Title:
Furniture and countertop edge molding attachment system and method for its use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An assembly and method for its use that provides a strong and efficient way of attaching a decorative molding component to a countertop unit or similar furniture piece. The countertop unit consists of a countertop core component with a countertop edge piece that is pre-attached to its unfinished edge before application of a countertop finish surface material. The countertop edge piece has a specially configured groove pre-cut in its bottom surface which in turn creates a wedge-shaped tongue. The decorative molding component has a unique “J”-shaped attachment side with a tongue and groove of its own that interlocks and wedges with the tongue and groove in the countertop edge piece portion of the countertop unit. The interlocking action of this assembly and methodology eliminates the need for clamping while still providing both a tighter fit between components and a precise method for adjusting and aligning component surfaces.



Inventors:
Fisher, Fredrick D. (Pensacola, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/807311
Publication Date:
12/04/2008
Filing Date:
05/29/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B96/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HIJAZ, OMAR F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Peter Loffler (Niceville, FL, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An assembly comprising: a countertop core component having an unfinished edge, an upper surface, and a lower surface; a countertop edge piece that is a generally rectangular member having a top surface, a bottom surface, a front face, and a rear face, with an angled first groove disposed in its bottom surface which in turn creates a downward facing wedged-shaped tongue between the first groove and the front face of said countertop edge piece; a countertop surface material covering both the upper surface of the countertop core component and the upper surface of the countertop edge piece; and a molding component as having a decorative front side with a top edge and a rear J-shaped attachment side with a flat back joining surface, an upwardly facing groove and an upwardly facing tongue.

2. The assembly as in claim 1 wherein said first groove of said countertop edge piece has a front wall that is proximate the front face of said countertop edge piece and said front wall being offset from perpendicular to said countertop edge piece bottom surface by an angle in the range of about 3 to 5 degrees such that a roof of said first groove is narrower than a mouth thereof.

3. The assembly as in claim 1 wherein said first tongue of said countertop edge piece is wedge-shaped with the wedge shape being created by the angled front wall of said first groove in said countertop edge piece which said first groove front wall also constitutes said rear face of the downward facing first tongue and said front face of said downward facing first tongue being a lower portion of said front face of said countertop edge piece itself and a tip of said first tongue being a forward remainder portion of said bottom surface of said countertop edge piece after said first groove is cut.

4. The assembly as in claim 1 wherein said first groove of said countertop edge piece has a rear wall that is proximate said countertop edge piece rear face and said rear wall is generally perpendicular in relationship to said countertop edge piece bottom surface.

5. The assembly as in claim 1 wherein said first groove front wall and first groove rear wall of said countertop edge piece are joined by a groove roof which is generally parallel to said countertop edge piece bottom surface.

6. The assembly as in claim 1 wherein the depth of said first groove of said countertop edge piece is substantially equal to ½ the sum of the height of the front face of said countertop edge piece plus the thickness of said countertop surface material.

7. The assembly as in claim 1 wherein said countertop core component is made of particle board, plywood, medium density fiberboard, solid wood or solid surface material.

8. The assembly as in claim 1 wherein said countertop surface material is made of plastic laminate, solid surface material, veneer, paint or varnish finish

9. The assembly as in claim 1 wherein said top edge of said molding component has its said decorative side meets a joining side such that said top edge can be made flush with said countertop surface material along its entire length.

10. The assembly as in claim 1 wherein said molding component has a generally J-shaped profile on its attachment side, said J-shaped profile comprised of: a flat back joining surface that extends down from said top edge for a distance that is slightly greater than the total thickness of the height of said front face of said countertop edge piece plus the thickness of said countertop surface material; and an L-configuration extending rearward from the lowest point on said flat back joining surface and then upward creating said tongue member having its faces parallel to said flat back joining surface and said upwardly facing groove created between said front face of said upwardly facing tongue and said face of said flat back joining surface.

11. The assembly as in claim 10 wherein said tongue member of said molding component extends upward slightly less than ½ the height of said flat-back joining surface and the width of said tongue member being substantially equal to the width of said first groove roof of said countertop edge piece.

12. The assembly as in 10 wherein the depth of said molding component upwardly facing groove is slightly greater than ½ the sum of the height of said front face of said countertop edge piece plus the thickness of said countertop surface material and the width of said upwardly facing groove of said molding component is substantially equal to the median width of said downwardly facing tongue of said countertop edge piece.

13. A method of assembling a complete countertop comprising the steps of: providing a countertop core component having a top surface, a bottom surface, and a front unfinished edge; providing a rectangular countertop edge piece having a top surface, a bottom surface, a rear face and a front face, said countertop edge piece having a groove with an angled front wall cut in its bottom surface such that said groove in turn creates a downward facing wedge-shaped tongue between the front wall of said groove and the front face of said countertop edge piece; providing a countertop finish surface material made from plastic laminate, veneer, solid surface material, paint or varnish; providing molding component having a decorative side, a top edge and a J-shaped joining side consisting of a flat back joining surface, an upwardly facing tongue and an upwardly facing groove; attaching said countertop edge piece to said countertop core component unfinished front edge so that the rear face of said countertop edge piece is in abutting relationship with said unfinished countertop core component unfinished front edge and the upper surface of said countertop edge piece is flush with said top surface of said countertop core component; applying the countertop finish surface material over the top surface of said countertop core component and the upper surface of the countertop edge piece such that the front edge of said countertop surface material is flush with the front face of the countertop edge piece; applying glue or adhesive to said molding component flat back joining surface, said bottom of said molding component upward facing groove and said top edge of said molding component's upwardly facing tongue; attaching said molding component to the front face of said countertop edge piece by lowering it enough to allow its flat back joining surface to be brought parallel to, and in planar alignment with, the exposed front face of the countertop edge piece and then raising the molding component so its upwardly facing tongue is inserted into the first groove of the countertop edge piece and simultaneously inserting the downwardly facing tongue of the countertop edge piece into the upwardly facing groove of the molding component; raising said molding component causing a wedging action whereby the angled back face of said countertop edge piece downwardly facing wedge-shaped tongue forces said upwardly facing tongue of said molding component back away from said front face of the countertop edge piece while simultaneously forcing the flat back joining surface of said molding component tightly against the front face of said countertop edge piece; and raising and adjust said molding component until its top edge is flush and aligned with said countertop finished surface material.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to the construction and attachment of decorative and/or wear-resistant edges to countertops and other similar furniture components.

2. Background of the Prior Art

This inventor's previous U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454 issued Feb. 5, 2002 which is incorporated in its entirety herewith by reference, describes an improved method of construction and attachment of decorative edges to countertops and similar furniture components.

While the method of construction and attachment provided by U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454 works well and represents a major improvement over the prior art, it does nevertheless require a level of machining precision that is not always available to the countertop/furniture fabricator in the field. In the case of the molding component itself, this problem is minimal since this molding component is generally pre-manufactured by a firm that produces the product in sufficient quantities to readily justify the investment in machinery that will allow for production of a consistent, strong and aesthetically pleasing product per the configuration described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454. Indeed this decorative molding art exists primarily because the production of many such edge pieces cannot be cost effectively done by those who fabricate and install countertops or other furniture components in the field—i.e., it is a specialty product.

The machining problem is more evident with regard to the preparation of the countertop core for receipt of the molding component. As described in detail in U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454, a specially configured groove is cut in the bottom surface of the countertop core. The groove in turn produces a downward facing, wedge-shaped tongue at the countertop core edge. If this groove is to be machined into the countertop core itself, then, it is done by the countertop fabricator or installer in the field and must be done in a manner that will be precise enough to allow for proper installation of the pre-manufactured decorative edge molding piece. While this machining operation is not particularly complex, it can be tedious or cumbersome for the typical fabricator or installer, given the length and size of countertop sections. Significant inconsistencies in this machining operation, will reduce or negate the advantages of the methodology described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454 and result in problems similar to those involved in earlier forms of the art.

Another problem that must be recognized, relates to the composition of the countertop core. In most cases, this core is composed of either a composition product such as particle board or of plywood. In either case, the wedge-shaped tongue produced by the groove required for attachment of the decorative edge component per U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454 may be weaker than necessary to withstand the pressure that is applied when the decorative edge molding piece is being installed. This may cause the tongue to break off the countertop core thereby defeating the advantages of the U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454 methodology.

It should be noted that the above described problem of countertop core strength only relates to the decorative edge installation process. If the groove is properly cut and adhesive is applied on each groove and tongue surface as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454, the countertop core will be an integral, functionally strong, unit once the adhesive has dried.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention corrects the above described problems associated with the installation and attachment of decorative edge molding when using the U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454 configuration and methodology by providing a separate pre-manufactured, countertop core edge piece. In the preferred embodiment, the countertop core edge piece is manufactured by the maker of the molding component thereby allowing for the matching of these pieces. These pieces are then provided as a set to the countertop fabricator or installer, thus eliminating the need for any related field machining operations.

Alternatively, in cases where the countertop edge piece is not supplied by the molding component manufacturer, it is much easier for the field fabricator or installer to properly machine this piece because the countertop edge piece as provided by the current invention is far smaller and less cumbersome than the countertop core component. Furthermore, since the countertop edge piece is seldom a visible part of the finished countertop/furniture product, it is possible to make it in lengths shorter than the length of the molding component itself without detracting in any way from the aesthetic quality of the finished product. These shorter countertop edge pieces are applied separately, with ends abutting one another, to the unfinished edge of the countertop core component further easing their fabrication and installation.

Regardless of the manufacturer of the countertop edge piece, it can be made from material, different from, and stronger than, that of the countertop core component. The material can be selected for its strength which prevents failure during the installation of the molding component.

Because of the features outlined above, this invention greatly simplifies and expedites the work associated with fabrication of countertops or other furniture components where the U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454 methodology is utilized.

The furniture and countertop edge molding attachment system and method for its use comprises a countertop core component, a countertop edge piece, a decorative edge molding component and the countertop surface material. In some cases, the countertop core component may also constitute the countertop surface material.

The countertop core component has an upper surface, a bottom surface, and an unfinished edge.

The method of the present invention involves 1) creating a separate countertop edge piece that is generally rectangular and has a top surface, a bottom surface, a front face, and a rear face. The countertop edge piece has a first groove with an angled wall cut in its bottom surface. This groove in turn creates a downwardly facing wedge-shaped tongue between its angled front wall and the front face of the countertop edge piece. The configuration of the countertop edge piece groove and wedge-shaped tongue are identical to those described in detail in U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454 except that they are machined into the countertop edge piece bottom surface and not into the bottom surface of the countertop core component.

The second step of the method involves 2) attachment of the countertop edge piece to the front unfinished edge of the countertop core component such that the rear face of the countertop edge piece is in abutting relationship with the unfinished edge of the countertop core component and the upper surface of the countertop edge piece is flush with the upper surface of the countertop core component. Attachment of the countertop edge piece to the countertop core component may be done in any manner that produces a strong bond as long as the attachment method does not obstruct the countertop edge piece groove or the countertop edge piece wedge-shaped tongue.

After the countertop edge piece has been attached to the countertop core component with their upper surfaces flush, the third step of the method involves 3) application of the countertop surface material as a single piece over the top of the countertop core component and the top surface of the countertop edge piece with the front edge of the countertop surface material being made flush with the front face of the countertop edge piece.

At this point, the unit created by the attachment of the countertop edge piece to the countertop core component and the application of the countertop surface material is equivalent to the countertop component upon completion of step 1) as described in the summary of invention for U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454.

The molding component as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454 is then attached to the countertop component by following steps 2) thru 4) as described in the summary of invention for that patent.

It is a feature of the present invention to provide a countertop or furniture assembly that is easier to fabricate and install with commensurate potential for improvement in aesthetic quality.

A significant advantage of the present invention is to provide a better fit between the molding component and the countertop component of decorative countertops and furniture by increasing the accuracy and reliability of the machining operations required for the attachment of the molding component to the countertop component.

A further advantage of the current invention is the increased ease of machining of the countertop edge piece because of its smaller, less cumbersome size when compared with machining operations on whole countertop core components.

A further advantage of the current invention is the avoidance of material failure by strengthening of the prepared countertop component through use of a countertop edge piece that can be separately fabricated from stronger material.

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the drawings, the description given herein and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective sectional view of a complete countertop assembly configured in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the current invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view showing the parts and construction of a countertop unit prior to installation of the decorative molding component.

FIG. 3 is a perspective sectional view of the countertop edge piece

FIG. 4 is a perspective sectional view of a molding component configured in accordance with U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454 and suitable for use with the current invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates the dimensional relationships between the component parts of the current invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates the attachment methodology for assembly of the molding component to the countertop unit when using the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates the completed countertop assembly of the present invention which is designated by the numeral 10. The countertop assembly 10 is composed of the countertop core component 20, a molding component 30 with a decorative face 35, a countertop surface material 40 and a countertop edge piece 50.

Referring to FIG. 2, the countertop unit 60 includes a countertop core component 20 made from any appropriate material such as particle board or plywood and having an upper surface 21, a lower surface 22, and an exposed unfinished side edge 23; a countertop edge piece 50 which is a generally rectangular member made from any appropriate material such as hardwood and having a top surface 51, a rear face 52, a front face 53, and a bottom surface 54; and a countertop surface material 40, whose front edge 41 is made flush with the front face 53 of the countertop edge piece 50 when the countertop unit is assembled. The countertop edge piece 50 has a groove 55 cut in its bottom surface 54 which is opposite the top surface 51 to which the countertop surface material 40 is bonded. The groove 55 runs parallel to the front face 53 of the countertop edge piece to which the decorative edge molding component 30 (FIG. 1 and FIG. 4) will be attached.

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective sectional view of the countertop edge piece 50 and the groove 55 cut in its bottom surface 54. The front wall 55a of groove 55 is not perpendicular to the bottom surface 54 of countertop edge piece 50 rather it is angled slightly in the range of 3 to 5 degrees so that it is closer to the front face 53 of the countertop edge piece 50 at its mouth (bottom surface 54 of edge piece 50) than it is at its roof 55b. In the preferred embodiment of the current invention, the rear wall 55c of groove 55 is perpendicular to the bottom surface 54 of countertop edge piece 50. Alternatively, in the second embodiment of the current invention, the groove rear wall 55a is not perpendicular to the bottom surface 54 of the countertop edge piece 50 but is also angled to make it parallel to the groove front wall 55a which is angled as described in all cases.

As can be seen in FIG. 3, creation of groove 55 in turn creates a downward facing wedge-shaped tongue 56 whose front face is the lower portion of front face 53 of the countertop edge piece 50 and whose rear side is the angled front wall 55a of groove 55 and whose tongue end is the remainder of bottom surface 54 that lies between groove 55 and the front face 53 of the countertop edge piece 50.

Note that FIG. 4 and its description are included herein for continuity and ease of reference only. The FIG. 4 molding component, and its description below, is identical to the molding component described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,454 and is not changed by the present invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective drawing of the molding component 30 including a decorative front side 35. There are many shapes for the decorative front side of a molding component. For example, some may be beveled on top with a flat face such as the one shown in FIG. 4. In other cases, the decorative side may be square or a full half round or some other decorative profile. Similarly, the finish surface of the decorative front side 35 varies. Examples include varnished wood, plastic laminate, or solid polymer. It should be recognized that neither the shape of the decorative front side 35 nor its finish are subjects of the current invention. What is important is that the top edge 36 where the finished side 35 meets the flat back joining side 37 is straight and well defined thereby allowing it to fit tightly against the front face 53 (see FIG. 2) of the countertop edge piece 50 while also allowing it to be aligned with the countertop surface material 40 during final assembly.

Referring again to FIG. 4, the core 33 of molding component 30 although shown as 3 pieces for clarity and definition, may, alternatively be milled from one or two pieces of material such as medium density fiberboard, solid wood or solid polymer.

As shown in FIG. 4, the joining side of the molding component 30 is a “J” shape consisting of a flat back joining surface 37 that extends down from the top edge 36 of the molding component decorative side 35 to bottom point 37a.

As FIG. 4 illustrates, a spacer piece 33a extends rearward from the lowest point 37a on the flat back joining surface 37 and serves to hold an upward facing tongue 33b away from the flat back joining surface 37. The faces 31 and 32 of the upward facing tongue 33b are parallel to the flat back joining surface 37. At the same time, spacer piece 33a also creates a groove. 38 above its upper face 39 and between the front face 31 of the upward facing tongue and the flat back joining surface 37. As can be seen, the groove is open at the top

Referring to FIG. 5, the height D5 of the flat back joining surface 37 of molding component 30 as measured from the uppermost finished edge 36 to the intersection 37a of the flat back joining surface with the top 39 of spacer piece 33a is slightly greater than the total thickness D2 of the countertop unit 60 unfinished front edge which equals the height of the front face of the countertop edge piece 53 plus the thickness of the countertop surface material 41. The spacer portion 33a of molding component 30 is rectangular and serves to hold the upward facing tongue 33b, which is also rectangular, away from and parallel to the flat back joining surface 37 of the molding component. The width D6 of the spacer portion 33a and the upward facing groove 38 it creates is substantially equal to the midpoint thickness D7 of the downward facing tongue 56 of the countertop edge piece 50. The width D4 of the upward facing tongue 33b is substantially equal to the width D3 of the roof 55b of downward facing groove 55 of countertop edge piece 50. The effective height D8 of the upward facing tongue 33b on the molding component 30 is slightly less than one half D2. The depth D1 of countertop edge piece groove 55 is substantially equal to one half the countertop unit edge thickness D2. Countertop edge piece groove 55 front wall 55a is at an angle “a” which is in the range of about 3 to 5 degrees from perpendicular to the bottom surface 54 of the countertop edge piece 50. In the first embodiment of the current invention, the rear wall 55c of groove 55 in countertop edge piece 50 is perpendicular to the bottom surface 54 of countertop edge piece 50. In the second embodiment of the current invention, rear wall 55c is parallel to the angled front wall 55a of groove 55.

FIG. 6 illustrates the assembly methodology for a complete countertop configured in accordance with the present invention. Prior to assembly, the countertop edge piece 50 has a groove 55 cut in its bottom surface as shown in FIG.3. The construction of the countertop unit involves attachment of a countertop edge piece 50 to a countertop core 20 such that the rear face 52 of the countertop edge piece 50 is in abutting relationship with the front edge 23 of the countertop core 20 and the top surface 51 of countertop edge piece 50 is flush with the top surface 21 of the countertop core 20. Attachment of the countertop edge piece 50 to the countertop core 20 may be by any means such as gluing, screwing, nailing, stapling or some combination thereof provided that the method of attachment is sufficiently strong and does not obstruct either the downward facing groove 55 or the downward facing wedge-shaped tongue 56 of the countertop edge piece 50.

After the countertop edge piece 50 has been attached to the countertop core 20, the countertop surface material 40 is then applied as shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 illustrates the configuration of the molding component and FIG. 5 provides additional dimensional relationships for the proper fitting of the components of the present invention.

When ready for assembly, a thin coat of glue or other adhesive with a reasonable open time, say 30 minutes, is applied to the countertop unit unfinished front face 63 and the molding component 30 flat back joining surface 37. A bead of glue or adhesive is run in the bottom of the molding component upward facing groove 38 and on the on the top edge 39 of its upward facing tongue 33b. After application of the glue or adhesive, molding component 30 is placed below the countertop unit 60 so that its flat back joining surface 37 is parallel to and in planar alignment with the countertop unit's unfinished front face 63. The molding component 30 is then raised vertically until the upward facing tongue 33b of the molding component 30 enters the downward facing groove 55 of the countertop edge piece and the downward facing tongue 56 of the countertop edge piece 50 enters the upward facing groove 38 of the molding component 30. As the molding component 30 is raised further, the uppermost forward edge 39a of upward facing tongue 33b of the molding component 30 contacts the rear angled face 55a of the downward facing tongue 56 of the countertop edge piece 50 . Once contact is made, further raising of the molding component 30 wedgeably forces upward facing tongue 33b back away from the unfinished face 63 of the countertop unit 60 which in turn forces the flat back joining surface 37 of molding component 30 tighter and tighter against the countertop unit 60 unfinished face 63. By the time the top edge 36 of molding component 30 is aligned with the top finished surface 40 of the countertop unit 60, the molding component 30 and the countertop unit 60 are firmly and tightly wedged together. Despite the tightness of this clamping action, as long as the glue or adhesive is wet, the molding component can still be adjusted up or down sufficiently to ensure proper alignment of molding component top edge 36 with countertop component surface 40.

As the molding component 30 is raised into position, the beads of glue or adhesive applied to the molding component groove 38 and upward facing tongue 33b are forcibly distributed, filling grooves 38 and 55 and covering tongues 33b and 56.