Title:
Method and Apparatus for Finishing Veneer Edge Banding
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus and method for treating flexible edge bands for furniture and the like is described. The apparatus includes a base, a drum rotatably mounted on the support. The drum is generally cylindrical and has a center axis and an outer surface. An applicator applies the edge band to the surface of the drum. A means for rotating the drum about its center axis is also present.



Inventors:
Sgroi, Paul (Smithtown, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/422594
Publication Date:
02/08/2007
Filing Date:
06/06/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
156/425
International Classes:
B65H81/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DONDERO, WILLIAM E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Thomas A. O'Rourke (Melville, NY, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An apparatus for treating flexible edge bands for furniture and the like comprising: a) a base, said base having at least one support for supporting a drum, b) a drum rotatably mounted on said support, said drum being generally cylindrical and having a center axis and an outer surface, c) an applicator for applying the edge band to said surface of the drum, d) a means for rotating said drum about said center axis.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said drum has a means for securing an end of said edge band to the surface of said drum.

3. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the surface of said drum has a helical channel for receiving said edge band.

4. The apparatus according to claim 3 wherein said surface of said drum has a plurality of corrugations thereon.

5. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said drum has a smooth surface.

6. The apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said drum has an edge band helically wrapped around the surface of said drum and wherein one edge of said edge band abuts the edge of the adjacent portion of said edge band.

7. The apparatus according to claim 1 former comprising a means for transporting said apparatus into a drying chamber.

8. The apparatus according to claim 7 wherein said means for rotating said drum is a variable speed motor.

9. An apparatus for treating flexible edge bands for furniture and the like comprising a platform, said platform having a first support and a second support supporting a drum, said drum being generally cylindrical in shape and having a length and a diameter, said drum being rotatable about a center axis by a drive means, said drum having an outer surface, said outer surface having an end of an edge band secured to said surface, said edge band being wrapped about said surface and said edge band having a second end of said edge band secured to said drum.

10. The apparatus according to claim 9 wherein said edge band has a first edge and a second edge and wherein at least a portion of said first edge is in contact with at least a portion of said second edge.

11. The apparatus according to claim 9 wherein said outer surface of said drum has a helical side wall.

12. The apparatus according to claim 9 wherein said outer surface of said drum has a corrugated surface.

13. A method for treating an edge band comprising securing an end of said edge band to a surface of a drum, applying said edge band to said drum such that said edge band is helically wrapped about said drum, rotating said drum about a certain axis treating said edgeband.

14. The method according to claim 13 wherein said edge band has a first edge and a second edge and wherein a portion of said first edge is in contact with a portion of said second edge when said edge band is helically wrapped about said drum.

Description:

This application claims priority on U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/687,731, filed Jun. 6, 2005 the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to improvements in substrate finishing such as finishing a flexible edge band tape used in the production of furniture, cabinetry and the like. More particularly, the invention relates to improved methods and apparatus used in preparing and finishing such tape.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Wood has been used in furniture building since the beginning of time. As time has gone on furniture while still functional has become increasingly a thing of beauty. For fine furniture, many people desire such woods as walnut, mahogany, maple, cherry, etc because of the interesting grain or the finish that the wood takes. The hardness of these woods, as well as the beauty of their grain makes these woods highly desirable for furniture or cabinetry. These woods besides being durable can be stained and finished to give the finished product a rich patina Originally, when these woods were more plentiful, many of the pieces of furniture and cabinets made from these woods were made from solid pieces of wood. As these woods have become scarce and more expensive, efforts were made to reduce the amount of expensive wood used in furniture without losing the look of the fine woods. In addition, much of the mahogany comes from rainforests and many people are concerned about depletion of these resources. As a result, less of these woods are used in some furniture.

One of the approaches that was taken has been the use of cheaper woods, wood products and plastics for structural portions of the furniture, but to use solid woods for the visual portions of the product. Another approach has been to use veneers in place of more expensive pieces of solid wood. Veneers are thin slices of wood used either alone or laminated on to another type of wood or other material. The use of a veneer requires considerably smaller amounts of the finer woods and yet still give the appearance of the solid woods. Therefore a furniture maker or cabinet maker can provide a lower cost product that has the appearance of a finer piece of furniture. Also, the use of veneer permits a wood worker to use one or more exotic woods on the cabinets or furniture where the cost of the exotic woods in solid form would be prohibitive.

Combinations of veneers have also been used for decorative purposes such as in marquetry in which a thin veneer having an interesting pattern is used as a top surface on a piece of furniture. Frequently, the veneer is used to create a unique design on the surface of the furniture. For example, veneers may be selected not only because of the color of the wood, but also its grain. A crotch or burl may also be selected for the unique pattern in the wood.

More recently, there has been an increase in the use of plywood and particle board in many articles of furniture and cabinetry. These materials as well as chip board, flake board, Masonite and other materials are usually less expensive than the traditional solid pieces of wood. Plywood is typically a multilayer laminate of thin wood layers glued together to form a thicker composite. The grains of the individual layers are usually placed perpendicular to the grain of the adjacent layer. At least one surface layer of the plywood has a veneer layer or a finish layer that is used by the wood worker in the work piece. This surface layer or face layer can be on one side of the plywood or both depending on the type of furniture it is being used on and the location on the piece.

Similarly particle board is a sheet of a wood chips or pieces that are glued together to form a sheet of material. As with the plywood, the particle board is provided with at least one top layer of veneer which is used as the finish surface of the product being made. Besides plywood and particle board, there are other materials that can be used in cabinetry, furniture making or other woodworking projects.

In many products made from non solid wood materials such as particle board, plywood and the like, the side edges of the material reveal the layers or particles that make up the sheet material. The edges are frequently, not as attractive and/or do not take the stain or furnish in the same manner as the veneer. Thus, the edges are usually covered with a thin strip of a veneer called an edge band to hide the edge of the sheet. This strip of veneer usually in the form of an edge band tape can typically be a flexible strip or band with one or more layers. The top layer is usually a veneer of a finer type of wood but really can be any suitable wood or other material. The other layers if present are one or more backing or support layers as the veneer is typically very thin. The veneer strip or edge band tape is usually about ⅛″ thick or less and can be any length desired. Edge band tape is a flexible material and is usually sold in rolls of 500′ or more. The width of the edge band varies, depending on the thickness of the substrate being used.

The edge band is usually applied to the furniture by an edge bander. The band is adhered to the edges of the furniture by means of an adhesive and hides the particle board or plywood edge. The edge band is frequently used because it can be stained or finished to blend in with the finish surface of the plywood or particle board. One of the problems encountered in using the edge band tape occurs with finishing of the edge. If the furniture is stained after the edge band has been secured to the edges of the furniture, it is difficult in many instances to blend the stain so that the top surface and the edge band match. Because the edge is frequently in a different plane than the adjacent surfaces and there is a risk that too little or too much stain or finish is applied to the edge band or the adjacent area.

Another problem encountered in using edge band has been in sanding the edge band. Because of the length of the band and its flexibility, it has been difficult to sand the band before it is secured to the furniture. As a result, the bands have to be laid out flat and secured to a surface for sanding.

As noted above, the edge band typically comes in rolls of 500 feet or more. In the past, when a veneer edge band is being used, the band is cut into a strip of suitable length usually about 8′ and placed on a table or other flat surface for finishing. The ends of the bands are usually tacked or otherwise secured to the surface. If desired, a number of strips can be secured adjacent to each other so that they can be sanded at one time and later stained and finished. Once they are finished, the bands must be moved to a drying chamber where the volatile in the stain or finish are driven off and the finish is dried or cured. This can require moving the whole table on which they rest in many instances which takes up considerable room in the chamber. When the bands are applied to the edge by an edge bander one of the issues has been the short lengths. Not every edge requires 8′ of banding tape so there will be some waste or there can be unsightly seams. Also, if longer lengths are used to avoid waste, the lengths are more difficult to work with.

Another of the problems with the prior art approach to finish veneer edge bands has been in the manipulating of the edge bands. These long strips are difficult to tack down and move during the different finishing steps. If they are removed from the table or other support, there is a risk the finish may be damaged in transit particularly where they have not fully cured,

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a method of working with edge band tape that increases the efficiency of the operation.

It is an object of the invention to provide a method of finishing veneer edge band tape in a more expeditious manner.

It is also an object of the invention to provide a method of finishing long lengths of edge band tape at one time.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide an improved apparatus for finishing edge band tape.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus useful in sanding, staining and surface finishing edge band.

It is also an object of the invention to provide an improved method of treating edge bands.

It is also a further object of the invention to provide an improved method of finishing edge bands in a variety of lengths.

It is a still further object of the invention to provide an improved method of sanding, coloring, and protecting edge bands.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to an improved method and apparatus for treating edge bands and edge band tapes. By edge bands is meant a thin flexible strip of material that can be stained or painted. The edge band is typically made of solid wood, laminates and plastics. The laminates can include wood veneers. The edge band can be in various widths and lengths. The edge bands of the present invention are thin enough to be wrapped around a rotating cylinder The treatment can include sanding, staining or painting followed by finishing, if desired. Edge band is usually a thin flexible strip that is sold in rolls. In a preferred embodiment, the thin flexible strip has a top surface that has a layer of a veneer thereon. The edge band can be narrow or single layer or multilayer strip and can be made of wood or other suitable material such as plastic. The material used for the strip can preferably be a material that can be sanded. The material is also preferably a material that can be stained or can have any other suitable surface treatment applied such as paint or other colorant, etc. In addition, the material is preferably one that can receive a protective finish such as varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, shellac, etc.

The apparatus of the present invention includes a rotating drum. The rotating drum is positioned on a stand which may include a base with a pair of supports extending upwardly to support the drum. The drum may have an axle extending from each end thereof that is supported by the supports on the base. The axle of the drum may be positioned in an orifice in each of the supports or on a concave recess on a surface of said supports. In another embodiment the drum has an orifice at each end to receive a pin extending from each support. The drum is a rotating drum driven by a motor. The motor is preferably one that has variable speeds.

In one embodiment, the drum preferably has a helical channel on its exterior surface. The channel is at least as wide as the edge band. The strip of edge band is secured to one part of the channel and the band is wrapped around the drum so that the band's finish surface is exposed on the drum. The opposite end of the edge band is secured to the channel after the band is wrapped around the drum to hold it in place. The width of the channels in the surface of the drum can be fixed or adjustable. In another embodiment, the exterior surface of the drum has a smooth surface and is without the grooves. In this embodiment, the tape is wrapped around the drum surface after one end of the tape is secured to the exterior surface of the drum. The tape is preferably in a side to side relationship where the edges of each of the helices abuts each adjacent edge.

While the band is secured to the drum, the drum is rotated and the surface of the band can be sanded, if desired. Once the surface has been sanded, the surface may be stained or painted by a suitable coloring agent. A sealer can be applied before or after staining as desired. In addition, finish coats can be applied. This finish coat can be paint, shellac, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, etc. If desired, a plurality of coats of the stain, sealant or finish layers can be applied to the band.

One of the advantages of using the drum is that when, for example, a lacquer or other finish that requires curing, is applied to the band, the entire drum and stand can be rolled into the drying oven for curing. The drum reduces the amount of room needed to treat and finish the band because the strips of the band don't have to be laid out flat and the drum permits economies of scale that have not heretofore been available to the small woodworking shops. Using the drum permits more or longer lengths of the edge band tape to be prepared in a shorter period of time.

The drum of the present invention can also be used to finish any multi faced surface like columns or corbels. In these applications the corbel, for example can be secured to the surface of the drum. For other applications where the article is relatively long such as a column, the drum can be replaced with the article and the article is secured to the device. The apparatus then rotates the article so that the finish can be applied.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a representative example of the drum of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a portion of the drum of one embodiment of the present invention with a band secured in a channel in the surface of the drum.

FIG. 3 shows the drum of FIG. 2 with the band being placed around two channels.

FIG. 4 shows the application of the edge band to the drum.

FIG. 5 shows the second end of the edge band secured to the drum.

FIG. 6 shows the sanding of the band while attached to the drum.

FIG. 7 shows the application of stain to the sanded edge band.

FIG. 8 shows the application of varnish to the edge band.

FIG. 9 shows the stand with the drum in a drying room.

FIG. 10 shows the removal of the edge band when dried.

FIG. 11 shows an alternative embodiment of the drum of the present invention.

FIG. 12 shows a side view of the drum of the present invention.

FIG. 13 shows a top view of the drum of the present invention.

FIG. 14 shows a side view of the tape applicator assembly.

FIG. 15 shows an end view of the tape applicator assembly of FIG. 14.

FIG. 16 shows a top view of the applicator assembly.

FIG. 17 shows an exploded view of the applicator assembly.

FIG. 18 show a schematic for the pneumatic system that operates the apparatus of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 10 shows a representation of a drum 10 of the present invention. The drum is a generally cylindrical member of any suitable diameter. The drum also can have any length desired depending on the length of edge band that is desired to be finished at any given time. A motor 14 is connected to the drum to rotate it. The motor 14 is preferably a variable speed motor that permits the speed of rotation of the drum to vary depending on the activity performed on the drum. Sanding typically requires a relatively high speed while application of a finish coat is usually done at slower speeds. The drum may have a smooth surface or may have a helical channel 15 present as seen in FIG. 10. The channel 15 may be generally U-shaped in cross section. As seen in FIG. 1, the channel has a helical side wall 16 that extends about the surface of the drum. There is a base portion 17 that the edge band rests on. Because the channel is helical, the channel has a wall on either side of the base portion 17. The base portion 17 of the channel may be made of a suitable material that will provide friction to the underside of the band to better hold it in place without slipping. Such material can be, for example, a rubber or corrugated material that has a high coefficient of friction and will hold the band satisfactorily in place. In one embodiment the base portion 17 has a plurality of corrugations that provide friction to keep the edge band in place.

As shown in FIG. 1, one end 18 of the band 19 is secured to the channel generally at the start of the channel. One suitable means for securing the edge band is by means of a pin, adhesive, masking tape, clip, clamp, etc. The band is wrapped around the drum preferably in a channel. Alternatively, if there is no channel, as for example in the drum of FIGS. 11-13, the edge 20 of the band should be in contact with the adjacent edge of the band 21 so that there are no gaps in the surface for finish or stain to drip.

The band is wrapped around the drum as shown generally in FIGS. 2 and 3. When the end of the band is reached, the end can also be secured to the drum by any suitable means as shown in FIG. 4. As seen in FIG. 1 the end of the band is secured to the drum by masking tape and an end portion of the tape has edge band over at least one free end to assist in securing it in place.

During operation the drum 10 is rotated preferably by a suitable motor 14. The motor 14 can turn the drum directly or there can be a series of gears or belts turning the drum. The motor is preferably a variable speed motor as different operations in the finishing process can be done at different rotational speeds. For example, FIG. 5 shows the band being sanded. The motor rotates the drum at a relatively high speed so that no one portion of the band receives to much sanding. Once the sanding is complete, a sealer may be applied such as by spraying. The sealer seals the surface of the wood or other material so that the stain may be received by the wood in a uniform manner. One of the advantages of rotating the drum is that the centrifugal force of the drum prevents dripping of the stain or other material being applied.

FIG. 6 shows stain being sprayed on the surface of the bands. The proper selection of the speed of rotation coupled with the motion of the applier gives a smooth finish, For a drum having a diameter of about 18″, a rotational speed of about 60 RPM has been found to provide a smooth coat of stain to the surface of the band. Varnish can be applied at a rotational speed of 20 RPM.

In a preferred embodiment, the drum is positioned on a stand or platform that permits the drum to rotate. As shown in FIG. 8, the stand has a base section with an arm at each end of the base to support the drum. Preferably the stand has wheels on the underside of the base to permit the stand to be readily moved to different work locations. This is particularly useful as it permits the user to move the drum into the drying chamber for curing the top coat or other finish. The speed of the rotation is usually relatively slow during the drying process. Once the drying is complete, the motor is turned off and the tape can be removed.

Another embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 11 to 13. This embodiment has a drum without the channels shown in FIG. 1. In this embodiment there is a rotary tape platform 100 having a base 101. The base may be provided with legs or more preferably casters 102 to facilitate movement of the tape platform about a shop. The platform is provided with a drum support 103, a rotating drum 104, preferably a cylindrical drum that is rotated by a drive means 105.

The drum 104 is preferably cylindrical or frustoconical in shape. However, it is possible to use a drum with a polygonal cross section. The drive means 105 may include a motor with, for example, a belt drive, a chain drive linkage with the drum holder, etc. The motor may be a gear motor. A preferred motor, however, is a pneumatic motor. In the preferred, embodiment, the drive means of the platform includes a means for regulating the rotational speed of the drum.

The tape can be applied to the drum by hand. Initially, a free end of the tape is secured to the drum by a suitable means; the remainder of the tape is wrapped around the drum. In another embodiment, the tape can be applied to the drum mechanically. Attached to the platform can be a tape applicator 106. The tape applicator is secured to a bar 107 and adapted for reciprocating motions along the base to apply a tape to the drum. Preferably, the tape applicator operates in connection with the drum in a rack and pinion type arrangement. In an alternate embodiment, the tape applicator may be in a fixed position and the drum can reciprocate.

During operation, the drum rotates about its axis on the platform. The tape applicator can apply the tape starting at one end of the drum. The tape is applied until the desired length is on the drum. The tape may be secured to the drum by any suitable means including tape, adhesive velcro, etc.

As the drum rotates with the tape in position around it, the various functions can be performed on the tape. These functions include sanding the tape. The sanding can be done several times with progressively finer sandpaper to achieve a smooth finish to the tape. Once the desired smoothness has been achieved, the tape may be stained or painted to provide a suitable color. The tape is usually colored the same color as the remainder of the article of furniture that the tape is to be applied to.

The staining can be applied in any suitable manner such as by spray, by brush, by cloth, etc. Any suitable stain may be used such as oil based, water based, or alcohol based stain. After staining is complete, the roller platform may be transported to a drying chamber where the stain may be dried. Once the stain has been cured, the final finish may be applied. As in the case of the stain, the final finish may be applied by means of a spray, brush, etc. The finish may be any suitable finish, including but not limited to a varnish, a shellac, a lacquer, a water based finish, a polyurethane, etc. Once the final finish has been applied, the platform can be transported to the drying room.

FIGS. 14-17 show the applicator assembly 106. There is a first sidewall 200 and a second sidewall 201 on the applicator. Between the sidewalls 201 and 202, there is a spacer 202. The spacer is preferably about at least as wide as the tape that is being applied to the drum. In a preferred embodiment, the spacer can be replaced with spacers of different widths to accommodate different width tapes. Alternatively, the spacer can be wider than the largest tape typically used. The spacer has a curved upper surface 203 that is preferably provided with a teflon strip 204 that reduces the amount of friction as the tape passes to the drum. The tape is mounted on wheel 205 that is rotatably mounted between the sidewalls 200 and 201 on an axle 206. Any suitable axle arrangement can be used. One end of the axle 206 is provided with a cam that is rotated by a pulse valve 207. A counter 208 may be positioned opposite the cam to register the amount of tape being applied to the drum. The counter 208 may be positioned on a swivel bracket 209.

Positioned on the front end of the tape applicator is a drive means 210 that moves the applicator along the side of the drum as tape is being applied. The drive means 210 in a preferred embodiment is a ratcheting clutch that has a rack and pinion gear arrangement with the drum. The drive means preferably has a block bushing 211 and a slide bushing 212. Between the two bushings is a rotary activator 213, a pinion gear 214 and a clutch bearing 215. The drive means 208 is mounted on a mounting plate 216 secured to a front surface of the applicator. In the Figures, the drive means is shown between the sidewalls, but the drive means can be positioned on one of the sidewalls instead. As the tape is being applied, the pinion gear 214 rotates, moving the activator 106 along teeth 108 on the base.

The rotating drum of the present invention can also be used to finish any multi faced surface like columns or corbels. In these applications the corbel or other piece, for example, can be secured to the surface of the drum. As the drum turns, the selected finish can be applied. For other applications where the article is relatively long such as some columns, the drum can be replaced with the article and the article is secured to the device. The apparatus then rotates the article so that the finish can be applied.

FIG. 18 shows a pneumatic schematic for the operation of the applicator and drum. Electric motors are preferably not used because of the risk of a spark. A pneumatic system can provide a much safer arrangement.

There is a pump 300 that passes a fluid such as a gas or a liquid through, for example, a filter 301, a regulator 302 and a lubricator 303. Air is the preferred fluid. The fluid passes to a valve 304 such as a two position, five port valve with air pilot where the fluid is separated for the various functions it needs to perform in operating the device. Between the lubricator 303 and the valve 304, there is a start switch 305 and a stop switch 306 to activate the operation of the device.

From the five port valve 304, the fluid is sent to a plurality of stations which operate the device. The fluid can be sent through a regulator 307 and from the regulator to the drive means 208 for rotating the drum. The fluid is also sent as desired to the pulse generator which powers the tape wind activator.

The main drive motor 14 is powered by a plurality of regulators and rotary switches that govern the speed of the motor and thus the drum. There is a first tube 308 that passes the fluid through a rotary switch 309 and then to the motor, This is to drive the motor at a relatively high rate of speed for sanding the tape on the drum. A second tube 310 passes through a regulator 311 which adjusts the flow. The flow passes through a rotary switch 312. This speed of the motor is a lower speed and is for drying the tape on the drum after a finish has been applied to prevent drips. The flow can pass through another regulator 313 which regulates the speed of the drum for staining purposes. This is preferably a higher speed. From the regulator 313 the fluid passes through rotary switch 314 and then to the drive motor for staining. For varnishing the tape, the fluid flows from the regulator 315 to rotary switch 316. The flow also passes through regulator 317 to rotary switch 318 where the speed is set for winding the tape around the drum.