Title:
Baluster made of recycled material
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A baluster includes at least one first post made of non-composite wood and having a longitudinal engaging end portion, and a second post made of a wood flour composite, which includes wood flour and a resin binder, and having at least one longitudinal connecting end portion connected longitudinally to the engaging end portion. The connecting end portion and the engaging end portion are sleeved one onto the other. A coating layer is coated on an outer surface of each of the first and second posts.



Inventors:
Chung, Min-ju (Tan-Tzu Hsiang, TW)
Application Number:
11/810273
Publication Date:
12/11/2008
Filing Date:
06/05/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C3/30; E04F11/18
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
HIJAZ, OMAR F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HAUG PARTNERS LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A baluster comprising: at least one first post made of wood and having a longitudinal engaging end portion; and a second post made of a wood flour composite, which includes wood flour and a resin binder, and having at least one longitudinal connecting end portion connected longitudinally to said engaging end portion, said connecting end portion and said engaging end portion being sleeved one onto the other.

2. The baluster of claim 1, wherein said connecting end portion has a hole-confining wall confining a longitudinal receiving hole, and said engaging end portion has a longitudinal engaging pillar inserted into said receiving hole.

3. The baluster of claim 2, wherein said engaging pillar is stepped, and has at least two pillar sections of different cross sections, and at least one pillar shoulder face formed between said pillar sections, said hole-confining wall being stepped and having at least two hole sections to receive respectively said pillar sections, and at least one internal shoulder face formed between said hole sections and abutting against said pillar shoulder face.

4. The baluster of claim 2, wherein said engaging pillar is stepped, and has three pillar sections of different cross sections, and two pillar shoulder faces each formed between two adjacent ones of said pillar sections, said hole-confining wall being stepped and having three hole sections to receive respectively said pillar sections, and two internal shoulder faces each formed between two adjacent ones of said hole sections and abutting against a respective one of said pillar shoulder faces.

5. The baluster of claim 3, wherein said pillar shoulder face has a ring-shape, and said internal shoulder face also has a ring-shape.

6. The baluster of claim 1, wherein said first post further has a tenon that projects longitudinally from said first post opposite to said engaging end portion.

7. The baluster of claim 1, further comprising a coating layer provided on an outer surface of each of said first and second posts.

8. The baluster of claim 1, wherein said wood flour composite is a foamed composite.

9. The baluster of claim 1, which comprises a pair of said first posts each having said engaging end portion, wherein said second post has an opposite pair of said connecting end portions connected longitudinally and respectively to said engaging end portions of said first posts.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a structural element used in residential and commercial buildings, more particularly to a baluster made of recycled material.

2. Description of the Related Art

Referring to FIG. 1, a conventional baluster 1 made of wood includes a bottom connecting section 101 having a rectangular cross section and fixed to flooring 100 (shown in phantom lines), a tapered connecting section 102 fixed to a bottom portion of a handrail 200 (shown in phantom lines), and a decorative section 103 connected between the bottom and tapered connecting sections 101, 102. The bottom connecting section 101 has one end provided with a tenon 104. Through the different design of each portion of the baluster 1, the baluster 1 is provided with an elegant and attractive appearance.

Although the conventional baluster 1 is widely used, because the baluster 1 is entirely made of wood, production of the baluster 1 requires the wood material to be turned in a wood lathe to form the desired design. Such a process results in large waste of wood material.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide a baluster that utilizes a minimal amount of wood material and that has the quality and strength of wood.

According to this invention, a baluster comprises at least one first post made of non-composite wood and having a longitudinal engaging end portion, and a second post made of a wood flour composite, which includes wood flour and a resin binder, and having at least one longitudinal connecting end portion connected longitudinally to the engaging end portion. The connecting end portion and the engaging end portion are sleeved one onto the other.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a sectional view of a conventional baluster;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary exploded sectional view of the first preferred embodiment of a baluster according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view of the first preferred embodiment in an assembled state;

FIG. 4 is an assembled sectional view of the first preferred embodiment in a state of use; and

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view of a baluster according to the second preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Before the present invention is described in greater detail, it should be noted that the same reference numerals have been used to denote like elements throughout the specification.

Referring to FIGS. 2 to 4, the first preferred embodiment of a baluster 2 according to the present invention is shown to comprise a first post 10 and a second post 20.

The first post 10 is made of wood, and may be made from a log or a plurality of wood plates fixed together to form the shape of a post and covered with a face layer. The first post 10 includes a post section 11 having a square-shaped cross section and extending along a longitudinal direction (X), a longitudinal engaging end portion 12 provided on one end of the post section 11, and a tenon 15 that projects longitudinally and outwardly from the first post 10 opposite to the engaging end portion 12. The engaging end portion 12 has a longitudinal engaging pillar 14 that is stepped, so that the engaging pillar 14 has at least two pillar sections 141, 142 of different cross sections, and at least one pillar shoulder face 144 formed between the pillar sections 141, 142. In this embodiment, the engaging pillar 14 has three pillar sections 141, 142, 143 of different cross sections, and two pillar shoulder faces 144, 145 each formed between two adjacent ones of the pillar sections 141, 142, 143. Preferably, each of the pillar shoulder faces 144, 145 has a ring-shape.

The second post 20 is fixed to the first post 10 along the longitudinal direction (X), and is made of a wood flour composite. The wood flour composite includes wood flour and a resin binder, such as polyethylene (PE). The wood flour is distributed uniformly in the second post 20, and is formed of the waste produced from processing wood. The wood flour is added to the resin binder to enhance hardness. The second post 20 has a longitudinal tapered end section 21 with a substantially conical shape, and a connecting end portion 22 opposite to the tapered end section 21. The connecting end portion 22 has a hole-confining wall 221 that is stepped and that confines a longitudinal receiving hole 220. The stepped formation of the connecting end portion 22 is such that the hole-confining wall 221 has at least two hole sections 2211, 2212, and at least one internal shoulder face 2214 formed between the hole sections 2211, 2212. In this embodiment, the hole-confining wall 221 has three hole sections 2211, 2212, 2213 to receive respectively the pillar sections 141, 142, 143 of the engaging pillar 14, and two internal shoulder faces 2214, 2215 each formed between two adjacent ones of the hole sections 2211, 2212, 2213. Preferably, each of the internal shoulder faces 2214, 2215 has a ring-shape.

In an alternative embodiment, the second post 20 is made of a foamed composite that includes wood flour, a suitable amount of foaming agent, and a resin binder, such as PE. The wood flour is blended uniformly with the resin binder. The weight of the second post 20 is reduced due to the use of the foamed composite.

A coating layer 30 is coated on an outer surface of each of the first and second posts 10, 20. The coating layer 30 may be a polyurethane (PU) coating or any other suitable coating.

As shown in FIG. 3, to assemble the baluster 2, the three pillar sections 141, 142, 143 of the engaging pillar 14 of the first post 10 are respectively inserted into the hole sections 2211, 2212, 2213 of the connecting end portion 22 of the second post 20. At this time, the pillar shoulder faces 144, 145 abut respectively against the internal shoulder faces 2214, 2215.

After the first and second posts 10, 20 are interconnected along the longitudinal direction (X), a primer paint and a surface paint are applied to the outer surface of each of the first and second posts 10, 20, thereby forming the coating layer 30. The quality and strength of the entire baluster 2 can be as good as the aforementioned conventional baluster 1 (see FIG. 1) which is entirely made of a wood log or wood plates.

As shown in FIG. 4, the tenon 15 provided at one end of the baluster 2 is connected to flooring 100 (shown in phantom lines), whereas the tapered section 21 of the baluster 2 has one end embedded in a handrail 200 (shown in phantom lines). After assembly, it is difficult to separate the engaging pillar 14 of the engaging end portion 12 of the first post 10 from the receiving hole 220 in the connecting end portion 22 of the second post 20.

The present invention makes use of the wood flour composite to produce the second post 20, so that not only can consumption and waste of wood material be reduced, the waste (wood flour) produced during wood processing can also be recycled. This is highly beneficial to the protection of the environment. Further, through the insertion of the pillar sections 141, 142, 143 of the engaging pillar 14 into the respective hole sections 2211, 2212, 2213 of the connecting end portion 22, the structure of the entire baluster 2 is strong, and the quality of the baluster 2 after assembly and coating is good.

It should be noted that the second post 20 may be made through a process of plastic molding, so that when the second post 20 is removed from the mold, production of the second post 20 is nearly complete. After polishing the outer surface of the second post 20, it is only necessary to apply the coating layer 30 to the second post 20. There is no need for other processing steps, so that the making and processing of the baluster 2 of the present invention are relatively easy.

Referring to FIG. 5, the second preferred embodiment of a baluster 2′ according to the present invention is shown to be similar to the first preferred embodiment. However, in this embodiment, the baluster 2′ comprises a pair of the first posts 10, and a second post 20′. The second post 20′ of this embodiment differs from the second post 20 of the first preferred embodiment in having an opposite pair of the connecting end portions 22 connected longitudinally and respectively to the engaging end portions 12 of the two first posts 10. A coating layer 30 is applied to the outer surface of each of the first and second posts 10, 20′.

To assemble the baluster 2′, the three pillar sections 141, 142, 143 of the engaging pillar 14 of each first post 10 are inserted into the three hole sections 2211, 2212, 2213 of a respective one of the connecting end portions 22 of the second post 20′ until the pillar shoulder faces 144, 145 abut respectively against the internal shoulder faces 2214, 2215. The advantages of the first preferred embodiment can be similarly achieved using the second preferred embodiment.

While the present invention has been described in connection with what are considered the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretations and equivalent arrangements.