Title:
Baluster made of recycled material
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A baluster includes a longitudinal hollow post and a tubular core. The hollow post is made of a wood flour composite which includes wood flour and a resin binder, and has a first end portion, and a second end portion longitudinally opposite to the first end portion. The tubular core is disposed longitudinally in the hollow post. A coating layer is provided on an outer surface of the hollow post.



Inventors:
Chung, Min-ju (Taichung Hsien, TW)
Application Number:
12/105382
Publication Date:
12/11/2008
Filing Date:
04/18/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C3/36
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Primary Examiner:
HIJAZ, OMAR F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HAUG PARTNERS LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A baluster comprising: a longitudinal hollow post made of a wood flour composite which includes wood flour and a resin binder, said hollow post having a first end portion, and a second end portion longitudinally opposite to said first end portion; and a tubular core disposed longitudinally in said hollow post.

2. The baluster of claim 1, wherein said second end portion is tapered, and said first end portion has a cross section larger than that of said second end portion.

3. The baluster of claim 2, wherein said tubular core has a first core section extending to said second end portion of said post, and a second core section opposite to said first core section and provided with a longitudinal protrusion that extends beyond said first end portion of said post.

4. The baluster of claim 3, further comprising a base which has a longitudinal receiving hole, said protrusion being inserted fittingly into said receiving hole.

5. The baluster of claim 4, wherein said first end portion of said post has an end face, and an annular groove extending inwardly from said end face and surrounding said protrusion, said base further having an engaging end portion confining said receiving hole, said engaging end portion having an outer surface that is stepped and that has an annular shoulder face, and an annular protrusion projecting outwardly and axially from said annular shoulder face and extending into said annular groove.

6. The baluster of claim 4, wherein said base is made of wood.

7. The baluster of claim 4, further comprising a coating layer provided on an outer surface of each of said hollow post and said base.

8. The baluster of claim 1, wherein said tubular core is made of a material selected from the group consisting of an aluminum alloy and plastic.

9. The baluster of claim 1, further comprising a coating layer provided on an outer surface of said hollow post.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/810,273, filed by the applicant on Jun. 5, 2007, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

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 a recycled material.

2. Description of the Related Art

In co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/810,273, entitled “Baluster Made of Recycled Material,” filed by the applicant, there is disclosed a baluster, as shown in FIG. 1, that includes a first post 1 made of non-composite wood and having a longitudinal engaging end portion 101, and a second post 2 made of a wood flour composite, which includes wood flour and a resin binder. The second post 2 has a longitudinal connecting end portion 201 connected longitudinally to the engaging end portion 101. The connecting end portion 201 and the engaging end portion 101 are sleeved one onto the other.

Although the aforementioned baluster is advantageous in that it is made of a recycled material, it is not weather-resistant, and thus easily deforms. Further, because the entire second post 2 is made of a wood flour composite, it is heavy.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide a baluster of the aforesaid type that has a more reliable structure and that is lightweight.

According to this invention, a baluster comprises a longitudinal hollow post and a tubular core. The hollow post is made of a wood flour composite which includes wood flour and a resin binder, and has a first end portion, and a second end portion longitudinally opposite to the first end portion. The tubular core is disposed longitudinally in the hollow post.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

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

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a baluster disclosed in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/810,273;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary exploded schematic view of a baluster according to the preferred embodiment of this invention;

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

FIG. 4 is a partly fragmentary schematic view of the preferred embodiment in a state of use.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIGS. 2 to 4, a baluster 100 according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown to comprise a longitudinal hollow post 10, a tubular core 20, and a base 30.

The hollow post 10 extends along a longitudinal direction (X), and is made of a wood flour composite, which includes wood flour and a resin binder, such as polyethylene (PE). The wood flour is distributed uniformly in the post 10, and is formed of the waste produced from processing wood. The wood flour is added to the resin binder to enhance hardness. The post 10 has a first end portion 12, and a second end portion 13 longitudinally opposite to the first end portion 12. In this embodiment, the second end portion 13 is tapered, and has a substantially conical shape. The first end portion 12 has a cross section larger than that of the second end portion 13.

The tubular core 20 is disposed longitudinally in the hollow post 10, and is made of a material selected from the group consisting of an aluminum alloy and plastic. The core 20 may be formed integrally with the hollow post 10 by insert-molding. The core 20 has a first core section 21 that extends to the second end portion 13 of the post 10, and a second core section 22 opposite to the first core section 21 and provided with a longitudinal protrusion 221 that extends beyond the first end portion 12 of the post 10.

The first end portion 12 of the post 10 further has an end face 141, and an annular groove 142 extending inwardly from the end face 141 and surrounding the protrusion 221.

The base 30 is made of wood, and may be made from a single piece of wood or a plurality of wood plates fixed together to form the shape of a post and covered with a face layer. The base 30 has a square-shaped post section 31 extending along the longitudinal direction (X), an engaging end portion 32 provided on one end of the post section 31 and confining a longitudinal receiving hole 323, and a tenon 35 that projects longitudinally and outwardly from the base 30 oppositely of the engaging end portion 32. The longitudinal protrusion 221 is inserted fittingly into the receiving hole 323. The engaging end portion 32 has an outer surface that is stepped and that has an annular shoulder face 321, and an annular protrusion 322 projecting outwardly and axially from the annular shoulder face 321 and extending into the annular groove 142.

A coating layer 40 is coated on an outer surface of each of the post 10 and the base 30. The coating layer 40 may be a polyurethane (PU) coating or any other suitable coating.

With reference to FIG. 3, to assemble the baluster 100 of the present invention, the first end portion 12 of the post 10 and the engaging end portion 32 of the base 30 are inter-engaged by inserting fittingly the longitudinal protrusion 221 into the receiving hole 323 until the annular protrusion 322 extends into the annular groove 142. At this time, the end face 141 and the annular shoulder face 321 are proximate to each other. Hence, through the double engaging structure of the post 10 and the base 30 of the baluster 100 of the present invention, a junction of the baluster 100 is strong.

After the post 10 and the base 30 are interconnected along the longitudinal direction (X), primer paint and surface paint are applied to the outer surface of each of the post 10 and the base 30, thereby forming the coating layer 40. The quality and strength of the entire baluster 100 can be as good as a baluster that is entirely made of a single long section of wood material.

In use, with reference to FIG. 4, the tenon 35 provided at one end of the baluster 100 is connected to a flooring 200 (shown in phantom lines), whereas a free end of the second end portion 13 of the baluster 100 is embedded in a handrail 300 (shown in phantom lines). After assembly, it is difficult to separate the longitudinal protrusion 221 from the receiving hole 323 in the engaging end portion 32 of the base 30.

The present invention makes use of a wood flour composite to produce the post 10, 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, because the core 20 and the post 10 are made hollow, and because the core 20 is embedded in the post 10, aside from enhancing the strength of the baluster 100, the weight of the entire baluster 100 is reduced as well. Moreover, through insertion of the longitudinal protrusion 221 into the receiving hole 323, through the extension of the annular protrusion 322 into the annular groove 142, and through the configuration of the core 20, the structure of the entire baluster 100 of the present invention is strong. Additionally, the quality of the baluster 100 of the present invention after assembly and coating is good. Hence, the baluster 100 of the present invention is weather-resistant, and cannot be easily deformed.

It is worth mentioning that the first end portion 12 of the post 10 may be elongated and enlarged so as to be shaped as a base, so that the base 30 may be dispensed herewith. Further, the first core section 21 may be shortened, and may extend from the first end portion 12 and only partially to the second end portion 13.

Further, each end of the post 10 may be machined to form a pattern of a desired design, and each end of the core 20 may be provided with the longitudinal protrusion 221 that extends beyond the post 10 (not shown). In such a case, the baluster 100 should be provided with two bases 30 to engage respectively the protrusions 221 at the ends of the core 20.

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