Title:
Bracket for an offset fencepost
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An offset fencepost system including an offset bracket configured to enable an upper fencepost to be offset relative to a lower fencepost as the upper fencepost extends from the ground. In particular, the offset bracket may be configured such that a lower fencepost may be buried in the ground and terminate near the ground surface. An upper fencepost may extend upward from the ground surface and be supported by the lower fencepost offset from the upper fencepost. The upper fencepost may be positioned such that a longitudinal axis of the upper fencepost is offset relative to a longitudinal axis of the lower fencepost while the longitudinal axes remain generally parallel to each other.



Inventors:
Smith, Robert W. (Anderson, SC, US)
Application Number:
11/371440
Publication Date:
09/13/2007
Filing Date:
03/09/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H17/00
View Patent Images:
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Foreign References:
DE187243C
Primary Examiner:
AMIRI, NAHID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AKERMAN LLP (WEST PALM BEACH, FL, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An offset fencepost bracket, comprising: a first elongated plate having a first post receiver coupled to a first end of the first elongated plate and a second post receiver coupled to a second end of the first elongated plate opposite to the first end; a second elongated plate having a first post receiver coupled to a first end of the second elongated plate and a second post receiver coupled to a second end of the second elongated plate opposite to the first end; wherein the first and second elongated plates are positioned generally parallel to each other such that the first post receiver is capable of being attached to a first post extending in a first direction from the first and second plates and the second post receiver is capable of being attached to a second post extending in a second direction from the first and second plates that is generally opposite to the first direction; and a mechanical connection device coupling the first elongated plate to the second elongated plate.

2. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 1, wherein the first post receiver of the first elongated plate is curved out of a plane in which the first elongated plate resides.

3. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 2, wherein the first post receiver of the first elongated plate is semicircular.

4. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 2, wherein the second post receiver of the first elongated plate is curved out of a plane in which the first elongated plate resides.

5. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 4, wherein the second post receiver of the first elongated plate is semicircular.

6. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 1, wherein the first post receiver of the second elongated plate is curved out of a plane in which the second elongated plate resides.

7. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 6, wherein the first post receiver of the second elongated plate is semicircular.

8. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 6, wherein the second post receiver of the second elongated plate is curved out of a plane in which the second elongated plate resides.

9. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 8, wherein the second post receiver of the second elongated plate is semicircular.

10. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 1, wherein the mechanical connection device couples the first end of the first elongated plate to a first end of the second elongated plate.

11. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 10, wherein the mechanical connection device couples the second end of the first elongated plate to a second end of the second elongated plate.

12. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 10, wherein the mechanical connection device comprises at least one connector positioned proximate to the first receiver of the first plate.

13. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 12, wherein the mechanical connector comprises at least one connector on both sides of the first receiver of the first plate.

14. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 10, wherein the mechanical connection device comprises at least one connector positioned proximate to the first receiver of the second plate.

15. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 14, wherein the mechanical connector comprises at least one connector on both sides of the first receiver of the second plate.

16. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 1, wherein the mechanical connection device is a releasable connector.

17. An offset fencepost bracket, comprising: a first elongated plate having a first post receiver coupled to a first end of the first elongated plate and a second post receiver coupled to a second end of the first elongated plate opposite to the first end; a second elongated plate having a first post receiver coupled to a first end of the second elongated plate and a second post receiver coupled to a second end of the second elongated plate opposite to the first end; wherein the first and second elongated plates are positioned generally parallel to each other such that the first post receiver is capable of being attached to a first post extending in a first direction from the first and second plates and the second post receiver is capable of being attached to a second post extending in a second direction from the first and second plates that is generally opposite to the first direction; wherein the first and second post receivers of the first elongated plate are semicircular, and the first and second post receivers of the second elongated plate are semicircular such that the first and second plates may be used to be attached to cylindrical fenceposts; and a mechanical connection device coupling the first elongated plate to the second elongated plate; wherein the mechanical connection device comprises at least one connector in close proximity with the first post receivers of the first and second plates and at least one connector in close proximity with the second post receiver of the first and second plates.

18. The offset fencepost bracket of claim 17, wherein the mechanical connection device comprises at least one connector positioned on both sides of the first receiver of the first elongated plate proximate to a first edge of the first plate and extending to contact the second elongated plate, at least one connector positioned on both sides of the second receiver of the first elongated plate proximate to a first edge of the first plate and extending to contact the second elongated plate, at least one connector positioned on both sides of the first receiver of the first elongated plate proximate to a second edge of the first plate and extending to contact the second elongated plate, and at least one connector positioned on both sides of the second receiver of the first elongated plate proximate to a second edge of the first plate and extending to contact the second elongated plate.

19. A fencepost, comprising: a lower fencepost; an offset fencepost bracket attached proximate to an end of the first fencepost, the bracket comprising: a first elongated plate having a first post receiver coupled to a first end of the first elongated plate and a second post receiver coupled to a second end of the first elongated plate opposite to the first end; a second elongated plate having a first post receiver coupled to a first end of the second elongated plate and a second post receiver coupled to a second end of the second elongated plate opposite to the first end; wherein the first and second elongated plates are positioned generally parallel to each other; and a mechanical connection device coupling the first elongated plate to the second elongated plate; wherein the first post receivers of the first and second elongated plates are attached to the lower fencepost such that the first post extends in a first direction from the first and second elongated plates; and an upper fencepost offset from the lower fencepost such that the upper fencepost is attached to the second post receivers of the first and second elongated plates and extends in a second direction from the first and second elongated plates, wherein the second direction is generally opposite to the first direction.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to fencing systems, and more particularly, to fence support systems.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Fences are used for a variety of purposes including security, privacy, and containment of livestock, people, pets, and others. Fences often extend from side walls of houses or other structures. Typically, such walls sit on top of concrete footers that support the load of the walls and roof system resting on the walls. Footers can be formed in a number of configurations. In one configuration, footers extend laterally outside of a wall and interfere with installation of fenceposts, as shown in FIG. 1. In such a configuration, a gap is formed between the fence and the wall because the footer prevents the fencepost from being installed close to a wall. The gap is undesirable because animals and people can pass through the gap. In addition, the gap in the fence enables people outside of the fence to see through the gap in the fence. Thus, a need exists for system for positioning a fencepost in close proximity to a wall supported by a footer extending outside of the wall.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention is directed to an offset fencepost system configured to enable a fencepost to extend above a ground surface along a longitudinal axis that is offset from a longitudinal axis of a fencepost extending into the ground. The offset fencepost system may include an offset bracket that is capable of offsetting a longitudinal axis of a lower fencepost from a longitudinal axis of an upper fencepost while maintaining the longitudinal axes generally parallel to each other. The offset bracket may be configured such that the offset bracket may be used to position a portion of a fencepost that extends out of the ground, such as the upper fencepost, in close proximity with a wall in situations were a footer of the wall prevents a conventional single pole fencepost from being placed in close proximity with the wall, such as in contact with the wall.

The offset fencepost system may include an offset fencepost bracket comprising a first elongated plate having a first post receiver coupled to a first end of the first elongated plate and a second post receiver coupled to a second end of the first elongated plate opposite to the first end. The bracket may also include a second elongated plate having a first post receiver coupled to a first end of the second elongated plate and a second post receiver coupled to a second end of the second elongated plate opposite to the first end, wherein the first and second elongated plates may be positioned generally parallel to each other such that the first post receiver is capable of being attached to a first post extending in a first direction from the first and second plates and the second post receiver is capable of being attached to a second post extending in a second direction from the first and second plates that is generally opposite to the first direction. In at least one embodiment, the first and second post receivers of the first elongated plate may be curved out of a plane of the first elongated plate, and the first and second post receivers of the second elongated plate may be curved out of a plane of the second elongated plate. In one embodiment, the first and second post receivers of the first and second elongated plates may be semicircular in shape. In this configuration, the bracket may be attached to cylindrical fenceposts.

The offset fencepost system may also include a mechanical connection device coupling the first elongated plate to the second elongated plate. The mechanical connection device may be formed from at least one connector in close proximity with the first post receivers of the first and second plates and at least one connector in close proximity with the second post receiver of the first and second plates. The mechanical connection device may include at least one connector positioned on both sides of the first receiver of the first elongated plate proximate to a first edge of the first plate and extending to contact the second elongated plate, and at least one connector positioned on both sides of the second receiver of the first elongated plate proximate to a first edge of the first plate and extending to contact the second elongated plate. The mechanical connection device may also include at least one connector positioned on both sides of the first receiver of the first elongated plate proximate to a second edge of the first plate and extending to contact the second elongated plate, and at least one connector positioned on both sides of the second receiver of the first elongated plate proximate to a second edge of the first plate and extending to contact the second elongated plate.

An advantage of this invention is that a fencepost may quickly be constructed from two shafts to extend a fence into close proximity with a wall that rests upon a footer extending outside of the structure in the direction of the fence.

Another advantage of this invention is that the offset fencepost system enables an fence installer to save time, increase efficiency, save money, and become more versatile when compared to conventional welded systems.

These and other embodiments are described in more detail below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and form a part of the specification, illustrate embodiments of the presently disclosed invention and, together with the description, disclose the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a side view of a fencepost installed in the ground proximate to a footer according to conventional methods.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an offset bracket attached to upper and lower fenceposts.

FIG. 3 is a front view of a first elongated plate of the offset bracket.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the first elongated plate shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a front view of a second elongated plate of the offset bracket.

FIG. 6 is a top view of the second elongated plate shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a side view of the offset fencepost system installed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIGS. 2-7, this invention is directed to an offset fencepost system 10. The offset fencepost system 10 includes an offset bracket 12 that is capable of offsetting a longitudinal axis 14 of a lower fencepost 16 from a longitudinal axis 18 of an upper fencepost 20 while maintaining the longitudinal axes 14, 18 generally parallel to each other. As shown in FIG. 7, the offset bracket 12 may be configured such that the offset bracket 12 may be used to position a portion of a fencepost that extends out of the ground, such as the upper fencepost 20, in close proximity with a wall in situations were a footer of the wall prevents a conventional single pole fencepost from being placed in close proximity with the wall, such as in contact with the wall. Without the offset bracket 12, a conventional fencepost may only be planted in the ground a distance from the wall sufficient such that the fencepost does not contact the footer. Often times, this distance is sufficient for a person or animal, such as a dog, to leave or enter the fenced area through this gap in the fence.

The offset bracket 12, as shown in FIG. 2, may be formed from a first elongated plate 22 configured to mate with a second elongated plate 24. The plates 22, 24 may be formed from any material having sufficient strength to securely hold the upper and lower fenceposts 20, 16, such as, but not limited to, metals including steel, aluminum, galvanized steel and others, plastics including DELRIN, and other appropriate materials. The plates 22, 24 may be configured to be securely attached to two or more fenceposts, such as the upper and lower fenceposts 20, 16. The offset bracket 12 may include one or more fencepost attachment devices 26 usable to secure the upper and lower fenceposts 20, 16 to the offset bracket 12.

In at least one embodiment, the first elongated plate 22 may include a fencepost attachment device 26 formed from a post receiver 28. The first elongated plate 22 may include a first post receiver 30 offset along a longitudinal axis 32 of the first elongated plate 22 from a second post receiver 34. In one embodiment, the first post receiver 30 may be positioned at a first end 36 of the first elongated plate 22, and the second post receiver 34 may be positioned at a second end 38 of the first elongated plate 22 that is generally opposite to the first end 36. The first and second post receivers 30, 34 may be formed from any configuration facilitating the attachment of a fencepost to the offset bracket 12. In one embodiment, the first and second post receivers 30, 34 may be curved out of a plane in which the first elongated plate 22 resides. As shown in FIG. 4, in one embodiment, the first and second post receivers 30, 34 may be curved to such an extent that the first and second post receivers 30, 34 form semicircular shapes. Such a configuration may be configured to be attached to cylindrical fenceposts, such as conventional galvanized steel fenceposts. The first and second post receivers 30, 34 may be sized to receive standard sized fenceposts.

The offset bracket 12 may be formed in many different sizes to accommodate different sized fenceposts. The first and second post receivers 30, 34 may be sized differently to accommodate different sized fenceposts. In addition, the offset fencepost system 10 may include multiple offset brackets 12 in which the first and second post receivers 30, 34 may be the same size on a particular bracket 12, but each bracket has different sizes to accommodate different sized fenceposts, such as fencepost having nominal dimensions of 1 inch, 1½ inches, 2 inches, 2½ inches, 3 inches, 4 inches and others.

The offset bracket 12 may be configured such that only the first elongated plate 22 includes a post receiver 28 to attach fenceposts to the offset bracket 12. In another embodiment, both the first and second elongated plates 22, 24 may both include post receivers 28. As shown in FIG. 6, the second elongated plate 24 may include a first post receiver 40 and a second post receiver 42. The first post receiver 40 may be offset along a longitudinal axis 44 of the second elongated plate 24 from a second post receiver 42. In one embodiment, the first post receiver 40 may be positioned at a first end 46 of the second elongated plate 24, and the second post receiver 42 may be positioned at a second end 48 of the second elongated plate 24 that is generally opposite to the first end 46. The first and second post receivers 40, 42 may be formed from any configuration facilitating the attachment of a fencepost to the offset bracket 12. In one embodiment, the first and second post receivers 40, 42 may be curved out of a plane in which the second elongated plate 24 resides. As shown in FIG. 6, in one embodiment, the first and second post receivers 40, 42 may be curved to such an extent that the first and second post receivers 40, 42 form semicircular shapes. Such a configuration may be configured to be attached to cylindrical fenceposts, such as conventional galvanized steel fenceposts. The first and second post receivers 40, 42 may be sized to receive standard sized fenceposts.

The first and second elongated plates 22, 24 may be coupled together with a mechanical connection device 50. The mechanical connection device 50 may be formed from one or more connectors 52 extending between the first and second elongated plates 22, 24. In at least one embodiment, the connectors 52 may be releasable connectors such as conventional bolts sized to extend through holes 54 in the first and second elongated plates 22, 24. Conventional nuts may be attached to the bolts to tighten the bolts against the first and second elongated plates 22, 24. The holes 54 may be positioned in close proximity to the first and second post receivers 30, 34 and 40, 42 of both the first and second elongated plates 22, 24. The holes 54 may be positioned on both sides of the first and second post receivers 30, 34 and 40, 42 of both the first and second elongated plates 22, 24. In particular, the holes 54 may be positioned on a flange 56 at the first end 36 and a flange 58 of the second end 38 of the first elongated plate 22, and the holes 54 may be positioned on a flange 60 at the first end 46 and a flange 62 of the second end 48 of the second elongated plate 24. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 5, there may be eight holes 54 in each of the first and second elongated plates 22, 24 so that eight connectors 52 may be used. In each of the first and second elongated plates 22, 24, a row of four holes 54 may be positioned proximate to one edge 64 of the first and second elongated plates 22, 24 and another row of four holes 54 may be positioned proximate to a second edge 66 of the first and second elongated plates 22, 24 generally opposite to the first edge 64.

In one embodiment, the first and second elongated plates 22, 24 may have a thickness of about 3/16 inch, a length of about 14 inches and a width of about three inches. The first and second post receivers 30, 34 and 40, 42 of the first and second elongated plates 22, 24 may be positioned at opposite ends of each of the first and second elongated plates 22, 24. The first and second post receivers 30, 34 and 40, 42 of the first and second elongated plates 22, 24 may be positioned such that the longitudinal axes 14, 18 of the upper and lower fenceposts 20, 16 may be positioned between about four inches and about eight inches apart. In other embodiments, the first and second elongated plates 22, 24 may be configured such that the longitudinal axes 14, 18 of the upper and lower fenceposts 20, 16 may be positioned at distances less than or greater than the recited range.

The offset fencepost system 10 may be used to enable a fence 68 to extend to within close proximity of a wall 72 that sits on top of a footer 70 that extends outside of the wall 72. The offset bracket 12 may be positioned on an upper end 74 of the lower fencepost 16 and a lower end of the upper fencepost 20, as shown in FIG. 2. The offset bracket 12 may be securely attached to the fenceposts 16, 20 using the first and second post receivers 30, 34, 40, 42 together with the mechanical connection system 50; The system 10 may be installed by first determining the distance from the wall 72 to dig a hole into which the lower fencepost 16 is to be inserted. The hole may be dug, and the lower fencepost 16 may be installed in the ground. The upper end 74 of the lower fencepost 16 may terminate above or below the ground surface. The upper fencepost 20 may be positioned in the bracket 12 such that the upper fencepost 20 extends upwardly from the bracket 12 and in close proximity to the wall 72.

The foregoing is provided for purposes of illustrating, explaining, and describing embodiments of this invention. Modifications and adaptations to these embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art and may be made without departing from the scope or spirit of this invention.