Title:
Heavy duty pull bar
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The heavy duty pull bar is a hand tool for installing tongue and groove floor boards tightly together. The pull bar includes a flat elongated base plate, having a downward overhang lip on one end which is placed along the edge of the floor board while the other end having a triangle formation affixed to the top surface producing an immensely durable impact area to strike a mallet or hammer to exert the force required to pull the floor boards tightly together. Extending from both sides and from the impact zone end are small 45° bends outward and upward that add to the overall rigidity of the tool. There is also a handle assembly affixed lengthwise to the top centre surface of the base plate to provide better control, stability and handling, and may be used right-handed or left handed.



Inventors:
Lee-rodrigues, Andre (Oakville, CA)
Lee-rodrigues, Susan (Oakville, CA)
Application Number:
11/472288
Publication Date:
02/01/2007
Filing Date:
06/22/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MULLER, BRYAN R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Andre Lee-Rodrigues (Oakville, ON, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A pull bar comprising: a base plate adapted to be placed on floor boards; an overhang lip to place over edge of the floor board; an impact area to strike mallet or hammer; a handle assembly attached to said base plate to maneuver and control tool;

2. The pull bar as claimed in claim 1 wherein said base plate is generally planar, elongated and is of an isosceles trapezoid configuration with a wide end, a narrow end and the isosceles sides longer in length.

4. The pull bar as claimed in claim 2 wherein said base plate has ½″ bends outward and upward 45° extending out along the sides and narrow end of the pull bar which adds to the overall rigidity.

5. The pull bar as claimed in claim 1 and claim 2 wherein said base plate has a downward lip on the wide end thereof to place along edge of floor board.

6. The pull bar as claimed in claim 1 wherein said cross-section of impact area cross-section is generally of an isosceles triangle configuration at the narrow end thereof to strike the mallet or hammer.

8. The pull bar as claimed in claim 1 wherein said handle assembly is comprised of a straight tubular form, with bends formed on either end in a downward slope and affixed lengthwise to the top center surface of the base plate thereof to provide better control, stability and handling.

9. The pull bar as claimed in claim 8 wherein said handle is symmetrical so that said pull bar may be used either right-handed or left-handed.

Description:

This application claims priority on the U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/692,609 filed Jun. 22, 2005.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to the field of flooring installation tools and devices, and more specifically to such hand tools or devices useful for, but not restricted to, the installation of flooring systems including, but not limited to, sub floor systems, hardwood flooring, laminate flooring, cork flooring and other types of engineered flooring.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Flooring systems such as hardwood, laminate and engineered woods have become very popular floor covering choices for residential and commercial spaces and are preferred in many cases over carpet, vinyl and tile.

Flooring systems generally involve floor boards to be joined and secured into each other, usually with some variation of a tongue-and-groove system. Currently, various hand tools are used to assist in providing the necessary force to tightly fasten the floor boards, usually a hammer or mallet to apply the force, some form of tapping block to protect the edges of the floor boards while hammering the boards into place, and a pull bar to assist in pulling the boards together, generally used for difficult areas such as the planks at the end of each row and the last row of floor panels, typically encountered along the wall.

The existing pull bar is comprised of a flat, somewhat narrow piece of metal that is slightly wider on one end than the other, with two bends on either end. On the wider end, there is a small 90° bend downward, providing an overhang lip, which is positioned over the edge of the floor panel to hold it in place while force is being exerted on opposite end at the impact zone. On the narrow end, there is a larger 90° bend upward, providing an upright impact zone to allow the user to repeatedly strike to apply enough force to pull the last row of floor panels tightly together.

The main problem with the existing pull bar is that the 90° upright impact zone is not very durable. When the 90° upright impact zone has been hit repeatedly, incorrectly or too hard, it bends and warps and loses the support and rigidity required to withstand the force required to pull the floor panels together. The pull bar's inability to sustain the abuse of being hammered results in the need to replace the tool every time this occurs, which can happen even after one installation. It would clearly be more advantageous to have a much more durable impact zone to withstand repeated use and abuse.

The second drawback with the existing pull bar is the lack of a handle to allow the user more control and stability while striking the 90° upright impact zone. Without a handle, the user is expected to place their hand flat along the surface of the pull bar to hold it in place while attempting to strike the 90° impact zone with a hammer or mallet. This could lead to injury to the hand if the hammer or mallet does not strike the 90° impact zone correctly. Ideally, the hand should be in a much more safe and effective position on the pull bar, away from possible injury.

The third disadvantage to the existing pull bar is the length is not adequate enough to allow for clearance of the mallet or hammer to strike the impact zone without the risk of damaging the nearby walls and obstacles. This could easily be resolved by extending the length of the base to increase the distance from the impact zone to the wall or obstacle.

During the installation of the planks or floor panels, the plank must be aligned parallel to the rest of the planks and some sort of force is needed to join and secure the panels in place to create as minimal spacing as possible between the planks. (In the example of laminate flooring, it is a floating flooring system that relies on the tongue & groove of the planks being tightly secured or “locked” into each other to create the support required to uphold the weight of furniture, people, etc.) This is often done by placing a tapping block against the tongue or groove of the plank and striking it with a mallet to apply enough force to adjoin the floor panels together. The problem with this method is that the hand and fingers holding the tapping block in place are not protected and if the hammer or mallet misses the side edge of the tapping block, it can result in the possibility of injuring the hand or fingers. It would obviously be desirable to have some means of applying force to adjoin the floor panels together while eliminating the possibility of injuries altogether.

The general objective of the present invention is to provide an improved flooring installation tool with unique features to allow for improved performance and durability, greater control and stability, protection of the user's hands and fingers, provide clearance to avoid damage to walls and the elimination of a tapping block.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

A principal objective of the current invention is to provide a hand tool which enables the user to apply the necessary force required to secure or “lock” the tongue and groove of the floor panels tightly together with minimized work, less effort and increased safety for the user, resulting in a more time efficient, less frustrating and safer installation.

In accordance with the present invention, this objective is attained by replacing the 90° upright impact zone with a triangular shaped impact zone which allows for a much more durable and rigid impact area. The base of the pull bar is comprised of a flat, somewhat narrow piece of metal that widens out at one end with a small 90° bend downward providing an overhang lip, which is positioned over the edge of the floor panel to hold it in place while force is being exerted on the opposite end at the impact zone. On the opposite end, there is an inverted-V-shaped impact zone that is ideally positioned near the edge of the base of the pull bar and affixed to the top surface of the base of the pull bar, producing a triangular shaped impact zone.

This triangular impact zone creates an immensely stronger support permitting maximum force upon impact from the hammer or mallet without ever bending or warping the impact area, withstanding repeated use and abuse. The triangular impact zone is also less restrictive than the 90° upright impact zone since the angle of the impact zone is greater than 90°, the preferred embodiment at 120°. This allows for improved accuracy of impact and also allows for a greater downward swing motion of the mallet or hammer increasing the force exerted upon the impact zone. The triangular impact zone permitting greater force with more accuracy minimizes the number of strikes required to pull the floor panels together, creating less work for the user and increasing the speed of installation. The triangular impact zone also allows the mallet or hammer to swing in a downward motion with clearance from nearby walls and obstacles.

This invention also features a handle, which provides support and stability to the pull bar when applying force of impact. The handle is made of, but not restricted to, metal in a straight tubular form, with bends formed on either end in a downward slope and affixed to the top of the base of the pull bar. The handle is best positioned near the center of the pull bar and runs parallel to the length and surface of the pull bar. This allows for both right-handed and left-handed users to hold the pull bar while keeping the hands and fingers safely away from the hammer or mallet as it strikes the triangular impact zone. The addition of the handle to the pull bar also gives the user more control while striking the impact zone, eliminating any unwanted movement from the desired position.

Furthermore, the handle enables the user easier handling of the tool in general. It is easier to pick up, hold and carry around, eliminating the risk of dropping the tool which will damage the new floors. If the tool gets wedged between the floor panel and the wall, the handle makes it easy to pull out of tight areas. It also allows for improved control and leverage for easier removal of planks, either during installation or for repair purposes later on, by placing the overhang lip underneath the plank to be removed and pulling in an upward motion.

This preferred embodiment also features outward and upward flares, ideally at 45°, extending out from both sides of the length of the base plate and from the narrow end of the base plate where the triangular impact zone is located. The outward flares improve the overall rigidity throughout the tool, increasing durability and stability. This improved rigidity now allows for the tool to be formed with a thinner gauge of metal, resulting in a thinner overhang lip, which can now be inserted between the wall and the edge of the floor panel with much more ease. The overall increased stability allows for greater accuracy, which results in a safer and faster installation.

This invention is easy to use as complicated instructions or directions are not required, just grab the handle and place the downward overhang lip over the edge of the plank and with a hammer or mallet in the other hand, swing in a downward motion aiming at the triangular impact zone. The handle gives the user greater control while the design gives the user the ability to effortlessly strike the triangular impact zone, successfully pulling the planks together tightly. The triangular impact zone provides immense strength to the impact area so that it can be used throughout the entire installation and through numerous installations without fear and frustration of bending and warping the impact zone.

This now presents an opportunity for the elimination of the tapping block since the user can now insert a scrap piece of floor plank into the tongue or groove, instead of the tapping block, and pull the floor planks together, by positioning the overhang lip on the cut end of the scrap piece of the plank and striking the triangular impact zone with the mallet or hammer. Since the tapping block can now be eliminated, the risk of injury to the hand and fingers has also been eliminated resulting in a much safer installation.

This tool can be manufactured with, but not restricted to, metal varying in length, width, shape and gauge. The angles of the impact zone can vary widely creating various triangular shaped impact zones and can also be produced as a solid mass. The handle can be created in varying configurations and material, or be eliminated. The length and angle of the flares can also vary, or be eliminated provided that a thicker gauge of metal is used.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top view of the preferred embodiment of the tool;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the tool shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an end view of the tool shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the tool shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the tool;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the tool shown in FIG. 1, showing floor panels being joined together using the tool.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now to the drawings, FIGS. 1 through 4, illustrating the preferred embodiment of the invention, the tool is generally referred to by numeral 10. The tool 10 consists of a base 11 comprised of a flat, somewhat narrow piece of metal, or other preferred material, that widens out at one end 12 with a small 90° bend downward producing an overhang lip 15. On the opposite end 14, there is an inverted-V-shaped impact zone 16, made of, but not restricted to, metal, bent at a 60° angle, that is ideally positioned near the edge and welded or affixed to the top surface of the base 11 of the tool 10. The triangular impact zone 16 is most effective positioned at 120° angle, as shown in FIG. 2 of the preferred embodiment. The handle 17 is made of, but not restricted to, metal in a straight tubular form, with bends formed on either ends 18 and 18′ in a downward slope and welded or affixed to the top of the base 11 of the tool 10. The handle 16, ideally, is best positioned near the center 13 of the tool 10 and runs parallel to the length and surface of the tool 10. The outward flares 19 and 19′, are created by extending and bending the metal base 11 of the tool 10 ideally at an upward 45° and also out from the narrow end 14 of the tool 10.

One of many embodiments of the invention is shown in FIG. 5, in which the tool 20 is comprised of a long, flat piece of metal, consistent in width throughout, with three bends and one weld. The triangular impact zone 21 is created by bending the flat metal piece upwards at 60° angles at two points, 22 and 22′ and welded where the end piece meets the base 23. The overhang lip 24 is created bending the flat metal piece at the opposite end at a downward 90° angle at the desired height.

This invention is easy to use as complicated instructions or directions are not required. As shown in FIG. 6, just grab the handle 17 and place the downward overhang lip 15 on the outside edge of plank 1 and with a hammer or mallet in the other hand, swing in a downward motion aiming at the triangular impact zone 16 in the direction in which the plank needs to be shifted to meet with plank 2 to create a tight seam 3. The handle 17 gives the user greater control over the tool 10 while the design gives the user the ability to effortlessly strike the triangular impact zone 16, successfully pulling the planks 1 and 2 together tightly. The triangular impact zone 16 provides immense strength to the impact area so that it can be used throughout the entire installation and through unlimited installations without fear and frustration of bending and warping the impact zone 16.

Although the invention is described and illustrated herein what is considered to be the most preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited, thereto. It is recognized, that any and all variations and equivalent arrangements may be made within the scope and in the spirit of the invention and that obvious modifications will occur to those skilled in the applicable art.





 
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