Title:
Picket fence kit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A picket fence kit for a picket fence section includes an enclosure, a hollow post, a hollow top rail, a hollow bottom rail, and a plurality of pickets. The enclosure surrounds the post. The post surrounds the two rails and the plurality of pickets, and each rail surrounds a plurality of pickets. Pickets are axially aligned with each other in pairs, two rails are located side-by-side within the post, and two pairs of axially aligned pickets are positioned side-by-side within a rail. The post further surrounds a pair of axially aligned pickets not surrounded by a rail. The kit further includes a post cap, a shipping cap, a plurality of picket caps, a set of rail brackets and a set of self-tapping screws. A picket fence kit for a for a picket fence gate includes an enclosure, a hollow post, a first gate upright, a second gate upright, a hollow top rail, a hollow bottom rail, and a plurality of pickets. The enclosure surrounds the post. The post surrounds the first gate upright, the second gate upright, the hollow top rail, the hollow bottom rail, and the plurality of pickets.



Inventors:
Mulgrew, Paul (Topsfield, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/999904
Publication Date:
07/31/2008
Filing Date:
12/08/2007
Assignee:
Northeastern Fence & Supply Corporation
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
256/59
International Classes:
E04H17/24; E04H17/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
POON, ROBERT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEE PATENT SERVICES (STONEHAM, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A picket fence kit comprising an enclosure, a hollow post, a hollow top rail, a hollow bottom rail, and a plurality of pickets; wherein the enclosure surrounds the post; and wherein the post surrounds the two rails and a plurality of pickets.

2. A picket fence kit according to claim 1 for a picket fence section, wherein at least one rail surrounds a plurality of pickets.

3. A picket fence kit according to claim 1 for a picket fence section, wherein two pickets are axially aligned with each other.

4. A picket fence kit according to claim 1 for a picket fence section, wherein the two rails are located side-by-side within the post.

5. A picket fence kit according to claim 1 for a picket fence section, wherein at least one rail surrounds two pairs of axially aligned pickets, and wherein the two pairs of axially aligned pickets are positioned side-by-side within the at least one rail.

6. A picket fence kit according to claim 1 for a picket fence section, wherein the post surrounds at least one picket not surrounded by a rail.

7. A picket fence kit according to claim 1 for a picket fence section, wherein the enclosure includes a protective sheet having at least one closed end.

8. A picket fence kit according to claim 7 for a picket fence section, further comprising a label, wherein the protective sheet includes a transparent region through which the label may be viewed.

9. A picket fence kit according to claim 1 for a picket fence section, further comprising a post cap attached to an end of the post.

10. A picket fence kit according to claim 9 for a picket fence section, further comprising a shipping cap, wherein the post cap and the shipping cap are fixedly attached to the post.

11. A picket fence kit according to claim 1 for a picket fence section, further comprising a plurality of picket caps, each picket cap attached to the top end of a picket.

12. A picket fence kit according to claim 1 for a picket fence section, further comprising a set of miscellaneous components located within the enclosure.

13. A picket fence kit according to claim 12, wherein the miscellaneous components include a set of rail brackets and a set of self-tapping screws.

14. A picket fence kit according to claim 1 for a picket fence section, wherein the post is a routed post.

15. A picket fence kit according to claim 1 for a picket fence section, wherein the top rail contains at least three pickets, and the bottom rail contains at least four pickets.

16. A picket fence kit according to claim 1 for a picket fence gate, further comprising a first gate upright and a second gate upright, wherein the post surrounds the first gate upright and the second gate upright.

17. A picket fence kit according to claim 16 for a picket fence gate, wherein the second gate upright is axially aligned with the first gate upright.

18. A picket fence kit according to claim 16 for a picket fence gate, wherein the first gate upright surrounds a first rail, and the second gate upright surrounds a second rail.

19. A picket fence kit according to claim 16 for a picket fence gate, wherein each rail surrounds at least one picket.

20. A picket fence kit according to claim 16 for a picket fence gate, wherein at least one gate upright surrounds at least one picket not surrounded by a rail.

21. A picket fence kit according to claim 16 for a picket fence gate, further comprising a brace, wherein the brace is surrounded by the post and is axially aligned with a picket.

22. A picket fence kit according to claim 16 for a picket fence gate, wherein the plurality of pickets is five pickets.

23. A picket fence kit according to claim 16 for a picket fence gate, further comprising two gate hinges and a latch, wherein the post surrounds the two gate hinges and the latch.

24. A picket fence kit according to claim 16 for a picket fence gate, further comprising a set of rail pockets and a set of self-tapping screws, both sets located within the enclosure.

25. A picket fence kit according to claim 16 for a picket fence gate, wherein the post is a routed post.

Description:

This application claims priority to co-owned, co-pending U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/898,033, filed Jan. 29, 2007.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates generally to the design and packaging of fence products for improved packing density. More specifically the invention relates to the design and packaging in kit form of a picket fence section or gate that includes a hollow post.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A typical installed fence includes a single fence gate and a plurality of fence sections. Picket fences are available in a wide variety of decorative styles, and are typically assembled on site to custom requirements because each job site imposes its own unique requirements. Accordingly, the number of fence part types and configurations available is very large, and the number of part mixes needed to build the whole range of specific fences is much larger still.

Fence parts are typically shipped palletized in boxes of parts of the same type, or as a mix of a few types. Shipping packs in boxes of parts of the same type (e.g., posts, or rails, or pickets). This simplifies the manufacturers' packaging task. However, this generally results in a low packing density which increases shipping and storage costs. It also creates the need to repack parts at intermediate distribution points along the distribution chain. Opening boxes and repacking the parts exposes the parts to greater risk of damage or loss by theft, at a series of distribution points. Repacking and restocking parts at wholesale or retail sales outlets increases the number of product identification codes, requires new labeling, and adds costs associated with distribution clerical activities.

Shipping a custom package based on the requirements of each job offers an opportunity to achieve high packing density, but only at the added expense of custom packaging by the manufacturer. Shipping custom packages to match end-user requirements complicates the manufacturers' packaging task, thereby causing long delivery times or unexpected delays or both. Shipping custom packages to match end-user requirements also requires a degree of integration in the distribution chain that is largely non-existent in today's distributor-dominated, world-wide marketplace, thereby adding cost.

Further disadvantages are experienced by the installer or the end-user, at least one of whom is required to order parts from a potentially enormous catalog of parts.

The consequence of these shortcomings is that the whole fence industry, from manufacturer to retailer, suffers at least some of the above cost and convenience drawbacks.

The end-user would generally prefer to buy a fence in kit form. So boxed or bagged single-section fences in kit form are now being offered. (See advertisement for “Structure PVC Picket Fence”, now offered by W&E International, LLC). However, while kits such as this address the demand for stand-alone, single-section fences, they do not address the system problem presented by the far more typical situation where the need is for a multi-section fence.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides a plurality of picket fence kits including picket fence section kits and picket fence gate kits. A given kit preferably includes all the parts needed to assemble a single picket fence section or a single picket fence gate. A typical installed fence includes a single fence gate and a plurality of fence sections. To support assembly of picket fences in a variety of styles, each picket fence gate kit is associated with a picket fence section kit of matching style.

Although most of the picket fences built from the kits are conventional picket fences, well known in the art, novel aspects of the kits provide significant commercial benefits.

A first group of novel aspects of the invention provides benefits in shipping, product tracking and stocking, to produce cost savings in a distribution chain. This first group of novel aspects involves multi-level nesting of fence section or fence gate parts. This multi-level nesting of pre-defined, size-related fence kit parts within a protective enclosure provides high packing density that reduces shipping costs. It also reduces the risk of damage or loss in shipping, and provides convenience in end-user transportation.

A second group of novel aspects of the invention provides kits for a wide variety of embodiments and configurations of picket fences based on a relatively small number of parts, each kit pre-packaged for point-of-sale retail display. The provision of a wide variety of embodiments and configurations involves the use of non-routed fence kit parts, rail brackets, and self-tapping screws for on-site customization, and a shipping enclosure designed for use in point-of-sale retail display.

A first preferred embodiment of a kit for a picket fence section, illustrated in FIGS. 1, 3-6, and 10, includes an enclosure, a hollow post, a hollow top rail, a hollow bottom rail, and a plurality of pickets, wherein the enclosure surrounds the post, the post surrounds the two rails and a plurality of pickets, and at least one rail surrounds a plurality of pickets. In this first embodiment two pickets are axially aligned with each other, two rails are located side-by-side within the post, and two pairs of axially aligned pickets are positioned side-by-side within a rail. The post also surrounds at least one picket not surrounded by a rail. The enclosure includes a protective sheet having two closed ends and a transparent region through which a label may be viewed. The kit further includes a post cap attached to one end of the post, a shipping cap attached at the other end of the post, a plurality of picket caps, each picket cap attached to a top end of a picket, and a set of miscellaneous components, including a set of rail brackets and a set of self-tapping screws, located within the enclosure.

A first preferred embodiment of a kit for a picket fence gate, illustrated in FIGS. 37-46, includes an enclosure, a hollow post, a first gate upright, a second gate upright, a hollow top rail, a hollow bottom rail, and a plurality of pickets, wherein the enclosure surrounds the post, wherein the post surrounds the first gate upright and the second gate upright, each gate upright surrounds a rail and a plurality of pickets, each rail surrounds at least one picket, two pickets are axially aligned, and the brace is axially aligned with a picket.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a line drawing showing a first embodiment of a fence section kit in side view and in end view, and showing a single fence section constructed from the kit.

FIG. 2 (prior art) is a line drawing showing a portion of an installed multi-section fence, the fence including a fence section constructed from the kit of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a line drawing locating cross section A-A of the kit of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a cross section view along the long axis of the post of the kit of FIG. 1, illustrating multi-level nesting layout of rails and pickets within the post.

FIG. 5 is a cross section view transverse to the long axis of the post, at cross section B-B, of the kit of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a cross section view transverse to the long axis of the post, at cross section C-C, of the kit of FIG. 4.

FIG. 7 (prior art) is a side view of the post cap of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 (prior art) is a top view of the post cap of FIG. 1.

FIG. 9 (prior art) is a bottom view of the post cap of FIG. 1.

FIG. 10 shows greater detail of FIG. 5 in the region of the post cap.

FIG. 11 (prior art) is a front view of a portion of the fence section of FIG. 1, showing attachment of top and bottom rails to the post using rail brackets, and showing penetration of pickets into the bottom rail and through the top rail.

FIG. 12 (prior art) is a front view of a portion of a fence section having a routed post, showing attachment of top and bottom rails to the post by penetration of top and bottom rails into the post.

FIG. 13 (prior art) is a perspective view showing penetration of a picket through the center of the top surface of the top rail.

FIG. 14 is a diagram that identifies directions used for identifying post and picket dimensions in the several fence section embodiments and fence gate embodiments.

FIG. 15 is a diagram that identifies directions used for identifying rail dimensions in the several fence section embodiments and in fence gate embodiments.

FIG. 16 (prior art) illustrates attachment of a rail to a post by a prior art rail bracket, the rail bracket supporting a rail.

FIG. 17 (prior art) is a front view, in partial cross section, of the bracket of FIG. 16.

FIG. 18 (prior art) is a side view of the base of the bracket of FIG. 16.

FIG. 19 (prior art) is a front view of the base of the bracket of FIG. 16.

FIG. 20 identifies post, rail and picket dimensions in a view corresponding to the view displayed in FIG. 4.

FIG. 21 identifies rail and picket dimensions in a view corresponding to the view displayed in FIG. 5.

FIG. 22 identifies post dimensions in a view corresponding to the view displayed in FIG. 6.

FIG. 23 shows a layout of rails and pickets within the post that is an alternative to the layout of FIG. 4.

FIG. 24 is a perspective line drawing showing one end of the kit of FIG. 1 with the enclosure and the post cap removed.

FIG. 25 is a partial cross section view transverse to the long axis of the body of an 8-picket fence section kit, illustrating the layout of rails and pickets.

FIG. 26 is a partial cross section view transverse to the long axis of the body of a 12-picket fence section kit, illustrating the layout of rails and pickets.

FIG. 27 (prior art) is a line drawing showing a portion of an installed multi-section scalloped fence.

FIG. 28 is a cross section view of a fence section kit for assembling the scalloped fence of FIG. 27, the kit including axially aligned pairs of short and long pickets.

FIG. 29 (prior art) is a partially cut-away line drawing of one section of a multi-section pool code fence assembled from a kit having 10 pickets per section.

FIG. 30 is a cross section view transverse to the long axis of a pool code fence section kit associated with the pool code fence of FIG. 29, illustrating the general layout of rails and pickets within the post.

FIG. 31 (prior art) is a partially cut-away line drawing of a portion of a Deluxe pool code fence assembled from a kit having 25 pickets per section, that uses a bracket for attaching a rail to a post.

FIG. 32 (prior art) is a partially cut-away line drawing of a portion of a Deluxe pool code fence assembled from a kit having 25 pickets per section, that uses a routed post for attaching a rail to a post.

FIG. 33 is a cross section view transverse to the long axis of a Deluxe pool code fence section kit associated with each of the Deluxe pool code fences of FIGS. 31 and 32, illustrating the general layout of rails and pickets within the post.

FIG. 34 (prior art) is a line drawing in perspective view of a top rail bracket included in a Deluxe pool code fence kit that uses brackets for attaching a rail to a post.

FIG. 35 (prior art) is a line drawing in perspective view of a bottom rail bracket included in a Deluxe pool code fence kit that uses a bracket for attaching a rail to a post.

FIG. 36 (prior art) is a line drawing in perspective view of a portion of the Deluxe pool code fence of FIG. 31 with the post cap removed, illustrating the shape of the top rail, and showing the rail penetrating the routed post.

FIG. 37 is a line drawing showing a first embodiment of a picket fence gate kit in side view and in end view, and showing a single gate constructed from the kit. The picket fence gate of FIG. 37 includes a post, two uprights and five pickets, the two uprights and the five pickets each having a height of less than half the height of the post. (The first embodiment of a picket fence gate kit is a seventh embodiment of the picket fence kit.)

FIG. 38 is a perspective line drawing of the main structural components of the picket fence gate kit of FIG. 37.

FIG. 39 locates cross sections A-A and B-B of the picket fence gate kit of FIG. 37.

FIG. 40 is a partial cross section view of the picket fence gate kit of FIG. 37 at A-A of FIG. 39.

FIG. 41 is a partial cross section view of the picket fence gate kit of FIG. 37 at B-B of FIG. 39.

FIG. 42 is a cross section view of a first end of the picket fence gate kit of FIG. 37.

FIG. 43 is a cross section view of a second end of the picket fence gate kit of FIG. 37.

FIG. 44 illustrates attachment of a picket fence gate rail to a picket fence gate upright using one of the four picket fence gate rail pockets identified in FIG. 37.

FIG. 45 is a partially cut-away front view of a picket fence gate rail pocket attached to a post in the assembled picket fence gate of FIG. 37.

FIG. 46 is a side view of a picket fence gate rail pocket attached to a post in the assembled picket fence gate of FIG. 37.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

First Embodiment—Picket Fence Section Kit

A first preferred embodiment of a picket fence section kit is shown at the top of FIG. 1, in side view and in end view, as picket fence section kit 10. A picket fence section built from kit 10, and having ten pickets, is illustrated at the bottom of FIG. 1 as picket fence section 20. Picket fence section kit 10 is one component of a fence parts distribution system.

Enclosure 19, identified in the side and end views of kit 10, contains and protects all the parts of the kit. The side and end views of kit 10 show two heat-sealed end-tabs, end-tabs 26, of a preferred embodiment of enclosure 19. Enclosure 19 also contains, protects and displays label 29. Label 29 displays product identity data and other data useful for shelf display of the kit in a retailer's store.

FIG. 2 shows assembled fence section 20 as one section of an installed multi-section fence, each fence section having ten pickets. Fence section post 11 has a height of approximately eight feet. The bottom end of post 11 is shown encased in concrete footing 31, which is buried in earth 32.

Kit 10 is a packaged kit of parts for assembling a picket fence section 20. The structural parts contained in kit 10, from which picket fence section 20 is to be assembled, are designed and sized to achieve several benefits in shipping, distribution, sale and use. These benefits include high package density, low shipping costs, low number of different prefabricated part types to satisfy a wide range of fence configuration needs, low risk of parts loss or damage in distribution, and convenience in storage, point-of-sale display, and end-user transportation.

Kit 10 comprises a set of parts in an enclosure that contains the parts, protects the parts from loss, to a limited extent protects the parts from damage, and facilitates display of identification and other data needed in the distribution process.

The kit, as packaged, is designed to provide multiple distribution benefits, including reduction of distribution, stocking and sales-related costs, and better protection of the product in transit. Distribution benefits are achieved in part by nested placement of the prefabricated fence parts within the enclosure (i.e., the shipping container), and in part by definition of dimensional relationships among the prefabricated fence parts of the kit.

The kit is also designed to provide various convenience benefits for point-of-sale display. Point-of-sale display benefits are derived from the compact packaging of a kit in a shipping container suitable for retail point-of-sale display.

The kit is also designed to provide a degree of size and shape customization during on-site assembly. Customization is provided by the use of a bracket for mounting a rail to a post that does not require routing the post or providing pre-drilled holes in the post.

In a first preferred embodiment the kit includes an enclosure, a single hollow post, top and bottom hollow rails, a plurality of pickets, and hardware. The rails, the pickets, the brackets and miscellaneous hardware are all packed within the single hollow post.

For picket fence section 20 shown in FIG. 1, kit 10 includes enclosure 19, one hollow post 11, one hollow top rail 12, one hollow bottom rail 14, a plurality of pickets 13, rail brackets 21, 22, 33 and 34, and miscellaneous hardware. The kit is structured such that the enclosure surrounds the post, the post surrounds the two rails and the attachment hardware, each rail surrounds a plurality of pickets, and the post surrounds at least one picket not surrounded by a rail.

In a preferred embodiment, enclosure 19 is formed as a tough, transparent tubular sheet of plastic material sized to fit over the post. In one preferred embodiment, making the kit includes placing the rails, the pickets, the rail brackets and miscellaneous hardware inside the post, then pulling a tubular sheet over the post to cover both ends, and then sealing both ends of the sheet. Sealing the sheet includes flattening and folding the sheet, then heat-sealing the sheet to form end-tabs that close both ends of the enclosure. Enclosure 19 is not limited to this material or this method of construction. Alternatively, enclosure 19 include packing the kit in a cardboard box, or wrapping the kit in two shrink-wrap plastic sheets of electro-static wrap, one at each end of the post, or fixedly attaching a post cap at the top end of the post and a shipping cap at the bottom end of the post to form a rigid enclosure, or by providing a post cap fixedly attached to the top end of the post, and providing a removable shipping cap attached by adhesive tape to the bottom end of the post.

In a preferred embodiment, the kit also includes a label located between enclosure 19 and the post 11. In this embodiment, enclosure 19 includes a transparent region through which the label may be read.

In a preferred embodiment, post 11 includes a first post cap 15 attached at a first end of the post, preferably an internal cap fixedly attached to the post with glue, and a shipping cap 16 attached at the second end of the post. Shipping cap 16 may be a removable post cap to facilitate unpacking the rails and the pickets, or it may be attached with glue to better contain and protect the rails and the pickets during shipping. In the latter case, the end-user would cut the post just short of the shipping cap to allow the rails and the pickets to be unpacked. In a preferred embodiment, each picket includes a picket cap 17 attached to a top end of the picket.

FIG. 4 shows a multi-level nesting layout of rails 12 and 14 and pickets 13 within post 11 of a first preferred embodiment of 10-picket fence section kit 10. FIG. 4 also shows a bag of miscellaneous components 28, and product identifier label 29. The bag of miscellaneous components contains four rail brackets 21, 22, 33 and 34 and their associated white-cap, self-threading screws. FIG. 4 is a view along the long axis of the post, at cross section A-A of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 shows a multi-level nesting layout of rails 12 and 14 and pickets 13 within post 11 of a first preferred embodiment of 10-picket fence section kit 10. FIG. 5 is a view transverse to the long axis of the post, at cross section B-B of FIG. 4. FIG. 5 further shows pairs of pickets 13 aligned lengthwise end-to-end, two pairs enclosed within rail 12, and two pairs enclosed within rail 14.

FIG. 6 shows a multi-level nesting layout of rails 12 and 14 and pickets 13 within post 11 of a first preferred embodiment of 10-picket fence section kit 10. FIG. 6 is a view transverse to the long axis of the post, at cross section C-C of FIG. 4. FIG. 6 further shows one pair of pickets 13 enclosed within the post but not enclosed within a rail.

FIGS. 7-9 show detail of post cap 15. FIG. 7 is a side view. FIG. 8 is a top view. FIG. 9 is a bottom view.

FIG. 10 shows greater detail of FIG. 5 in the region of post cap 15. FIG. 10 shows detail of enclosure 19 fitted around an end of post 11 and shows detail of one folded and sealed end-tab 26.

FIG. 11 is a front view of a portion of the fence section of FIG. 1. The end of top rail 12 and the end of bottom rail 14 are shown attached to post 11 by prior art rail brackets 21 and 22, respectively. Bottom end 23 of picket 13 is shown penetrating into, but not completely through, bottom rail 14. Picket 13 is shown passing completely through the upper and lower surfaces of top rail 12.

FIG. 12 is a front view of a portion of a prior art fence section having a routed post 27, showing attachment of top and bottom rails to the post by penetration of top and bottom rails into the post. The top and bottom rails are supported by ends 24 and 25 penetrating into post 11.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view showing penetration of a picket through the upper surface of the top rail. FIGS. 14 and 15 are first and second diagrams that specify letter codes used for coding post, rail, and picket dimensions in the several fence section embodiments and fence gate embodiments. FIGS. 14 and 15 also specify letter codes used for coding directions, as understood from the perspective drawing of FIG. 13, of the elongated structural parts.

In a preferred embodiment, each rail is preferably attached to its post by a rail bracket, as indicated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 11. Each of the four rail brackets, 21, 22, 33 and 34 of FIGS. 1 and 2, is adapted to attach to a post using a rail bracket. FIG. 16 shows rail bracket 21 attached to post 11 by bracket attachment screws 53 and 54, and top rail 12 attached to rail bracket 21 by rail locking screw 55 passing through holes 56 and 57. FIG. 17 is a front view of first rail bracket 21, showing top rail 12 supported by first rail bracket 21. FIG. 18 is a cross section view of bracket 21, showing holes 56 and 57. FIG. 19 is a front view of first rail bracket 21 showing inwardly tapered peripheral edge 59. Suitable rail brackets are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,788,224, issued Aug. 4, 1998. U.S. Pat. No. 5,788,224 is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

Multi-level nesting of the elongated structural components in the fence section kit of FIG. 1 imposes dimensional limitations on the depth, width, height, and length of these components. For the discussion below of these limitations, FIGS. 20-22 identify dimensions associated with the several limitations.

Dimensions associated with depth and width limitations are identified in FIG. 20. FIG. 20 identifies selected dimensions of the post, the two rails and the pickets in a view corresponding to the view displayed in FIG. 4. In FIGS. 20-22 (and also in FIG. 23) “H” denotes height, “D” denotes depth, “W” denotes width, “L” denotes length, “E” denotes external dimension for post, rail and picket, and “I” denotes internal dimensions of post 11, rails 12 and 14, and pickets 13.

Limitations revealed in FIG. 20, limitations associated with depth and width, are as follows.

1) The external depth 12-ED of rail 12 plus the external depth 14-ED of rail 14 must be less than the internal width 11-IW of post 11.

2) The external height 12-EH of rail 12 plus the external depth 13-ED of one picket must be less than the internal depth 11-ID of post 11.

3) The external depth 13-ED of one picket must be less than half the internal depth 12-ID of one rail.

Dimensions associated with height and length limitations are identified in FIGS. 21 and 22. FIG. 21 identifies picket external height 13-EH and rail length 12-EL in a view corresponding to the view displayed in FIG. 5. FIG. 22 identifies post internal height dimension 11-IH, in a view corresponding to the view displayed in FIG. 6. In a preferred embodiment of a fence section kit wherein each picket has an attached internal picket cap, the external height 13-EH of picket 13 is equal to the height of picket 13 plus the added height of the external portion of picket cap 17.

In a preferred embodiment of a fence section kit wherein the post has two attached internal post caps, and wherein the kit has post and rail dimensions as specified in Table 1 below, the two rails will not be a tight fit within the post. So the walls of the cap will not reduce the effective internal height of post 11. Accordingly, 11-IH, the effective internal height of the post (with its post cap 15 attached and with its shipping cap 16 attached) is equal to the height of post 11.

Limitations revealed in FIGS. 21 and 22, limitations associated with height and length, are as follows.

1) The external length 12-TRL of rail 12 must be less than the internal height 11-IH of post 11.

2) The external height 13-EH of a pair of axially aligned pickets must be less than the internal height 11 Joanne-IH of post 11.

FIG. 23 shows kit 30 having a layout of rails and pickets within the post that is an alternative to the layout of FIGS. 4 and 20. The width/depth orientation of the post in FIG. 23 is at 90° to its orientation in FIGS. 4 and 20.

FIG. 24 is a perspective line drawing showing one end of the kit of FIG. 1 with the enclosure and the post cap removed.

Table 1 gives selected dimensions of the main components of the first preferred embodiment of the picket fence section described above, and as shown in FIGS. 1-20.

TABLE 1
ItemItemDimensionHeightWidthDepthWall
NameNo.Qty.IDInchesInchesInchesInches
Post11111-EH84550.150
with 2
caps
Top rail12112-TRL3.535.7520.110
Picket131013-EH3437/80.070
w/spade
cap
Bottom14114-BRL3.535.7520.110
rail

Second Embodiment—Fence Section Kit with Eight Pickets

A second embodiment of a picket fence section kit is illustrated in FIG. 25 as picket fence section kit 37 having eight pickets. FIG. 25 is a partial cross section view transverse to the long axis of the body of kit 37 The eight pickets are aligned lengthwise end-to-end in four pairs.

Third Embodiment—Fence Section Kit with Twelve Pickets

A third embodiment of a picket fence section kit is illustrated in FIG. 26 as picket fence section kit 38 having twelve pickets aligned lengthwise end-to-end in six pairs. FIG. 26 is a partial cross section view transverse to the long axis of the body of a twelve picket fence section kit, illustrating the layout of the rails and pickets within the post. FIG. 26 shows post 11, top rail 12, bottom rail 14, and six of the twelve pickets 13.

Fourth Embodiment—Scallop Picket Fence Section Kit

FIG. 27 shows a portion of a prior art multi-section scallop picket fence 40. Fence 40 includes a row of ten scallop pickets including short pickets and long pickets.

FIG. 28 shows, in cross section view, scallop picket fence section kit 50 for constructing fence 40. Kit 50 includes post 41, top rail 42, bottom rail 43, ten pickets including short picket 51 and long picket 52, post cap 45 and picket cap 47. Kit 40 includes axially aligned pairs of pickets, each pair having one short picket axially aligned with one long picket. In kit 40 such axially aligned pairs of pickets are located within the top and bottom rails. Kit 50 further includes four rail brackets 48.

In a variant of the fourth embodiment, the four brackets 48 are omitted and post 41 is a routed post.

Fifth Embodiment—Pool Code Picket Fence Section Kit

FIG. 29 shows a pool code picket fence section 60 having ten pickets. Pool code picket fence section 60 is built from a fifth embodiment of the pool code fence section kit. FIG. 30 is a cross section view of the kit, transverse to its long axis. FIG. 30 shows the major structural parts of the kit, including one hollow post 61, one hollow top rail 62, one hollow bottom rail 64, a plurality of pickets 63, and an aluminum J-channel stiffener 68. Kit 60 further includes two top rail brackets 66 and two bottom rail brackets 67. In a variant of the fifth embodiment, the four brackets are omitted and post 61 is a routed post.

Sixth Embodiment—Deluxe Pool Code Picket Fence Section Kit

FIG. 31 shows a Deluxe pool code picket fence section 70 having twenty-five pickets. Fence section 70 is built from a sixth embodiment of the picket fence section kit. FIG. 33 is a cross section view of the Deluxe pool code picket fence section kit of the sixth embodiment, transverse to its long axis. FIG. 33 shows the major structural parts of the kit, including one hollow post 71, one hollow top rail 72, one hollow bottom rail 74, a plurality of pickets 73, a first internal stiffener 81, a second internal stiffener 82, and a structural beam 83 (preferably an aluminum H-channel). The Deluxe pool code picket fence section kit further includes two top rail brackets 77 and two bottom rail brackets 78. Top rail bracket 77 and bottom rail bracket 78 are illustrated in FIGS. 34 and 35 respectively.

FIG. 36 illustrates a variant of the kit of the sixth embodiment, for constructing a Deluxe pool code picket fence section wherein the four brackets are omitted and post 71 is a routed post. FIG. 36 provides a perspective view of the top of the fence section 90 with its post cap removed to reveal the top of routed post 91, top rail 92 penetrating the post, and the shape of the top rail. The cross section view of FIG. 33 remains applicable to this variant of the sixth embodiment.

Seventh Embodiment—Picket Fence Gate Kit

A first preferred embodiment of a picket fence gate kit is shown at the top of FIG. 37, in side view and in end view, as picket fence gate kit 110. A picket fence gate 120 built from kit 110 is shown at the bottom of FIG. 37 as having five pickets and a brace. Picket fence gate kit 110 is a second component of a fence parts distribution system. A complete fence may be assembled using a plurality of fence section kits according to any of the above-described six embodiments and one or more fence gates using variations of the seventh embodiment.

Returning now to FIG. 37, enclosure 119, identified in the side and end views of kit 110, contains and protects all the parts of the kit. The side and end views of kit 110 show two heat-sealed end-tabs, end-tabs 128, of a preferred embodiment of enclosure 119. Enclosure 119 also displays label 129. Label 129 presents product identity data and other data useful for shelf display of the kit in a retailer's store.

FIG. 37 shows gate 120 having top and bottom rails 114 and 115 attached to uprights 112 and 113 by gate rail pockets 131-132 and 133-134, respectively. FIG. 37 also shows pickets 121-125 penetrating into top rail 114 and bottom rail 115.

The main structural parts of kit 110 are illustrated in perspective view in FIG. 38. The main structural parts are post 111, gate uprights 112 and 113, top and bottom rails 114 and 115, five pickets 121-125, and brace 126. Also shown in FIG. 38 are four rail pockets 131-134, post cap 135, and shipping cap 136.

Kit 110 also includes two upright caps 137 and 138, two hinges 141 and 142, one safety gate latch 144 having a gate stop 145 and a latch body 146, one striker, and miscellaneous hardware. The locations, in the assembled picket fence gate, of the upright caps, the hinges, and the latch are indicated in FIG. 37.

Miscellaneous hardware includes white-cap self-tapping screws 149 for attaching the rail pockets to the uprights and a tube of PVC fence glue 148.

The upright caps are similar in shape to the post caps illustrated in FIGS. 7-9, but are sized to fit uprights 112 and 113.

Rail pockets kit 140 includes a set of four rail pockets and a set of self-tapping screws.

Hinges 141 and 142 are conventional gate hinges. A suitable hinge is the Nationwide Industries NW096 Self-Closing Hinge. These hinges are available from Nationwide Industries at www.nationwideindustries.com.

Latch 144 is a conventional safety gate latch. A suitable latch is D & D Technologies Magna Latch, a safety gate latch. This latch is available from D & D Technologies at www.ddtechglobal.com.

FIG. 38 is a perspective line drawing of the main structural components of the picket fence gate kit of FIG. 37. As noted above, the main structural parts are post 111, gate uprights 112 and 113, top and bottom rails 114 and 115, five pickets 121-125, and brace 126. Also shown in FIG. 38 are four rail pockets 131-134, post cap 135, and shipping cap 136. Shipping cap 136 is not shown in FIG. 37 because an installed fence post does not usually include a bottom cap.

FIG. 39 locates cross sections A-A and B-B of the picket fence gate kit 110 of FIG. 37.

FIG. 40 is a partial cross section view of the picket fence gate kit of FIG. 37 at A-A of FIG. 39. FIG. 40 shows a multi-level nesting layout of upright 112, rail 114 and pickets 121-123 within post 111 of the picket fence gate kit of FIG. 37. FIG. 40 also shows upright 112, one picket 121 within post 111 but not within a rail, and two pickets 122 and 123 within post 111 and within rail 114.

FIG. 41 is a partial cross section view of the picket fence gate kit of FIG. 37 at B-B of FIG. 39. FIG. 41 shows a multi-level nesting layout of upright 113, rail 115, pickets 124-125, and brace 126, within post 111 of the picket fence gate kit of FIG. 37. FIG. 41 also shows upright 113, one picket 124 within post 111 but not within a rail, and one picket 125 and one brace 126 within post 111 and within rail 115.

FIG. 42 is a cross section view showing a first end of the picket fence gate kit of FIG. 37, the end corresponding to FIG. 40. FIG. 42, like FIG. 40, shows a multi-level nesting layout of gate upright 112, rail 114 and pickets 121-123 within post 111. Enclosure 119 is shown surrounding post 111, and closing the first end of the kit at first heat-sealed end-tab 127. Post cap 135 is shown fitted to the top end of post 111. Gate upright 112 is axially aligned with gate upright 113. Upright 113 is shown in FIG. 43. Returning to FIG. 42, the end of picket 122 is shown protruding beyond the end of each of pickets 121 and 123. Picket 122 is protruding because picket 122 is axially aligned with brace 126, and because brace 126 in the embodiment shown in FIG. 37, is necessarily longer than a picket.

FIG. 43 is a cross section view showing a second end of the picket fence gate kit of FIG. 37, the end corresponding to FIG. 41. FIG. 43, like FIG. 41, shows a multi-level nesting layout of gate upright 113, rail 115, pickets 124-125 and brace 126, within post 111. The end of brace 126 is protruding beyond the end of each of pickets 124 and 125 because brace 126 is axially aligned with picket 122 (shown in FIG. 42), and brace 126 is a little longer than a picket. Enclosure 119 is shown surrounding post 111, and closing the second end of the kit at second heat-sealed end-tab 128. Shipping cap 136 is shown fitted to the bottom end of post 111. FIG. 43 also shows rail pockets kit 140, hinges and latch kit 143 and tube of glue 148 enclosed by enclosure 119. Rail pockets kit 140 includes a pair of such hinges and a set of self-tapping screws. Hinges and latch kit 143 includes two hinges 141 and 142, a safety gate latch 144, a striker (not shown), and a set of self-tapping screws.

FIG. 44 illustrates attachment of gate rail 114 to upright 112 of FIG. 37 by means of gate rail pocket 131 and five self-tapping screws 149. FIG. 45 is a partially cut-away front view of gate rail pocket 131 attached to upright 112. FIG. 46 is a side view of the gate rail pocket of FIG. 45.

Table 2 lists selected dimensions of the main components of the first preferred embodiment of the picket fence gate, as described above and as shown in FIGS. 37-46.

TABLE 2
Di-Wall
men-Height/Thick-
ItemItemsionLengthWidthDepthness
NameNo.Qty.IDInchesInchesInchesInches
Post w/cap111184550.150
Gate Upright112137.75440.135
Hinge end
Gate Upright113137.75440.135
Latch end
Top rail11413.535.7520.110
Bottom rail1153.535.7520.110
Pickets121-50.070
w/spade cap125
Brace1261126-3937/80.070
BL