Title:
Post support and stabilization
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A post support and stabilization apparatus includes a stand having at least three legs, each of the legs being pivotally attached to a substantially ‘U’ shaped bracket, and a reversible mechanism for holding and releasing a post, when set within the bracket. A method for post support and stabilization includes the steps of placing the post support apparatus in a desired location with the ‘U’ bracket positioned at the desired height above the chosen post base location.



Inventors:
Pasto, Cris E. (Spencer, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/375869
Publication Date:
04/19/2007
Filing Date:
03/15/2006
Assignee:
Res-Q-Jack, Inc. (Elmira, NY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02D27/42
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GILBERT, WILLIAM V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AQUILLA PATENTS & MARKS PLLC (CENTER HARBOR, NH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A post support and stabilization apparatus, comprising: a) a stand having a plurality of legs wherein said legs are not evenly spaced apart around said post; b) each of said legs being pivotally engaged with a post-restraining bracket having a substantially U-shaped cross section, said U-shaped bracket being substantially horizontally disposed for receiving through an open end thereof a substantially vertical post; and c) means for reversibly affixing said post within said bracket.

2. A post support and stabilization apparatus, comprising: a) a stand having at least three leg assemblies pivotally engaged at or adjacent to an upper end thereof with a post-restraining bracket having a substantially U-shaped cross section, said U-shaped bracket being substantially horizontally disposed for receiving through an open end thereof a substantially vertical post; b) one of said three leg assemblies being pivotally engaged with said U-shaped bracket opposite said open end, and said second and third leg assemblies being pivotally engaged at or adjacent to said open end of said U-shaped bracket on opposite sides thereof; and c) means for reversibly affixing said post within said bracket.

3. The post support and stabilization apparatus of claim 2, further comprising means for independently adjusting the length of one or more of said leg assemblies.

4. The post support and stabilization apparatus of claim 3, wherein said leg assembly adjusting means comprises one or more telescopic and/or folding leg assembly.

5. The post support and stabilization apparatus of claim 2, wherein said reversible affixing means comprises a threaded rod or thumb screw passing through one or both sides of said U-shaped bracket, or any clamping means.

6. The post support and stabilization apparatus of claim 2, further comprising a supporting backplate affixed within said U-shaped bracket and extending vertically above and/or below said bracket.

7. The post support and stabilization apparatus of claim 6, wherein said reversible affixing means comprises a threaded rod or thumb screw passing through said backplate, and another threaded rod or thumb screw passing through each of said opposite sides of said U-shaped bracket.

8. The post support and stabilization apparatus of claim 6, wherein said supporting backplate is adjustable for making coarse post width adjustments by means of a telescopic back plate.

9. The post support and stabilization apparatus of claim 2, further comprising friction pads, one or more spikes, feet, or other non-slip means pivotally or swivelly attached at a lower end of one or more of said leg assemblies.

10. The post support and stabilization apparatus of claim 2, wherein at least one flexible or rigid bracing member is reversibly attached connecting at least one of said leg assemblies to one or more of said other leg assemblies and/or said post.

11. The post support and stabilization apparatus of claim 2, further comprising additional post restraining means including a ratchet strap or tightening device for restraining said post within said U-shaped bracket.

12. The post support and stabilization apparatus of claim 2, further comprising a second, smaller U-shaped bracket disposed within the first, allowing for stabilization of objects of various sizes and shapes.

13. The post support and stabilization apparatus of claim 2, further comprising means for adjusting plumb or vertical alignment of said post.

14. A method for supporting and stabilizing a post, comprising the steps of: a) providing a post support apparatus comprising a stand having at least three leg assemblies pivotally engaged at or adjacent to an upper end thereof with a post-restraining bracket having a substantially U-shaped cross section, said U-shaped bracket being substantially horizontally disposed for receiving through an open end thereof a substantially vertical post, one of said three leg assemblies being pivotally engaged with said U-shaped bracket opposite said open end, and said second and third leg assemblies being pivotally engaged at or adjacent to said open end of said U-shaped bracket on opposite sides thereof; b) placing said post support apparatus in a desired location with said U-shaped bracket positioned at a desired height above a chosen post base location; c) lifting and engaging said post into said U-shaped bracket; and d) reversibly securing said post within said bracket.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims an invention, which was disclosed in Provisional Application No. 60/661,855, filed Apr. 15, 2005, entitled “POST SUPPORT AND STABILIZATION”. The benefit under 35 USC § 119(e) of the United States provisional application is hereby claimed, and the aforementioned provisional application is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention pertains to the field of post supporting devices. More particularly, the invention pertains to methods and apparatus for temporarily holding a vertical post, building stud or the like to facilitate its placement in or on the ground, and vertical alignment of the same during installation.

2. Description of Related Art

Various methods are known in the prior art for supporting or stabilizing vertical posts, such as fence posts, telephone poles and building studs. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,684,580 discloses an adjustable post stabilization support device that includes a multiple-sided (rectangular) post-receiving sleeve, with oppositely disposed pairs of extensible ground engagement leg assemblies. Locking cam levers secure the sleeves on the posts with the extensible leg assemblies being hinged to the bottom of the sleeve. Each of the leg assemblies is independently adjustable and has a ground engagement foot on its extensible portion. Vertical orientation is provided for alignment of the sleeve and associated post by two horizontal planes. The sleeve is slid off the top of the post following back filling around the post base, or concrete setting. Thus, this device is not suitable for setting a post wherein the upper end is affixed or in close abutment with a beam or header, for example.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,293,058 discloses a support system of brackets and rods designed to be removably attached to a building stud. Used in pairs, the system can hold sheets of building material within the holding bracket and supported by a back rod so that the builder has the materials within easy view and reach and can replace partial sheets with the brackets.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,217,606 discloses a concrete drill holder, in the form of a tripod with hinged jaws at the upper ends of the legs thereof.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,012,419 discloses a concrete fence post, wherein the post is embedded in the ground and three braces are also embedded in ground. The three braces are aligned such that the post is not stabilized at the open end of a fixed dimension ‘U’ shaped bracket. Collar tightening is accomplished by a tapered fit to the tapered post; the collar is slid down the post, until the post dimension exceeds the collar dimension. Braces must be driven into the ground and upper ends nailed to the post collar. This system of bracing posts has numerous limitations, and is impractical for several reasons. The system depends upon use of a tapered post, wherein the collar locks at a certain point along the tapered post, and is retained by means of tightening a wire passed across the open end of the collar. Tapered posts are rarely used in building construction. Further, the post and the braces are buried or driven into the ground, which is labor intensive and time consuming. This system requires that the brace legs be driven into the ground and cut to length and fastened to the collar, after the concrete post is formed. This system also would typically require the assistance of a second person to hold the post for alignment.

U.S. Pat. No. 877,268 discloses a pole brace for telephone poles, fence posts and the like, and means for reinforcing and strengthening the base of the pole.

U.S. Pat. No. 866,303 discloses a brace for posts having two legs and a sliding collar that fits over the post.

A well-known method commonly used to hold and set wooden posts is the use of at least two braces attached to both the post and a stake driven in the ground. The braces are attached high on the post and run downward to the stake. If the base of the post is not buried, another brace is attached between the base of the post and the base of each stake. This method typically requires two people: one to plumb and hold the post, while the other fastens the brace to the post. Driving the stakes also can be difficult and often impossible, depending on ground conditions.

The various known methods and apparatus for supporting or stabilizing vertical posts generally suffer from numerous problems and limitations. For example, they typically are labor intensive and time consuming, require more than one person for the task of plumbing and affixing the post, and are not suitable for certain applications, such as setting a post wherein the upper end is affixed or in close abutment with a beam or header.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides apparatus and methods for post support and stabilization, allowing a single person to temporarily retain a post in a plumb position and affix the post in place or fasten the post to another member, as desired. The post support and stabilization system is a universal support for the installation of various cross-section posts, such as, for example, building studs, fence posts and the like, making the task a quick and simple process. It does not require that the post or legs be buried, which is advantageous for building construction.

In one embodiment, a post support and stabilization apparatus is provided, which includes a stand having at least three legs, each of the legs being pivotally attached to a substantially ‘U’ shaped bracket, and reversible means for holding and releasing a post, when set within the bracket. If working over a concrete floor, optional non-slip pads can prevent leg slippage. If working over soil, optional spikes at the tip of preferably pivotal feet can be engaged in earth to prevent slippage.

In an alternative embodiment, a post support and stabilization apparatus is provided, wherein each leg optionally is attached to a neighboring leg at a point below a pivotal attachment to a ‘U’ bracket to prevent the legs from spreading. The post base optionally is restrained by a strap or similar means near the leg bases to prevent post base movement.

In another embodiment, a method for post support and stabilization is provided, which includes the steps of placing the post support apparatus in a desired location with the ‘U’ bracket positioned at the desired height above the chosen post base location. The post is manually lifted and engaged in the ‘U’ bracket by a user. The user then tightens the thumbscrew or other tightening means to secure the post. Optionally, the post base is secured to one or more of the tripod legs and/or one or more of the tripod legs are secured to a neighboring tripod leg. The post is thus quickly and easily supported and can be affixed or fastened in position as desired, after which the post support apparatus is easily removed.

These and other features and advantages will become readily apparent from the following Detailed Description, which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a pictorial view of a post support and stabilization apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a pictorial view of a user lifting a post in preparation for setting it into a post support and stabilization apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 shows a pictorial view of a user setting a post into a post support and stabilization apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows a pictorial view of a user affixing and stabilizing a post with a post support and stabilization apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 shows a pictorial view of a post supported and stabilized using a post support and stabilization apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 shows an alternative pictorial view of a post supported and stabilized using a post support and stabilization apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention, showing an opening for removing the apparatus from the post.

FIGS. 7-14 show pictorial views of a post support and stabilization apparatus according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following description relates to certain exemplary embodiments of a post support and stabilization system according to the present invention. It will be readily apparent that numerous variations and modifications other than those specifically indicated will be readily apparent to those of sufficient skill in the field. In addition, certain terms are used throughout the discussion in order to provide a convenient frame of reference with regard to the accompanying drawings, such as “top” “bottom”, “upper”, “lower”, and the like. These terms are not intended to be specifically limiting of the invention, except where so indicated in the claims.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-6, a first embodiment of the present invention is shown. The invention provides in this embodiment a tripod specifically designed to serve as a dominantly temporary work support during erection of poles, posts, or similar vertical structures, for example. One typical application for the apparatus is a temporary support for a vertically aligned 6×6 post. When setting posts of this nature, it is often desirable to hold the post “plumb” while making “level” marks, particularly if cutting is later required before final setting, or to determine location of a cross member to be supported by post. It may also be desirable to hold post erect while attaching beams. It also serves as a bracing means to support a pole, for example, while a concrete footing support base cures.

Existing methods for holding such a work piece in place include one person holding work stationary while another person performs desired measuring or marking operations. This method requires two people which is an inconvenience when working alone. Another known method is to stake and brace the work piece in place. The bracing method is time consuming, involves additional materials (stakes, braces, fasteners), and is difficult to accomplish without the help of a second person.

The invention circumvents the problems associated with known methods. One embodiment provides a 3-legged device similar to a tripod with a ‘U’ shaped head bracket. Each leg is pivotally attached to the ‘U’ bracket. The legs of the tripod are not equally spaced, as with a conventional tripod, rather, one leg extends from the back of ‘U’ opposite the open end. Each of the other two legs are pivotally attached to the sides of the ‘U’ bracket adjacent the open end of the ‘U’. These legs extend diagonally out from there, leaving ample room for placing and removing the post to be supported. The pivotal attachment allows the legs to pivot independently to accommodate varying ground conditions or gradient about the post. The post need not be restrained at the base; a vertically elongated back plate, which extends above and below the back leg pivot point limits the ability of the post to rotate in the back plate plane. The legs need not be embedded into ground. In addition to optional spikes and non-slip pads, the leg bases optionally are tied to neighboring leg bases to prevent outward slippage. The legs also can be tied back to the post bottom to prevent post bottom movement. The length of connections between the post base and the legs may also be adjusted to change the post base position.

The head for this specific embodiment of the invention is shaped as a ‘U’ to allow a post to enter the bracket from the open end. Once the post is nested into the ‘U’ bracket, a thumb screw threaded into a side of the ‘U’ bracket is turned to pinch the post in the ‘U’ bracket against the opposite side. The apparatus is easily removed from the post after setting, via the open end of the bracket.

Means to lock the post into the ‘U’ shaped bracket include a thumb screw passing through one or both sides of the ‘U’ shaped bracket. A threaded rod or thumb screw at each side along with the back plate of the ‘U’ bracket will provide for 3-point contact to capture round objects. Optionally, any known clamping means can be used.

Optionally, numerous additional features increase the utility of the apparatus. For example, alternative post restraining means comprise a ratchet strap or similar tightening means to retain the post in the ‘U’ shaped bracket to accommodate various shaped posts to include round, square, rectangular or odd shapes. Optional feet are pivotally attached to the legs of the tripod with non-slip pads to allow for use over hard surfaces, such as concrete or rocky ground. The legs optionally are a fixed length or telescopic to adjust for various post heights and ground slope or condition. The sides of the ‘U’ shaped bracket can adjust to make coarse post width adjustments by means of a telescopic back plate, which is pinned at the desired width. Fine adjustment/tightening is accomplished by a thumb screw in the side plates, ratchet strap, or similar means. The post need not be tapered to tighten the ‘U’ bracket. Optional means for adjusting twist and/or vertical alignment of the post can be used, such as a second ‘U’ bracket, which engages the post within the first, where adjustments may be made to rotation and position of the second bracket relative to the first bracket, which is pivotally attached to the legs. Optional means of adjusting plumb or vertical alignment of the post include adjusting screws built into telescopic legs pivotally attached to the ‘U’ bracket.

Accordingly, it is to be understood that the embodiments of the invention herein described are merely illustrative of the application of the principles of the invention. Reference herein to details of the illustrated embodiments is not intended to limit the scope of the claims, which themselves recite those features regarded as essential to the invention.





 
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