Title:
Furniture Member Attachment System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A furniture member joining system includes a U-shaped fastener having first and second posts extending transversely from a post body. First and second post receiving bight inserts are each engageable with one of a first and second furniture member. The first post is slidably received in the first bight insert and the second post is slidably received in the second bight insert to releasably couple the first furniture member to the second furniture member.



Inventors:
Westendorf, David J. (Monroe, MI, US)
Knowles, Kevin J. (Monroe, MI, US)
Gamble, Shane R. (Lambertville, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/838486
Publication Date:
02/19/2009
Filing Date:
08/14/2007
Assignee:
West & Knowles Design and Engineering, L.L.C. (Monroe, MI, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
FERGUSON, MICHAEL P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HARNESS DICKEY (TROY) (Troy, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A furniture member joining system, comprising a U-shaped fastener having first and second posts extending transversely from a post body, wherein each of the first and second posts are adapted to engage with one of a first and second furniture member to releasably couple the first and second furniture members.

2. The furniture member joining system of claim 1, further comprising: first and second post receiving bight inserts each engageable with one of the first and second furniture members; wherein the first post is slidably received in the first bight insert and the second post is slidaby received in the second bight insert to releasably couple the first furniture member to the second furniture member.

3. The furniture member joining system of claim 2, further comprising first and second fastener brackets each fastenably connected to one of the first and second furniture members, each of the first and second fastener brackets adapted to frictionally receive one of the first and second bight inserts.

4. The furniture member joining system of claim 3, wherein each of the first and second fastener brackets further includes a U-shaped bight member receiving portion.

5. The furniture member joining system of claim 1, further comprising an aperture created in each of the first and second furniture members adapted to receive one of the first and second posts.

6. The furniture member joining system of claim 1, wherein the first post is longer than the second post.

7. A furniture member joining system, comprising: a U-shaped fastener having first and second posts extending transversely from a post body; and first and second post receiving bight inserts each engageable with one of a first and second furniture member; wherein the first post is slidably received in the first bight insert and the second post is slidaby received in the second bight insert to releasably couple the first furniture member to the second furniture member.

8. The furniture member joining system of claim 7, further comprising first and second fastener brackets each fastenably connected to one of the first and second furniture members, each of the first and second fastener brackets adapted to frictionally receive one of the first and second bight inserts.

9. The furniture member joining system of claim 8, wherein each of the first and second fastener brackets further includes a U-shaped bight member receiving portion.

10. The furniture member joining system of claim 9, wherein each of the first and second fastener brackets further includes first and second planar wings each oppositely positioned about the bight member receiving portion.

11. The furniture member joining system of claim 7, wherein each of the first and second bight inserts includes: a tubular body; and a plurality of bight elements created on the tubular body.

12. The furniture member joining system of claim 11, wherein each of the first and second bight inserts further includes a flange defining an end of the tubular body, the flange having a larger diameter than a body diameter; and wherein the flange of each of the first and second bight inserts is adapted to seat against an upholstery member disposed on one of the first and second furniture members.

13. The furniture member joining system of claim 10, wherein each of the first and second bight inserts includes an aperture having an aperture diameter adapted to slidingly receive one of the first and second posts.

14. The furniture member joining system of claim 7, wherein the first post is longer than the second post.

15. A furniture member joining system, comprising: a U-shaped fastener having first and second posts extending transversely from a post body; and first and second fastener brackets each fastenably connected to one of a first and second furniture member; wherein the first post is slidably received in the first fastener bracket and the second post is slidaby received in the second fastener bracket to releasably couple the first furniture member to the second furniture member.

16. The furniture member joining system of claim 15, further comprising first and second post receiving bight inserts each engageable with one of the first and second furniture fastener brackets, each of the first and second post receiving bight inserts having an aperture adapted to slidably receive one of the first and second posts.

17. The furniture member joining system of claim 16, wherein each of the first and second bight inserts includes: a tubular body; and a plurality of bight elements created on the tubular body.

18. The furniture member joining system of claim 17, wherein each of the first and second bight inserts further includes a flange defining an end of the tubular body, the flange having a larger diameter than a tubular body diameter; and wherein the flange of each of the first and second bight inserts is adapted to seat against an upholstery member disposed on one of the first and second furniture members.

19. The furniture member joining system of claim 14, wherein the first post has a length greater than a second post length.

20. The furniture member joining system of claim 14, wherein each of the first and second posts includes a free end defining a rounded post apex adapted to permit insertion alignment and ease of insertion of the posts.

Description:

FIELD

The present disclosure relates to devices used to releasably couple furniture members.

BACKGROUND

The statements in this section merely provide background information related to the present disclosure and may not constitute prior art.

Furniture members such as chairs, sofas, sectionals, loveseats, and the like often include multiple members that can be joined to create larger seating or reclining surfaces. Common devices to attach multiple furniture members include fasteners such as brackets which couple together, and plates joined individually to each furniture member which are fastened together to semi-permanently join the furniture members. Known joining methods create alignment problems between the furniture members, are often cumbersome and difficult for an end user to disassemble or reassemble the furniture members, and require additional tools to connect and/or disconnect the joining couplings. Known joining methods are also prone to inadvertently disconnect or disengage.

SUMMARY

According to several embodiments of the present disclosure, a furniture member joining system includes a U-shaped fastener having first and second posts extending transversely from a post body, wherein each of the first and second posts are adapted to engage with one of a first and second furniture member to releasably couple the first and second furniture members.

According to additional embodiments of the present disclosure, a furniture member joining system includes a U-shaped fastener having first and second posts extending transversely from a post body. First and second post receiving bight inserts are each engageable with one of a first and second furniture member. The first post is slidably received in the first bight insert and the second post is slidably received in the second bight insert to releasably couple the first furniture member to the second furniture member.

According to still further embodiments of the present disclosure, a furniture member joining system includes a U-shaped fastener having first and second posts extending transversely from a post body. First and second fastener brackets are each fastenably connected to one of a first and second furniture member. The first post is slidably received in the first fastener bracket and the second post is slidably received in the second fastener bracket to releasably couple the first furniture member to the second furniture member.

Further areas of applicability will become apparent from the description provided herein. It should be understood that the description and specific examples are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

DRAWINGS

The drawings described herein are for illustration purposes only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure in any way.

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of two furniture members joined using a joining system of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of the two furniture members of FIG. 1 joined showing inserted bight inserts of the present disclosure;

FIG. 3 is an end elevational view of a furniture member having bight insert fastener brackets of the present disclosure;

FIG. 4 is the end elevational view of FIG. 3, after installation of upholstery and insertion of the bight inserts into the bight member fastener brackets;

FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of a fastener bracket of the present disclosure;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the fastener bracket of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a front elevational view of a bight insert of the present disclosure;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the bight insert of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a front elevational view of a U-shaped fastener of the present disclosure;

FIG. 10 is front elevational view of an installation of a fastener bracket to a furniture member frame, and a bight insert below an upholstery layer of the present disclosure;

FIG. 11 is a front elevational view similar to FIG. 10, showing partial installation of a U-shaped fastener;

FIG. 12 is a front elevational view modified from FIG. 11 to additionally show a second furniture member frame member and fastener assembly of the present disclosure;

FIG. 13 is a front elevational view modified from FIG. 12 to show installation of a U-shaped fastener directly into abutting furniture member frames;

FIG. 14 is a front elevational view modified from FIG. 13 to show installation of a U-shaped fastener into bight inserts inserted into abutting furniture member frames;

FIG. 15 is a front elevational view of a molded polymeric fastener bracket of the present disclosure; and

FIG. 16 is a top plan view of the molded polymeric fastener bracket of FIG. 15.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following description is merely exemplary in nature and is not intended to limit the present disclosure, application, or uses. It should be understood that throughout the drawings, corresponding reference numerals indicate like or corresponding parts and features.

Referring generally to FIG. 1, a furniture assembly 10 can include two or more furniture members which are temporarily and releasably connected together. In several embodiments, a first furniture member 12 and second furniture member 14 are joined and retained as an assembly using at least one U-shaped fastener 16. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, first and second U-shaped fasteners 16′, 16″ are used. U-shaped fasteners 16 are releasably insertable through the face(s) of adjoining furniture portions such as furniture upholstery face 18′ and furniture upholstery face 18″ of first and second furniture members 12, 14 respectively.

To help retain the U-shaped fasteners 16, according to several embodiments a plurality of bight inserts 20 are first inserted into adjoining and aligned furniture upholstery faces 18. Bight inserts 20 which are aligned between the first and second furniture members 12, 14 slidably receive and engage the U-shaped fasteners 16. In the embodiment shown, bight inserts 20′, 20″ are connected through furniture upholstery face 18′ and bight inserts 20′″, 20″″ are connected through furniture upholstery face 18″. According to several embodiments, U-shaped fasteners 16 can be made of a metal such as steel or stainless steel, but can also be made from a rigid polymeric material. Bight inserts 20 can be made such as by injection molding from a polymeric material including polyamide materials.

Referring now to FIG. 2, each of the first and second furniture members can further include an occupant back support member 22 (shown as back support members 22′, 22″), an occupant lower support area 24 (shown as lower support areas 24′, 24″), an outward arm rest 26 (shown as arm rests 26′, 26″), and an armrest support structure 28 (shown as armrest support structures 28′, 28″). Occupant lower support area 24 is commonly supported using a plurality of springs (not shown) such as sinuous wire springs which are overlayed with a cloth or matting material (not shown). An additional cushion (not shown) is commonly stacked above each of the occupant lower support areas 24′, 24″ after insertion of the U-shaped fasteners 16.

After frame structures of first and second furniture members 12, 14 have an upholstery covering provided, first and second furniture members 12, 14 are butted against each other for example having a first and second member side surface 30, 32 in abutment with each other. At this time, a first and second member upholstery surface 34, 36 of first and second furniture members 12, 14 should be approximately co-planer with each other. With the first and second furniture members 12, 14 aligned as shown in FIG. 2, bight insert 20′ is aligned with bight insert 20′″ and bight insert 20″ is aligned with bight insert 20″″. The arrangement is then ready to receive U-shaped fasteners 16′, 16″ shown in FIG. 1.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a furniture member frame 38 which is commonly manufactured from a plurality of wooden and/or composite frame elements can include a frame side 40, a frame back structure 42, a frame arm structure 44, and an arm support member 46. A front leg 48 and a rear leg 50 are also shown, however, it should be obvious that two or more each of front legs 48 and rear legs 50 are commonly used for each furniture member frame 38. Each of the front and rear legs 48, 50 position furniture member 38 above a floor surface 52.

With the furniture frame 38 oriented as shown, at least one fastener bracket 54 is connected to the furniture frame 38. According to additional embodiments including the example shown, two fastener brackets 54 identified as fastener bracket 54′ and fastener bracket 54″ are connected to frame side 40. More than two fastener brackets 54 can also be used if the connecting side lengths of the furniture members warrant additional fasteners. Fastener brackets 54 each include a U-shaped bight member receiving portion 56 shown in this embodiment as bight member receiving portions 56′, 56″. Bight member receiving portions 56 are adapted to receive and engage the bight inserts 20 described in reference to FIG. 1. Each of the fastener brackets 54′, 54″ are oriented as shown to align with an upper edge 58 of frame side 40. Fastener brackets 54 are then connected to frame side 40 using a plurality of fasteners 60 such as screws or rivets. Upper edge 58 of frame side 40 is positioned at a height “A” with respect to the floor surface 52. Each of the fastener brackets 54 is separated from the other fastener brackets 54 by a bracket spacing “B”. Bracket spacing “B” is maximized so that when U-shaped fasteners 16 are subsequently inserted the potential for separation between first and second furniture members 12, 14 is minimized.

Referring to FIG. 4, an upholstery layer 62 is applied to furniture member frame 38 in contact with upper edge 58 as shown. Apertures (not clearly visible in this view) are created through upholstery layer 62 co-axial with bight member receiving portions 56′, 56″ for example by cutting, punching, or similar operation. Bight inserts 20 which in the example shown are indicated as bight inserts 20′, 20″ are then inserted through these apertures. The bight inserts 20′, 20″ are each inserted in an insertion direction “D” and an insertion direction “E” respectively. After application of upholstery layer 62, an upholstered elevation “C” results. A portion of bight inserts 20 abuts with and extends above the upholstery layer 62. Additional layers of upholstery which are commonly applied to frame back structure 42, frame arm structure 44, and arm support member 46 are not shown for clarity.

Referring to FIG. 5, each of the fastener brackets 54 includes first and second planar wings 64, 66 which are each located outwardly of the bight member receiving portion 56. At least one and preferably a plurality of apertures identified as fastener receiving apertures 68′, 68″, 68′″, and 68″″ are created in the first and second planar wings 64, 66 to permit fastener bracket 54 to be fastened to the individual furniture member. Each fastener bracket 54 has a bracket width “F” and a bracket height “G”. Bracket width “F” and bracket height “G” can be dimensionally equal, however, the present disclosure is not limited to the rectangular geometry or dimensions of fastener brackets 54.

Referring to FIG. 6, further details of fastener brackets 54 include a bracket plate thickness “H”, a receiving portion radius “J” defined by bight member receiving portion 56, and a receiving portion stand-off dimension “K” of bight member receiving portion 56. According to several embodiments of the present disclosure, bracket width “F” can be 2.18 inches (5.54 cm), bracket height “G” can be 2.00 inches (5.08 cm), bracket plate thickness “H” can be 0.03 inches (0.76 mm), receiving portion radius “J” can be 0.36 inches (0.91 cm), and receiving portion stand-off dimension “K” can be 0.72 inches (1.83 cm). These dimensions are provided for example only and do not limit the scope of the present disclosure.

Referring now to FIG. 7, each of the bight inserts 20 include a tubular body 70 having a plurality of bight elements 72 sequentially positioned in an axial direction of tubular body 70. Each of the bight elements 72 include a bight face 74 which all face toward a flange 76. Bight elements 72 are deflectable to allow insertion of bight inserts 20. Bight inserts 20 include a bight member length “L” and each of the bight elements 72 has a bight length “M”. Each of the bight elements 72 also has a minimum diameter “N”. A lead-in end of the bight inserts 20 have a diameter “P” at a free end of each of the bight inserts 20 which define a minimum diameter of the bight elements 72 and also provide for easier initial insertion of bight inserts 20. Referring back to FIG. 6, a dimension for receiving portion radius “J” is predetermined to receive the minimum diameter “N” of body portion of bight inserts 20 while frictionally engaging the bight elements 20. According to several embodiments of the present disclosure, bight member length “L” can be 2.125 inches (5.39 cm), bight length “M” can be 0.15 inches (0.38 cm), diameter “N” can be 0.72 inches (1.83 cm), and lead-in diameter “P” can be 0.64 inches (1.63 cm). As previously noted, these dimensions are not limiting to the present disclosure.

Referring to FIG. 8, each of the bight inserts 20 further include a post receiving aperture 78 created throughout the total bight member length “L” including through flange 76. Flange 76 has a flange diameter “Q” and post receiving aperture 78 has a post aperture diameter “R”. According to several embodiments flange diameter “Q” can be 1.0 inches (2.54 cm), and post receiving aperture diameter “R” can be 0.52 inches (1.32 cm).

Referring to FIG. 9, each of the U-shaped fasteners 16 include a base portion 80 having a base portion width S, and each of a first post 82 and a second post 84. First post 82 has a first post length “T” and second post 84 has a second post length “U”. First post length “T” is greater than second post length “U” to allow U-shaped fasteners 16 to accommodate minor discrepancies in the elevation as well as alignment between the various furniture members to be joined. The difference in post length also allows first post 82 to be partially inserted in one of the bight inserts 20 while aligning second post 84 with the corresponding aligned one of the other bight inserts 20. Each of the first and second posts 82, 84 define a post to base angle alpha with base portion 80. According to several embodiments, post to base angle alpha is approximately 90°.

First post 82 has a free end defined by a first post apex 86. Similarly, second post 84 has a free end defined by a second post apex 88. The rounded post apexes 86, 88 of the first and second posts 82, 84 are adapted to permit insertion alignment and ease of insertion of the posts. U-shaped fasteners 16 have a post diameter “V” which is maintained for both the first and second posts 82, 84. A post spacing “W” is maintained between first and second post apexes 86, 88. According to several embodiments of the present disclosure, first post length “T” can be 2.5 inches (6.35 cm), second post length “U” can be 1.5 inches (3.81 cm), post diameter “V” can be 0.5 inches (1.27 cm), and post spacing “W” can be 3.3125 inches (8.41 cm). Referring to both FIGS. 8 and 9, post receiving aperture diameter “R”, which in the present example is 0.52 inches (1.32 cm), is larger than post diameter “V” 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) to allow a sliding clearance fit for the first and second posts 82, 84. These dimensions are exemplary only and do not limit the size or shapes of the components of the present disclosure, which can be scaled up or down or sized differently for different furniture member applications within the scope of the present disclosure.

Referring now to FIGS. 10 through 12, the difference in post length between first and second posts 82, 84 can also accommodate insertion of the U-shaped fasteners 16 below an existing layer of upholstery if desired rather than above the upholstery layer. As shown in FIG. 10, fastener bracket 54′ is fastened to a furniture member frame 90. A bight insert 20′ is inserted through upholstery layer 62′ and into the bight member receiving portion 56′ of fastener bracket 54′. An upper surface of the flange 76′ of bight insert 20′ is positioned substantially flush or co-planar with an upper edge 92 of furniture member frame 90. An upholstery layer 94 is then applied to the furniture member frame 90 above the bight insert 20′, but is not fastened to the frame 90 proximate to bight insert 20′. As shown in FIG. 11, this allows the upholstery layer 94 to be lifted proximate to bight insert 20′. After lifting upholstery layer 94, the longer first post 82′ of U-shaped fastener 16′ is partially inserted into bight insert 20′ and the shorter second post 84′ is positioned as shown.

As shown in FIG. 12, a bight insert 20″ is installed similar to bight insert 20′ through upholstery layer 62″ and under an upholstery layer 96 of a furniture member 98 (which is shown lifted away from bight insert 20″). The shorter second post 84′ is then readied for insertion by aligning with the post receiving aperture 78″ of bight insert 20″ and both first and second posts 82′, 84′ can then be fully inserted. Both upholstery layers 94 and 96 can be replaced above the furniture member frames 90, 98. This configuration allows the installation of U-shaped fasteners 16 which can be kept substantially out of sight for furniture members such as chairs which do not have a cushion member installed after installation of the U-shaped fasteners 16.

Referring again to FIGS. 1, 3, and 9 in additional embodiments of the present disclosure, the bight inserts 20′, 20″, 20′″, and 20″″ can be eliminated if the furniture members 12, 14 each include a frame structure having a width sufficient to allow apertures to be created in the frame structure which can accommodate the diameter of the posts 82, 84. These embodiments also permit the elimination of the fastener brackets 54. According to additional embodiments, the fastener brackets 54 can be eliminated if the furniture members 12, 14 each include a frame structure having a width sufficient to allow apertures to be created in the frame structure which can accommodate the diameter of the bight inserts 20. According to still further embodiments, the bight inserts 20 can be eliminated by creating fastener brackets with a post receiving diameter adapted to slidably receive the diameter of posts 82, 84. Fastener brackets of these embodiments can be created from a metal or a polymeric material.

Referring to FIG. 13, a U-shaped fastener 16′ is shown inserted through upholstery layers 62′, 62″ and into the furniture member frames 90, 98. This embodiment eliminates both the bight inserts 20 and the fastener brackets 54. Apertures (not shown), can be pre-formed such as by drilling into each of furniture member frames 90, 98 to receive the posts 82′, 84′ of U-shaped fastener 16′.

Referring to FIG. 14, the embodiment of FIG. 13 can be modified by inserting bight inserts 20′, 20′″ through upholstery layers 62′, 62″ and into furniture member frames 90, 98 prior to insertion of U-shaped fastener 16′. This embodiment provides bight inserts 20′, 20′″ which frictionally engage within apertures (not shown) created in furniture member frames 90, 98, but eliminates the fastener brackets 54.

Referring to FIGS. 15 and 16, according to further embodiments, a homogenous, one-piece body, molded polymeric fastener bracket 100 can be used in place of fastener bracket 54. Similar to fastener brackets 54, fastener bracket 100 includes a bight member receiving portion 102, and first and second planar wings 104, 106 which are each located outwardly of the bight member receiving portion 104. At least one and preferably a plurality of apertures identified as fastener receiving apertures 68′, 68″, 68′″, and 68″″ are created in the first and second planar wings 104, 106 to permit fastener bracket 100 to be fastened to the individual furniture member. Similar to fastener brackets 54, each fastener bracket 100 has a bracket width “F” and a bracket height “G”. Bracket width “F” and bracket height “G” can be dimensionally equal, however, the present disclosure is not limited to the rectangular geometry or dimensions of fastener brackets 100. Further details of fastener brackets 100 include a bracket plate thickness “H”, a receiving portion radius “J” defined by bight member receiving portion 102, and a receiving portion stand-off dimension “K” of bight member receiving portion 102.

The furniture member attachment system of the present disclosure offers several advantages. The U-shaped fasteners of the present disclosure allow two or more furniture members to be releasably joined without the use of additional tools. The different length posts of the U-shaped fasteners allow insertion of a longer first post in a first furniture member to help align the second furniture member before insertion of the second shorter post. Post receiving bight inserts made of a polymeric material can be installed through upholstery layers of the furniture member and provide a sliding fit to receive the posts of the U-shaped fastener. Misalignment of the furniture members can also be accommodated by the different post lengths and angular engagement of the U-shaped fasteners.