Title:
Spackling tool and spackling pan
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A spackling tool for applying spackling compound to sheetrock, the spackling tool includes a handle with a curved slot defined therein and a blade having a fixed edge secured in the curved slot of the handle so as to form a non-planar surface. The blade has a non-linear free edge disposed opposite its fixed edge. The spackling tool may be used on either butt or tapered joints for readily applying spackling compound over the taped joint and removing any excess without disturbing the finished edge of applied spackling compound. A spackling pan is also presented having at least one non-linear free edge for accommodating spackling tools having a non-planar blade with a non-linear free edge.



Inventors:
Uva, Edward C. (Burlington, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/809677
Publication Date:
12/04/2008
Filing Date:
06/01/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04G23/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060137271Sealing gaps between floor boards etcJune, 2006Plummer
20090100782DEVICE FOR CONNECTING AND INTERLOCKING OF TWO BASE PLATES, ESPECIALLY FLOOR PANELSApril, 2009Groeke et al.
20070137134STRUCTURAL WALL BUILDING PRODUCTJune, 2007Plagemann et al.
20050000182Grid frameworkJanuary, 2005Martin et al.
20100024320Arch StructureFebruary, 2010Kanner
20050115190Bracket for covered rain guttersJune, 2005Brown
20090272061Mounting apparatus for protective coversNovember, 2009Thompson
20040261344Contractors protection device and methods of manufactureDecember, 2004Gibney
20070175126Reinforced Cementitious Shear PanelsAugust, 2007Tonyan et al.
20020066242Anti-skid plate for a stairJune, 2002Hsu
20080307741Reinforcing BarDecember, 2008Comerford et al.



Primary Examiner:
BERRY, STEPHANIE R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Cheryl F. Cohen (Cherry Hill, NJ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A spackling tool comprising: a handle having a curved slot defined therein; and a blade having a fixed edge secured in the curved slot of the handle so as to form a non-planar surface, the blade having a non-linear free edge disposed opposite the fixed edge.

2. The spackling tool in accordance with claim 1, wherein the free edge is divided into a plurality of sections and terminating at opposite ends in a curved corner.

3. The spackling tool in accordance with claim 2, wherein the free edge comprises two substantially linear tab sections, wherein each tab section is disposed inward of each curved corner.

4. The spackling tool in accordance with claim 3, wherein the free edge comprises two non-linear intermediate sections, wherein each intermediate section is disposed inward of each tab sections.

5. The spackling tool in accordance with claim 4, wherein each intermediate section has a distance defined from substantially its center relative to an axis defined by the tab sections of greater than approximately 1/32 inch.

6. The spackling tool in accordance with claim 4, wherein the free edge comprises a substantially linear central section disposed between the intermediate sections, the central section being substantially parallel with the tab sections.

7. The spackling tool in accordance with claim 3, wherein the blade comprises two side edges, each side edge being divided into an upper section proximate the curved corner and substantially perpendicular to the respective tab section of the free edge; and a lower section proximate the handle disposed at an angle relative to the tab section of less than 90 degrees.

8. The spackling tool in accordance with claim 4, wherein the free edge comprises a central section disposed between the tab sections, the central section being displaced a predetermined distance relative to an axis defined by the tab sections.

9. The spackling tool in accordance with claim 3, wherein the central section is substantially linear and substantially parallel to but separated a predetermined distance from an axis defined by the tab sections.

10. The spackling tool in accordance with claim 1, wherein the slot has two terminating ends at least one of which is open and sized for receiving the blade therein.

11. The spackling tool in accordance with claim 1, wherein the slot has a predetermined distance as measured radially inward from substantially its center of length to an axis defined by its terminating ends of the tab sections of greater than 0 but less than approximately 1 inch.

12. A method for assembling a spackling tool including a handle having a curved slot defined therein and a blade having a fixed edge secured in the curved slot of the handle so as to form a non-planar surface, the blade having a non-linear free edge disposed opposite the fixed edge, the method comprising the steps of: deforming the blade when it is substantially planar so that it substantially conforms in shape to the curved slot defined in the handle; and securing the blade in the handle.

13. The method in accordance with claim 12, wherein the deforming step comprises sliding the substantially planar blade into one end of the curved slot defined in the handle.

14. A spackling pan comprising: a bottom panel; and at least one side panel having a non-linear free edge and an opposite fixed edge secured to the bottom panel.

15. The spackling pan in accordance with claim 14, wherein the non-linear free edge of the at least one side panel is divided into a central convex section disposed between two concave sections.

16. The spackling pan in accordance with claim 14, further comprising another side panel having a substantially linear free edge and an opposite fixed edge secured to the bottom panel, wherein each concave section is displaced a maximum predetermined distance relative to the substantially linear free edge of greater than 0 but less than approximately one inch, and at least a portion of the central convex section is substantially equal in height relative to the substantially linear free edge.

17. The spackling pan in accordance with claim 14, further comprising another side panel having a substantially linear free edge and an opposite fixed edge secured to the bottom panel.

18. A tool comprising: a single integral handle having a curved slot defined therein; and a blade having a fixed edge secured in the curved slot of the handle.

19. The tool in accordance with claim 18, wherein the fixed edge of the blade is secured within the curved slot defined in the handle via a friction fit without rivets, screws, adhesive or any other separate component.

20. A kit comprising: a spackling tool comprising: a handle having a curved slot defined therein; a blade having a fixed edge secured in the curved slot of the handle so as to form a non-planar surface, the blade having a non-linear free edge disposed opposite the fixed edge; and a spackling pan comprising: a bottom panel; and at least one side panel having a non-linear free edge and an opposite fixed edge secured to the bottom panel.

21. The kit in accordance with claim 20, wherein the handle is a single integral unit.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is directed to a spackling tool or taping tool for applying spackling compound, mud, or joint compound to abutting edges of sheetrock, wallboard or other substantially planar surfaces. In particular, the present inventive spackling tool allows experienced contractors and novice do-it-yourselfers alike to apply spackling compound to a joint quickly and efficiently with smooth clean professional results while readily removing any excess spackling compound without disturbing the finished edge.

2. Description of Related Art

During construction sheetrock, wallboard or drywall is secured to the wall studs. The edges of the sheetrock abut one another to form a joint therebetween. Thereafter, a layer of mud, spackling compound or joint compound is applied to the joint. A strip of tape, generally paper or mesh, is then substantially centered in the joint and the spackling tool is run over the surface to set the tape in the joint while smoothing out the spackling compound on each side of the tape with the spackling tool. Once the mud dries setting the tape to the sheetrock, thereafter spackling compound is applied to the top surface and sides of the tape to form a mound the side edges of which are feathered using the spackling tool to form a smooth finished edge.

Heretofore conventional spackling tools for applying spackling compound to a joint formed between abutting sheetrock panels have been designed to have a two-dimensional planar blade rectangular in shape forming a linear free edge with right angle corners. Sheetrock may be manufactured with two different types of edges, e.g., a tapered edge or a butt edge. The application of spackling compound to butt joints and tapered joints formed between abutting panels of sheetrock will now be described using a conventional spackling tool having a planar blade, linear free edge and right angle corners.

A tapered edge is just that, wherein the thickness of the sheetrock toward its edge is tapered or convex. When tapered edges of respective sheetrock panels are installed next to one another to form a tapered joint 200 therebetween the abutting tapered edges of the respective panels form a tapered joint recess 205 therebetween, as shown in FIG. 2a. Spackling compound is applied to the tapered joint 200 filling the joint recess 205. A strip of tape 210 is substantially centered over the tapered joint 200 and set into the spackling compound. Once dried, additional spackling compound is applied in the tapered joint recess 205. The dragging of a conventional spackling tool having a substantially planar blade with a straight, linear free edge along the planar surface of the sheetrock panels proximate the tapered joint recess 205 fills the tapered joint recess 205 with spackling compound 215 whose formed surface is substantially flush with the sheetrock panels, as shown in FIG. 2b. Since the spackling compound shrinks as it dries, the application of multiple applications of spackling compound may be necessary to achieve the desired planar completed finish when dry. Excess spackling compound 220 is forced out to the edges of the spackling tool and must be cleaned with separate passes of the blade on either side of the tapered joint without disturbing the finished edge 230.

The other type of wallboard manufactured with a non-tapered or butt edge is shown in FIGS. 1a and 1b. Spackling compound is applied to the butt joint 100 formed between abutting butt edges. A strip of tape 110 is then substantially centered in the joint 100 and the spackling tool is run over the surface to set the tape in the joint while smoothing out the spackling compound on each side of the tape with the spackling tool. Once the mud dries setting the tape to the sheetrock, thereafter additional spackling compound is applied to the tape 110 to form a mound 115 the side edges 130 of which are feathered using the spackling tool to form a smooth finished edge. With each repeated pass of the blade of the conventional spackling tool spackling compound is pushed back and forth in an attempt to feather out the edges 130 of the mound 115 while keeping the mound as flat as possible. Even experienced contractors find this process to be time consuming since it requires several passes of the blade. Excess spackle 120 is forced to the outside of the blade, and when removed, disturbs the finished edge 130 of the spackling compound mound 115 covering the tape 110 and butt joint 100.

It is therefore desirable to develop an improved spackling tool that solves the aforementioned problems associated with conventional spackling tools while reducing application time and thereby improving efficiency.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to an improved spackling tool and spackling pan that solves the aforementioned problems associated with conventional spackling tools.

An object of the present invention is to provide a spackling tool for readily achieving a relatively smooth surface of spackling compound applied over a taped joint with minimum swipes of the blade, while permitting the removal of any excess spackling compound without disturbing the finished edge.

In particular, the present invention relates to a spackling tool including a handle having a curved slot defined therein. A blade having a fixed edge is secured in the curved slot of the handle so as to form a non-planar surface. The blade has a non-linear free edge disposed opposite the fixed edge.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is directed to a method for manufacture of the spackling tool as described in the preceding paragraph. During manufacture, a force is applied to a substantially planar blade so that it substantially conforms in shape to the curved slot defined in the handle. Specifically, the substantially planar blade deforms to conform in shape to the curved slot defined in the handle. Thereafter, the blade is secured in the handle, for example, by friction fit, a releasable securing mechanism or a non-releasable securing mechanism.

Another aspect the present invention relates to a spackling pan having a bottom panel and at least one side panel having a non-linear free edge and an opposite fixed edge secured to the bottom panel.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

The foregoing and other features of the present invention will be more readily apparent from the following detailed description and drawings of illustrative embodiments of the invention wherein like reference numbers refer to similar elements throughout the several views and in which:

FIG. 1a is a side view of a prior art butt joint formed between two abutting non-tapered, butt edges of sheetrock;

FIG. 1b is a side view of spackling compound applied to the butt joint of FIG. 1a using a conventional spackling tool having a planar blade and a straight free edge;

FIG. 1c is a side view of spackling compound applied to the butt joint of FIG. 1a using a spackling tool having a non-planar blade and a non-linear free edge in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2a is a side view of a prior art tapered joint formed between two abutting tapered edges of sheetrock;

FIG. 2b is a side view of spackling compound applied to the tapered joint of FIG. 2a using a conventional spackling tool having a planar blade and a straight free edge;

FIG. 2c is a side view of spackling compound applied to the tapered joint of FIG. 2a using a spackling tool having a non-planar blade and a non-linear free edge in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3a is a front view of a first embodiment of the spackling tool in accordance with the present invention having a non-planar blade with a non-linear free edge;

FIG. 3b is a top view of the spackling tool of FIG. 3a;

FIG. 3c is a side view of the spackling tool of FIG. 3a;

FIG. 3d is a bottom view of the spackling tool of FIG. 3a;

FIG. 3e is a perspective view of the spackling tool of FIG. 3a;

FIG. 4a is a front view of another exemplary embodiment of the spackling tool in accordance with the present invention having a non-planar blade with a non-linear free edge;

FIG. 4b is a top view of the spackling tool of FIG. 4a;

FIG. 4c is a side view of the spackling tool of FIG. 4a;

FIG. 4d is a bottom view of the spackling tool of FIG. 4a;

FIG. 4e is a perspective view of the spackling tool of FIG. 4a;

FIG. 5a is a front view of a third embodiment of the spackling tool in accordance with the present invention having a non-planar blade with a non-linear free edge;

FIG. 5b is a top view of the spackling tool of FIG. 5a;

FIG. 5c is a side view of the spackling tool of FIG. 5a;

FIG. 5d is a bottom view of the spackling tool of FIG. 5a;

FIG. 5e is a perspective view of the spackling tool of FIG. 5a;

FIG. 6a is a front view of a spackling pan in accordance with the present invention for use with a spackling tool in accordance with the present invention having a non-planar blade and a non-linear free edge;

FIG. 6b is a back view of the spackling pan of FIG. 6a;

FIG. 6c is a bottom view of the spackling pan of FIG. 6a;

FIG. 6d is a left side view of the spackling pan of FIG. 6a, the right side view being a mirror image thereof;

FIG. 6e is a front perspective view of the spackling pan of FIG. 6a; and

FIG. 6f is a top perspective view of the spackling pan of FIG. 6a.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

The present inventive spackling tool having a non-planar blade with a non-linear free edge or top edge is more efficient and faster than conventional spackling tools having a planar blade with a linear or straight free edge while being suitable for use by both experienced contractors and novice do-it-yourselfers alike.

A first embodiment of the spackling tool 300 in accordance with the present invention is shown in FIGS. 3a-3e. This spackling tool 300 is used to apply spackling compound to butt joints. Spackling tool 300 has a handle 305, preferably an ergonomically shaped handle made from wood, plastic, hard rubber or any other rigid material. For ease of manufacture, the handle 305 may be manufactured as a single integral unit. A blade 315 is used to apply the spackling compound to the butt joints formed between abutting panels of sheetrock. Blade 315 is made of a flexible material, preferably metal, most preferably tempered spring blue steel, tempered spring stainless steel, or some combination thereof. To retain a predetermined amount of flexibility blade 315 is preferably in a range between approximately 0.015 gauge and approximately 0.025 gauge. The blade 315 is received within a crescent shaped or curved slot 350 defined in the handle 305. The slot 350 defined in handle 305 forms a curve so that a distance D1 as measured from substantially the center of the length of the slot 350 to an axis defined by terminating ends 355 of blade 315 is preferably greater than 0 but less than approximately 1 inch, most preferably approximately ¼ inch. The distance D1 remains substantially constant irrespective of the length of the blade. Slot 350, as shown in FIG. 3b, is open at one or both of its terminating ends 355. In a preferred embodiment shown in FIGS. 3a-3e, a fixed end of blade 315 is releasably secured within slot 350 via a friction fit without the need for rivets, screws, adhesive or any other separate securing mechanism. To minimize the cost of manufacture, prior to assembly, the blade 315 is preferably substantially planar. A force is applied to slide the blade 315 into the curved slot 350 through one of its open terminating ends 355 causing the blade 315 to deform or bend as it substantially conforms to a curvature as defined by slot 350 while forming a friction fit with the handle 305.

Other alternative releasable securing mechanisms such as a nut and bolt may be used to releasably retain the blade 315 within the slot 350 of the handle 305. Alternatively, blade 315, after being assembled in the handle 305, may be permanently affixed within the slot 350, for instance, using rivets, an adhesive material or other non-releasable securing mechanism. Another option that minimizes the cost of manufacture is to over form the handle. This may be achieved by forming projections such as dimples, fins or metal tabs on the handle that are received in complementary shaped holes or recesses defined therethrough or in at least one surface of the blade 315. During manufacture the molded projections of the handle 305 are received in the complementary shaped holes or recesses thereby securing the blade 315 within the handle 305 without the need for additional hardware.

In addition to its curved, non-planar shape, at least a portion of the free or top edge of blade 315 of the spackling tool, opposite its fixed end secured to the handle, is non-linear. Referring to FIG. 3a, the free edge of blade 315 is divided into a plurality of sections. Due to the curved, non-planar arrangement of the blade 315, during use its corners, if at right angles, would dig into the surface on which the spackling compound is to be applied. To prevent or minimize destruction to the surface on which the spackling compound is being applied, each corner 330, 330′ is curved.

Each section of the free or top edge of the blade 315 will now be described starting from the respective corners 330, 330′ and extending inward towards its center. Tab sections 335, 335′ of the free edge of the blade are substantially linear and substantially perpendicular to upper sections 325, 325′, respectively, of a side edge of the blade, described below in further detail. When the spackling tool is in use tab sections 335, 335′ of the free or top edge are substantially flush with the surface on which the spackling compound is applied thereby substantially removing any excess spackling compound from the area of sheetrock beneath these sections.

A central section 345 of the free or top edge is substantially linear and substantially parallel to tab sections 335, 335′ but separated by a predetermined distance D2, preferably greater than approximately 1/32 inch, more preferably approximately 1/16 inch, and most preferably approximately ¼ inch, from an axis defined by tab sections 335, 335′. When the blade 315 is passed or drawn over the tape, this central section 345 causes the spackling compound to form a mound having a substantially flat contour. The substantially linear configuration of this central section 345 minimizes or reduces possible mounding or rounding in the middle of the finish applied spackling compound. Central section 345 extends between inner edges of intermediate sections 340, 340′ a distance 380.

Interposed between the central section 345 and each of the respective tab sections 335, 335′ is an intermediate section 340, 340′, respectively. Unlike the tab sections and central sections, intermediate sections 340, 340′ of the free or top edge are non-linear, preferably curved, and thus not parallel with either the tab sections 335, 335′ or central section 345. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3a, intermediate sections 340, 340′ are curved (concave) to taper the spackling compound away from the outside edge of the tape used to cover the butt joint.

The total length of the free or top edge of blade 315 between the corners 330, 330′ is defined by a distance 360. This overall length 360 may be subdivided into three respective lengths or distances: (i) distance 375 of intermediate section 340 as defined between the inner edge of tab section 335 and the nearest outer edge of central section 345; (ii) distance 380 of central section 345 as defined between the outer edges of central section 345; and (iii) distance 375′ of intermediate section 340′ as defined between the inner edge of tab section 335′ and the nearest outer edge of central section 345. An inner length 365 represents the distance between the outer terminating ends of the intermediate sections 340, 340′ or the distance between the inner terminating ends of the respective tab sections 335, 335′. This inner length 365 represents the length of finished spackling compound applied to the work surface. It is contemplated and within the intended scope of the present invention to vary the inner length 365 to accommodate a wide variety of work surfaces. The outer terminating ends of the tab sections 335, 335′ produce the finished edge of the applied spackling compound, whereas the tab sections 335, 335′ wipe substantially free and clean from spackling compound an area of the sheetrock in which it comes into contact.

Each side edge of blade 315 is also divided into sections. Specifically, each side edge comprises a lower section 320, 320′ proximate the handle 305 and an upper section 325, 325′ proximate the free or top edge of the blade 315. Lower sections 320, 320′ of the respective side edges of the blade 315 are tapered or angled inwards towards the center of the blade. The tapering of lower sections 320, 320′ allows the blade 315 to flex to a substantially near planar shape during use when pressed against the planar surface to smooth out the spackling compound on a surface to which it has been applied. Upper sections 325, 325′ of the respective side edges of the blade 315 are disposed substantially parallel to one another and are substantially perpendicular to their respective tab sections 335, 335′. These upper sections 325, 325′ serve to maintain the overall shape of the blade 315 while permitting a sufficient amount of flexibility. In addition, upper sections 325, 325′ prevent or minimize the corners 330, 330′ from “flipping up” as the blade 315 is substantially flattened out when pressure is applied during use to smooth out the spackling compound.

The total length of each side edge of blade 315 between the fixed edge of the blade secured to the handle and the corners 330, 330′, respectively, is represented by a distance 385. Distance 385 is selected so that the blade 315 has a certain rigidity imparted from the handle 305, while maintaining a certain amount of flexibility when pressed against the surface on which the spackling compound is being applied. This overall length 385 may be further subdivided into two respective distances: (i) distance 390 of upper section 325 is defined between the corner 330 and the inner edge of lower section 320; and (ii) distance 395 of lower section 320 is defined between the inner edge of upper section 325 and the outer edge of lower section 320 mounted in handle 305.

By way of illustrative example, dimensions will be provided for a spackling tool 300 having a blade 315 whose free or top edge measures a distance 360 of approximately 10 inches. The table below represents a preferred range of values, and a most preferred value within each range for each structural feature:

  • Overall Length of Free Edge of Blade [Distance 360]: preferably approximately 10 inches
  • Length of each Tab Section 335, 335′ [Distance 370]: preferably in a range between approximately ¼ inch-approximately 1¼ inch, most preferably approximately ⅜ inch
  • Length of each Intermediate Section 340, 340′ [Distance 375]: preferably in a range between approximately 2¼ inches-approximately 4 inches, most preferably approximately 3⅜ inches
  • Length of Central Section 345 [Distance 380]: preferably in a range between approximately ½ inch-approximately 4 inches, most preferably approximately 2½ inches
  • Length of Upper Section 325, 325′ [Distance 390]: preferably in a range between approximately ⅛ inch-approximately 2 inches, most preferably approximately ¾ inch
  • Length of Lower Section 320, 320′ [Distance 395]: preferably in a range between approximately 1⅞ inch-approximately 4 inches, most preferably approximately 2½ inches

It is, however, contemplated and within the intended scope of the present invention to modify the length 360 of the free or top edge of the blade 315, as desired, so that its length 360 is greater than or less than 10 inches. When varying the length 360 of the free edge of the blade 315 the distance 375 representing the length of each intermediate section 340, 340′ will also vary. In a preferred embodiment, however, regardless of variations in length 360 of the blade the length of each tab section 335, 335′ [distance 370] and the length of central section 345 [distance 380] will remain substantially unchanged. It is also within the scope of the invention to vary the length of the side edge [distance 385] independently of the length of the free or top edge of the blade 315, as desired, which will vary the length of upper section 325, 325′ [distance 390] and length of lower section 320, 320′ [distance 395], accordingly.

Referring to FIG. 1c, during use tab sections 335, 335′ separate by a safe cleanable distance 125 the excess spackling compound 120 forced out from the curved corners 330, 330′ of the blade from that of the finished edge 130 of spackling compound so that any excess spackling compound may be readily removed without disturbing the finished edge 130 of spackling compound.

During use the spackling compound is applied to the spackling tool and applied to the butt joint. Curved intermediate sections 340, 340′ ensure that a tapered mound of spackling compound is formed over the tape with minimum swipes. Tab sections 335, 335′ glide substantially flush with the sheetrock surface on which the spackling compound is applied thereby pushing any excess spackling compound outward a predetermined distance clear of the finished edge 130 of the tapered mound 115 of spackling compound covering the taped butt joint. This predetermined substantially clean portion 125 of the sheetrock between the excess spackling compound 120 and the tapered finished edge 130 of the spackling compound mound 115 covering the tape 110 permits the user to readily remove any excess spackling compound 120 without disturbing the finished edge 130.

FIGS. 4a-4e show an alternative example to that previously shown in FIGS. 3a-3e, wherein central section 445 is substantially parallel to and displaced a predetermined distance D3 relative to an axis defined by tab sections 435, 435′ of preferably approximately 1/32 inch or greater.

Intermediate sections 440, 440′ are non-linear, preferably curved, and are separated a distance D4 defined from substantially its center to an axis defined by tab sections 435, 435′ preferably greater than approximately 1/32 inch, more preferably approximately 1/16 inch, and most preferably approximately ¼ inch. This alternative embodiment minimizes the mound of spackling compound while maximizing the distance between the finished edges 130 of the spackling compound in FIG. 1c.

FIGS. 5a-5e show yet another embodiment of the spackling tool in accordance with the present invention for use in applying spackling compound to tapered joints. Spackling tool 500 differs from that in the first embodiment shown in FIGS. 3a-3e along the free or top edge of the blade. Intermediate sections 340, 340′, as shown in FIGS. 3a-3e, serve to taper the spackling compound away from the outside edge of the tape covering a butt joint. When applying spackling compound to a tapered joint forming a joint recess there is no need to form a mound of spackling compound over the taped joint. Accordingly, in FIGS. 5a-5e, intermediate sections 340, 340′ have been eliminated whereby central section 545 extends between the inner edges of the respective tab sections 535, 535′ a distance 565 preferably of approximately 2 inches to approximately 18 inches. The distance 565 will vary, as desired, depending on the overall length of the blade. Central section 545 may be substantially linear and substantially parallel with but separated a predetermined distance D5 relative to an axis defined by tab sections 535, 535′, as shown in FIGS. 5a-5e. Distance D5 is preferably greater than 0 but less than approximately ¼ inch.

Alternatively, central section 545 may be non-linear, preferably curved, and separated a maximum distance D5 from an axis defined by tab sections 535, 535′, wherein D5 is less than D2 in FIGS. 3a-3e so as not to remove all the joint compound applied to fill the joint recess 205 formed at the tapered joint. In a preferred embodiment, D5 is preferably greater than 0 but less than approximately ¼ inch.

During use the spackling tool is dipped into the spackling compound and then applied to the tapered joint. If the central section 545 is substantially linear and substantially planar relative to tab sections 535, 535′ then the spackling compound will fill the joint recess 205 formed by the tapered edges of the abutting wallboard sheets so as to be substantially flush with the planar surface of the sheetrock. In the alternative design in which the central section 545 is curved then the spackling tool creates over the tapered joint a mound of spackling compound protruding slightly from the planar surface of the sheetrock. This extra mound of spackling compound is advantageous to allot for some shrinkage of the spackling compound when dried that otherwise would result in a concave rather than substantially planar surface that is substantially flush relative to the planar surface of the sheetrock. Referring to FIG. 2c, tab sections 535, 535′ separate any excess spackle 220 from the inside clean finished edge 230 that covers the tapered joint 200 and tape 210. As with the other embodiment, the region 225 of the sheetrock in which the tab sections 535, 535′ come into contact are substantially free from spackling compound thereby allowing any excess spackling compound 220 to be readily removed from the sheetrock without disturbing the finished edge 230 of the spackling compound applied to the tapered joint.

Due to its unique non-planar configuration it is desirable to remove excess spackling compound or mud from the blade of the spackling tool in accordance with the present invention using a uniquely designed spackle or mud pan 600, as illustrated in FIGS. 6a-6f. Mud pan 600 may be made from any desired material such as metal, plastic or even wood. Referring to FIGS. 6a-6f, mud pan 600 has two longitudinal side walls 605, 610, two lateral side walls 615, 620 and a bottom 665. The top of mud pan 600 is open to form a cavity 645 therein for capturing the excess mud or spackling compound when scraped off the blade of the spackling tool. Each longitudinal side wall 605, 610 is of sufficient length to accommodate the length of the free or top edge of the blade of the spackling tool.

Longitudinal side wall 605 is substantially planar and has a substantially straight, linear free edge 635 for scraping clean any excess spackling compound from the surface of a conventional spackling tool having a planar blade with a straight, non-linear free edge. Opposing longitudinal side wall 610 is substantially planar having a non-linear, preferably curved, free edge 625 for scraping excess spackling compound from the blade surface of a spackling tool in accordance with the present invention. Non-linear free edge 625 is divided into three sections: a central convex section 655 at least at a substantially central point is substantially the same height relative to the bottom 665 as linear free edge 635, wherein the central convex section is disposed between two concave sections. A substantially central point of each concave section being displaced a distance D6 relative to the linear free edge 635. In a preferred embodiment, this distance D6 is preferably greater than 0 but less than approximately ¼ inch.

The differently configured free edges 625, 635 of longitudinal side walls 605, 610, respectively, allow the mud pan in accordance with the present invention to be universally used with conventional planar spackling blades having a straight, linear free edge, as well as with non-planar spackling blades having a curved, non-linear free edge in accordance with the present invention. That is, linear free edge 635 is used to wipe clean a conventional planar spackling blade having a linear free edge, whereas the opposing curved, non-linear free edge 625 of the mud pan is used to wipe clean the curved, non-planar spackling blade having a non-linear free edge in accordance with the present invention. Despite the advantages and universality of providing a single mud pan having differently configured free edges, the linear free edge may be eliminated altogether so that the mud pan has two identical longitudinal sides 605, 610 each with a non-linear, preferably curved, free edge 625. In this alternative configuration another mud pan may be used to wipe clean conventional planar spackling blades having a straight, linear free edge.

Thus, while there have been shown, described, and pointed out fundamental novel features of the invention as applied to a preferred embodiment thereof, it will be understood that various omissions, substitutions, and changes in the form and details of the devices illustrated, and in their operation, may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, it is expressly intended that all combinations of those elements and/or steps that perform substantially the same function, in substantially the same way, to achieve the same results be within the scope of the invention. Substitutions of elements from one described embodiment to another are also fully intended and contemplated. It is also to be understood that the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale, but that they are merely conceptual in nature. It is the intention, therefore, to be limited only as indicated by the scope of the claims appended hereto.

Every issued patent, pending patent application, publication, journal article, book or any other reference cited herein is each incorporated by reference in their entirety.