attachment member to properly position said first furniture piece relative to said second furniture piece, said engagement structure engaging said first attachment member to said second attachment member to secure said first furniture piece to said second furniture piece.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein said protrusions are elongated and said depressions comprise elongated grooves.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein said protrusions and said grooves comprise substantially an X shape.

4. The system of claim 3, wherein said engagement structure comprises a bolt, said attachment members having apertures to receive said bolt.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the first attachment member has a length and a width, the length being greater than the width.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the second attachment member has a length and a width, the length being greater than the height.

7. A system for assembling furniture comprising: a first attachment member having a mating surface with a plurality of elongated protrusions, said protrusions comprising elongated bearing surfaces and having a long axis, the long axis of all of the protrusions intersecting at an intersection; a second attachment member having a mating surface with a plurality of elongated grooves, said grooves having a long axis, the long axis of the grooves intersecting at an intersection; the first attachment member being adapted to mate with the second attachment member with the protrusions positioned in the grooves, and said mating surfaces in contact; engagement structure for securing the first attachment member to the second attachment member; the first attachment member being provided on a first furniture piece and said second attachment member being provided on a second furniture piece and said first attachment member being mated with said second attachment member to properly position said first furniture piece relative to said second furniture piece, said engagement member engaging said first attachment member to said second attachment member to secure said first furniture piece to said second furniture piece.

8. Furniture, comprising: a first furniture piece having a first attachment member comprising a mating surface with a plurality of spaced apart protrusions; a second furniture piece having a second attachment member comprising a mating surface with a plurality of spaced apart depressions; the first attachment member being adapted to mate with the second attachment member with the protrusions positioned in the depressions; engagement structure for securing the first attachment member to the second attachment member; the first attachment member on said first furniture piece being mated with said second attachment member on said second furniture piece to properly position said first furniture piece relative to said second furniture piece, said engagement structure engaging said first attachment member to said second attachment member to secure said first furniture piece to said second furniture piece.

9. The furniture of claim 8, wherein said protrusions are elongated and said depressions comprise elongated grooves.

10. The furniture of claim 9, wherein said protrusions and said grooves comprise substantially an X shape.

11. The furniture of claim 10, wherein said engagement structure comprises a bolt, said attachment members having apertures to receive said bolt.

12. The furniture of claim 8, wherein the first attachment member has a length and a width, the length being greater than the width.

13. The furniture of claim 8, wherein the second attachment member has a length and a width, the length being greater than the height.

14. A method for assembling furniture, comprising the steps of: providing a first furniture piece having a first attachment member comprising a mating surface with a plurality of spaced apart protrusions; providing a second furniture piece having a second attachment member comprising a mating surface with a plurality of spaced apart depressions; mating the first attachment member with the second attachment member with the protrusions positioned in the depressions, and said mating surfaces in contact; securing the first attachment member to the second attachment member with engagement structure.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to furniture and, more particularly, to furniture connectors.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Large furniture items, such as tables, typically must be shipped in an unassembled configuration in order to reduce shipping volume and thereby costs. The assembly is typically performed by retailers and customers, and a sheet of instructions is provided to assist the customer in assembling the merchandise. The assembly frequently requires securing the legs to the table top and securing a support to the legs. Screws and bolts are most often used for this purpose. Particularly with light weight metal furniture, such as lawn and patio furniture, the incorrect assembly by the customer can result in an undesirable product. The customer sometimes over-tightens screws or nuts and strips the threads. The metal can be bent from over-tightening. Alternatively, a customer can under-tighten and the resulting connection is not secure. In any case, the result is often an unstable construction in which pieces do not securely engage one another.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A system for assembling furniture components to each other includes a first attachment member having a mating surface with a plurality of spaced apart protrusions. A second attachment member has a mating surface with a plurality of depressions. The first attachment member is adapted to mate with the second attachment member with the protrusions positioned in the depressions and the mating surfaces in contact. Engagement structure is provided for securing the first attachment member to the second attachment member. The first attachment member is provided on a first furniture piece and the second attachment member is provided on a second furniture piece. The first attachment member is mated with the second attachment member to properly position the first furniture piece relative to the second furniture piece and to insure correct positioning and correct accurate assembly. The engagement member engages the first attachment member to the second attachment member to secure the first furniture piece to the second furniture piece.

The protrusions can comprise elongated bearing surfaces and have a long axis. The long axis of all the protrusions intersect at an intersection. The depressions can comprise a plurality of elongated grooves. The grooves have a long axis. The long axis of the grooves intersects at an intersection. The elongated protrusions mate with the elongated grooves to align and secure the joint together. The protrusions and grooves can be substantially in an X shape, and mated to properly align the furniture pieces.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

There is shown in the drawings embodiments which are presently preferred, it being understood, however, that the invention can be embodied in other forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first attachment member and a second attachment member according to the invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the first attachment member mated to the second attachment member.

FIG. 3 is a cross-section taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a cross-section taken along line 4-4 in FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a first attachment member and a second attachment member according to an alternative embodiment.

FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of the first attachment member mated to the second attachment member.

FIG. 7 is a cross-section taken along line 7-7 in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view of a table with attachment members according to the invention.

FIG. 9 is a cross-section taken along line 9-9 in FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

There is shown in FIGS. 1-4 a first attachment member 10 and a second attachment member 14 according to the invention. First attachment member 10 has a mating surface 18 with elongated protrusions 22. The elongated protrusions 22 have a long axis which intersects at an intersection 30. The second attachment member 14 has a mating surface 34 and a number of elongated grooves 38. The elongated grooves 38 have a long axis that intersects at an intersection 42. Protrusions 22 have elongated bearing surfaces 46 which cooperate with bearing surfaces 50 of grooves 38. Any number of cooperating protrusions 22 and grooves 38 are possible. The elongated protrusions 22 and grooves 38 can have a substantially X shape, although other shapes and configurations are possible.

In one arrangement as shown in FIGS. 1-2, the first attachment member 10 has a length and a width. The first attachment member 10 also has a height corresponding to the distance that the protrusions 22 extend. As illustrated, the length of the first attachment member 10 is greater than the width of the first attachment member 10. Similarly, the second attachment member 14 has length and a width, and also a height corresponding to the distance that the mating surface 34 extends. The length of the second attachment member 14 is greater than the width of the second attachment member 14. Having components with a length greater than a width can help ensure that the components are assembled correctly as the protrusions 22 will not align with the grooves 38 unless both components are orientated appropriately. If one component is pre-attached to a piece of furniture, the chances of improper assembly are reduced or eliminated. Additionally, in other arrangements, the length can also be less than the width.

As shown in FIGS. 2-4, the first attachment member 10 and second attachment member 14 can be mated by positioning the protrusions 22 in grooves 38. The cooperating aspect of the protrusions 22 and grooves 38 causes appropriate alignment of the respective pieces to which they are attached. Also, the protrusions 22 and grooves 38 can fit tightly at the periphery, as shown in FIG. 3, and more loosely at the juncture of the intersection 30 of the first attachment member 10 with the intersection 42 of the second attachment member 14. Furniture pieces that are assembled together are frequently rotated clockwise or counterclockwise during the assembly process. The invention limits this rotation by providing engagement against further rotation between the pieces when they are in the proper position. Alternative constructions, such as dowel and hole or tongue and groove, can be provided within the scope of the invention. Although the attachment members are shown as separate pieces, such could be formed integrally with the respective furniture piece.

The first attachment member 10 is secured to the second attachment member 14 by engagement structure. The engagement structure can be any suitable structure for securing the first attachment member 10 to the second attachment member 14. In one embodiment, the securing member is a fastener such as a bolt 50. The bolt 50 can be threaded into a suitable aperture 54 in the first attachment member 10 and an aperture 60 in the second attachment member 14 which align to receive the bolt 50. Other attachment structure, such as adhesives, are possible. Still further, the protrusions and grooves can be dimensioned such that the pieces snap-fit together without any need for a fastener.

There is shown in FIGS. 5-7 and 9 an alternative embodiment in which a first attachment member 70 is provided with elongated protrusions 74. A second attachment member 80 is provided with elongated grooves 84. The protrusions 74 mate with the grooves 84 to secure the first attachment member 70 to the second attachment member 80. An aperture 90 can be provided in the first attachment member 70 and aperture 94 can be provided in the second attachment member 80 to receive a suitable engagement member such as a bolt 92.

There is shown in FIG. 8 a table 100 according to the invention. The table comprises legs 104 and a table top 108. First attachment members 10 are provided on a bottom surface 112 of the table top 108. It should be noted that the attachment members 10 can be pre-attached to the table top 108, such that attachment by the user is not necessary. Second attachment members 14 are provided on an upper portion 116 of legs 104. The protrusions 22 are positioned in the grooves 38 such that the legs 104 are properly positioned and aligned with respect to each other and the table top 108. Engagement structure such as screws or bolts 50 are then utilized to secure the first attachment members 10 to the second attachment members 14. In an arrangement where the first attachment members 10 have a length that is greater than the width, or the second attachment members 14 have a length that is greater than the width, improper assembly is reduced or eliminated because a user will be prevented from attaching the legs 104 in an improper orientation.

In some table designs, a leg support 120 is provided. The first attachment member 70 can be provided on the legs 104 and the second attachment member 80 can be provided on the leg support structure 120. Engagement structure such as bolt 92 can be provided to secure the leg support structure 120 to the second engagement member 80 and the first engagement member 70, and thereby to engage the leg support structure 120 to the legs 104 in a properly aligned position.

The first attachment member and second attachment member can have any suitable dimension. In general, larger pieces of furniture may require attachment members having larger dimensions. The size of the attachment members for attaching legs to a table top, or wherever greater forces are encountered, may generally be larger than attachment members used to attach leg support structure or where lesser forces are encountered. In one embodiment, attachment members for attaching legs to a table top can have dimensions that generally correspond to the dimensions of the legs so that portions of the attachment members do not protrude laterally beyond the legs. Similarly, attachment members for attaching leg support structure to table legs can have dimensions that generally correspond to the dimensions of the leg support structure so that portions of the attachment members do not protrude laterally beyond the leg support structure. Other dimensions are possible.

Alternate configurations of the attachment members are possible. Spaced apart protrusions are provided on one attachment member, and spaced apart depressions are provided on the other attachment member. The protrusions and depressions are aligned and mated to join the furniture pieces at the proper position, arrangement and orientation. Engagement structure then secures the attachment members, and thereby the furniture pieces, together. The protrusions can have any suitable size and shape. The protrusions, for example, can be knobs, rods, plates, polygons, and the like. The depressions can also have any suitable size and shape, so long as they are capable of suitably mating with the protrusions. The depressions can, for example, be apertures or grooves.

During assembly, the protrusions and depressions align and mate to ensure that the furniture pieces are joined together at the proper position, arrangement and orientation and can prevent improper assembly. Also, in the aligned and configuration when joined, the protrusions and depressions of the furniture pieces prevent rotation of the pieces relative to each other during assembly, such as when a screw or bolt is rotated until appropriately secure, or when in use under the load from the side of the table. Thus, the protrusions and depressions not only ensure proper assembly, they also add to the overall stability of the table.

The invention is useful for many different kinds of furniture, including tables, chairs, sofas, end tables, bar stools, coffee tables, occasional tables, and many other kinds of furniture. The K invention may also have utility for other items which must be shipped in an unassembled state and then assembled.

The first attachment structure and second attachment structure can be manufactured from any suitable materials. The materials are preferably rigid, durable, and rust resistant. Aluminum, stainless steel, alloys, and plastics are possible.

This invention can be embodied in other forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof and, accordingly, reference should be had to the following claims rather than the foregoing specification as indicating the scope of the invention.





 
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