Title:
Gate building kit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hardware kit for constructing a gate frame from standard board lumber includes a triple-junction bracket for joining three board members including a first horizontal board member and first and second equal length non-horizontal board members, and two mirror-image double-junction brackets each joining one of the non-horizontal members to a lower horizontal member of the frame. The triple-junction bracket has two attachment surfaces offset by 90 degrees, one of the surfaces having two attachment lengths diverging at an acute angle. Each double-junction bracket has a first attachment surface orthogonal to second and third attachment surfaces, the second attachment surface extending at an obtuse angle with respect to the third attachment surface, the obtuse angle exceeding 90 degrees by a number of degrees equal to half of the acute angle.



Inventors:
Cruzan, Donald B. (Carmichael, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/903381
Publication Date:
03/26/2009
Filing Date:
09/21/2007
Assignee:
Elixer Industries, Inc. (Gardena, CA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B96/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AKBASLI, ALP A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SNELL & WILMER LLP (OC) (COSTA MESA, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hardware kit for facilitating construction of a wooden frame for a gate using standard board lumber, the kit comprising: a triple-junction bracket for joining three board members, including a first horizontal board member and first and second non-horizontal board members; and two double-junction brackets, each for joining a second horizontal board member to one of the non-horizontal board members.

2. The hardware kit of claim 1 wherein the triple-junction bracket comprises a first planar attachment surface angularly offset from a second planar attachment surface by about 90 degrees.

3. The hardware kit of claim 2 wherein the first planar attachment surface includes two frame member attachment lengths extending from the second planar attachment surface and defining an acute angle between the two frame member attachment lengths.

4. The hardware kit of claim 1 wherein the triple-junction bracket defines a sight hole for locating the triple-junction bracket on one of the frame members.

5. The hardware kit of claim 1 wherein the double-junction brackets are mirror-image brackets.

6. The hardware kit of claim 1 wherein each double-junction bracket further comprises first, second, and third planar attachment surfaces, the first planar attachment surface orthogonal to both the second and third planar attachment surfaces.

7. The hardware kit of claim 6 wherein for each double-junction bracket the first planar attachment surface is hexagonal.

8. The hardware kit of claim 7 wherein the first planar attachment surface and the second planar attachment surface share a common edge.

9. The hardware kit of claim 8 wherein the second planar attachment surface and the third planar attachment surface share a common edge from which the second planar attachment surface extends at an obtuse angle with respect to the third planar attachment surface.

10. The hardware kit of claim 9 wherein the triple-junction bracket comprises a first planar attachment surface angularly offset from a second planar attachment surface by about 90 degrees, the second planar attachment surface of the triple-junction bracket having two frame member attachment lengths extending from the first planar attachment surface of the triple-junction bracket and forming an acute angle between the two frame member attachment lengths; and wherein the obtuse angle between the second and third planar attachment surfaces of each double-junction bracket exceeds ninety degrees by a number of degrees approximately equal to half of the acute angle formed between the two frame member attachment lengths.

11. The hardware kit of claim 1 wherein the non-horizontal board members are of equal length.

12. A triple-junction bracket for joining three members of a gate frame, comprising: a first planar attachment surface angularly offset from a second planar attachment surface by about 90 degrees and including two frame member attachment lengths extending from the second planar attachment surface and defining an acute angle between the two frame member attachment lengths.

13. The triple-junction bracket of claim 12 defining a sight hole for locating the triple-junction bracket on a frame member supported by the second planar attachment surface.

14. The triple-junction bracket of claim 12 formed from a heptagonal plate.

15. The triple-junction bracket of claim 12 wherein the two frame member attachment lengths form a notch having an apex displaced from the second planar attachment surface by a distance less than a width of either of the frame member attachment lengths.

16. A double-junction bracket for joining two members of a gate frame, comprising: first, second, and third planar attachment surfaces; wherein the first planar attachment surface is orthogonal to both the second and third planar attachment surfaces.

17. The double-junction bracket of claim 16 wherein the first planar attachment surface is hexagonal.

18. The double-junction bracket of claim 17 the first planar attachment surface and the second planar attachment surface share a common edge.

19. The double-junction bracket of claim 18 wherein the second planar attachment surface and the third planar attachment surface share a common edge from which the second planar attachment surface extends at an obtuse angle with respect to the third planar attachment surface.

20. The double-junction bracket of claim 18 wherein the first planar attachment surface forms an irregular hexagon having two edges parallel to the second planar attachment surface.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to hardware for constructing gates, and more specifically to a hardware kit for constructing a wooden gate.

2. Description of Related Art

For homeowners and professionals alike, gate construction is often the most difficult aspect to constructing a fence. One common design for constructing a gate calls for a Z-shaped frame that supports a row of parallel planks extending from a ground position below the lower horizontal member of the Z to a high position above the upper horizontal member of the Z, where the distance from the ground position to the high position is approximately the height of the fence. Each plank is typically fastened to the Z-shaped frame along the diagonal member and along both horizontal members. Hinges are attached to the ends of the horizontal members at one side for connecting the gate to a fence post.

The design described in the preceding paragraph is certainly easier to express in words than it is to construct by hand. The gate builder typically struggles with the frame members and planks, trying to line them up properly for construction. The frame members can be difficult to assemble because the Z-shaped frame positioned vertically has a tendency to rack (or collapse) during assembly when the diagonal member is being attached, or when there is nothing supporting the free end of the upper horizontal member. If instead the frame members are positioned horizontally on the ground, it becomes difficult to maintain the proper angle or positioning of the diagonal member with respect to the horizontal members while subjecting those same members to the forces of hammering or drilling. A more reliable way to quickly assemble a wooden gate is long overdue.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a hardware kit for building a wooden gate that is safe, secure, and durable. The kit allows an assembler to construct a gate frame from standard board lumber in a capital Roman numeral V configuration, having two non-horizontal members that form a V between an upper horizontal member and a lower horizontal member. The assembler may then attach a row of parallel planks and other hardware to the frame to complete the gate.

The kit includes a triple-junction bracket joining the upper horizontal member and the two non-horizontal members of the frame, and two mirror-image double-junction brackets each joining one of the non-horizontal members to the lower horizontal member of the frame. The triple-junction bracket has two attachment surfaces offset by 90 degrees, one of the surfaces having two attachment lengths diverging at an acute angle. Each double-junction bracket has a first attachment surface orthogonal to second and third attachment surfaces. The second attachment surface of the double junction bracket extends at an obtuse angle with respect to the third attachment surface, and the obtuse angle exceeds 90 degrees by a number of degrees equal to half of the acute angle between the two attachment surfaces of the triple-junction bracket. The brackets are preferably formed from galvanized or stainless steel plate, the triple-junction bracket formed from an irregular heptagonal plate and the double-junction bracket formed from an irregular hexagonal plate. To facilitate assembly, the triple-junction bracket may define a notch or a sight hole for locating the triple-junction bracket on a frame member. A plurality of holes may be provided in both brackets for attaching the brackets to the frame members with wood screws.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other systems, methods, features and advantages of the invention will be or will become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the invention, and be protected by the accompanying claims. Component parts shown in the drawings are not necessarily to scale, and may be exaggerated to better illustrate the important features of the invention. In the drawings, like reference numerals designate like parts throughout the different views, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a frontal view of a wooden gate constructed using a gate kit according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a frontal view of one embodiment of a double-junction bracket according to the invention.

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the double-junction bracket of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a left side view of the double-junction bracket of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is an isometric drawing of the double-junction bracket of FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is a frontal view of one embodiment of a triple-junction bracket according to the invention.

FIG. 7 is a top view of the triple-junction bracket of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a right side view of the triple-junction bracket of FIG. 6.

FIG. 9 is an isometric drawing of the triple-junction bracket of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a hardware kit for building a safe, secure, and durable gate for a wooden fence using standard board lumber. The hardware kit includes two types of brackets to be used in combination for quick and easy construction of a frame for the gate. In one embodiment, a hardware kit according to the invention provides a means for constructing a gate frame in the shape of an inverted capital Roman numeral V, having two non-horizontal members that form the V, one horizontal member bordering the top of the V, and another horizontal member bordering the bottom of the V. The non-horizontal members may have the same length or different lengths. A triple-junction bracket joins the non-horizontal members and one of the horizontal members at the apex of the V, and each of two double-junction brackets joins a non-horizontal member with the other horizontal member on the opposite side of the V. The double-junction brackets may be a set of mirror-image brackets consisting of a left-hand double-junction bracket and a right-hand double-junction bracket. Other embodiments of the kit are possible that include a combination of one or more triple-junction brackets and one or more double-junction brackets, for example, to construct a frame having multiple V's. Throughout the disclosure, the term double-junction implies a bracket that connects two members, and the term triple-junction implies a bracket that connects three members.

FIG. 1 illustrates a wooden gate 100 constructed using a gate kit according to one embodiment of the invention. The gate kit includes a left-hand double-junction bracket 11, a triple-junction bracket 13, and a right-hand double-junction bracket 15. These three brackets provide a means for constructing a frame for gate 100 that consists of an upper horizontal member 17, a lower horizontal member 19, a left non-horizontal member 21, and a right non-horizontal member 23. As shown, the left-hand double-junction bracket 11 joins the left non-horizontal member 21 to the lower horizontal member 19. The triple-junction bracket 13 joins both the left non-horizontal member 21 and the right non-horizontal member 23 to the upper horizontal member 17. And the right-hand double-junction bracket 15 joins the right non-horizontal member 23 to the lower horizontal member 19 to complete the frame. The horizontal and non-horizontal members may be cut from standard board lumber such as common softwood or hardwood two-by-four.

A row of parallel planks 25 may be fastened to the frame and typically extend from a ground position below the lower horizontal member 19 to a high position above the upper horizontal member 17, as shown. A hinge 27 may be fastened to one end of each of the horizontal members 17 and 19 to prepare gate 100 for installation to a fence post. Conventional wood screws may be used to connect the horizontal and non-horizontal members 17, 19, 21, and 23 to the brackets 11, 13, and 15, and to connect hinges 27 to a fence post and to horizontal members 17 and 19. In one embodiment, a kit according to the invention may include hinges 27 and a sufficient quantity of wood screws.

FIG. 2 shows a frontal view of one embodiment of a double-junction bracket 11 according to the invention. FIG. 3 shows a bottom view of double-junction bracket 11, and FIG. 4 shows a left side view of double-junction bracket 11. Double junction bracket 11 may be formed from a metal plate, for example, by stamping, cutting, bending, and drilling. The metal may be any material suitable for the purpose of connecting wooden frame sections, such as aluminum, iron, carbon steel, stainless steel, or a metal that is coated, plated, or galvanized. The metal plate may have a thickness suitable for bending to form planes up to 90 degrees without introducing undue risk of fatigue or fracture. For example, plate thickness suitable for forming brackets according to the invention may be between about 1/32 inches and about 1/16 inches. Thicknesses in this range are typically suitable for residential gate construction. As the scale of construction increases for heavier duty, greater plate thicknesses may be used.

Double-junction bracket 11 joins a horizontal frame member to a non-horizontal frame member lying substantially in the same plane as the horizontal frame member. To accomplish this securely, double-junction bracket 11 provides a first planar attachment surface 29, a second planar attachment surface 31, and a third planar attachment surface 33. The first planar attachment surface 29 is preferably orthogonal to both second planar attachment surface 31 and third planar attachment surface 33. In other words, a line normal to the plane defined by planar attachment surface 29 is orthogonal to a line normal to the plane defined by planar attachment surface 31 and orthogonal to a line normal to the plane defined by planar attachment surface 33. The second planar attachment surface 31 may extend at an angle α with respect to the third planar attachment surface 33. Preferably, angle α is an obtuse angle between 90 and 180 degrees, and corresponds to an angle that a non-horizontal member 21 or 23 makes with respect to a horizontal member 17 or 19. In one embodiment, angle α is about 108 degrees.

In one embodiment, planar attachment surface 29 has a first portion 35 for aligning with a non-horizontal frame member, and a second portion 37 for aligning with a horizontal frame member. In one embodiment, the borderline between first portion 35 and second portion 37 of planar attachment surface 29 lies in the plane defined by planar attachment surface 33. Planar attachment surface 29 may form various shapes, such as a rectangle, a pentagon, or a hexagon. In the embodiment shown throughout the figures, planar attachment surface 29 forms an irregular hexagon having two edges 41 and 43 that are parallel to planar attachment surface 31. A plurality of screw holes 39 may be cut or drilled through any of planar attachment surfaces 29, 31, and 33 to facilitate fastening double-junction bracket 11 to the frame members.

FIG. 5 shows an isometric drawing of the double-junction bracket of FIG. 2. This drawing illustrates an embodiment where common edges are shared between two planar attachment surfaces. Edge 41 is shared between or borders planar attachment surface 29 and planar attachment surface 31. Edge 45 is shared between or borders planar attachment surface 31 and planar attachment surface 33.

FIG. 6 shows a frontal view of one embodiment of a triple-junction bracket 13 according to the invention. FIG. 7 shows a top view of triple-junction bracket 13, and FIG. 8 shows a right side view of triple-junction bracket 13. The formation, material composition, and range of thickness for triple-junction bracket 13 may be similar or identical to that of double-junction bracket 11. Triple-junction bracket 13 may be formed from a quadrilateral, pentagonal, hexagonal, or other geometric shape. In the embodiment shown, triple-junction bracket is formed from an irregular heptagonal plate. A plurality of screw holes 39 may be cut or drilled through planar attachment surfaces 47 and 49 to facilitate fastening triple-junction bracket 13 to the frame members.

Triple-junction bracket 13 may form a first planar attachment surface 47 and a second planar attachment surface 49. In one embodiment, first planar attachment surface 47 may be angularly offset from second planar attachment surface by an angle β between 0 and 180 degrees. Preferably, angle β is about 90 degrees. In the embodiment shown, planar attachment surface 47 includes two frame member attachment lengths 51 and 53. These lengths may extend away from the second planar attachment surface 49 and diverge, defining an angle γ between frame member attachment length 51 and frame member attachment length 53, as shown. Preferably, angle γ is an acute angle between 0 and 90 degrees.

In one embodiment of a gate kit according to the invention, the obtuse angle α formed between second planar attachment surface 31 and third planar attachment surface 33 of a double-junction bracket 11 or 15 exceeds 90 degrees by a number of degrees approximately equal to half of the acute angle γ formed between the frame member attachment lengths 51 and 52 of triple-junction bracket 13. This design constraint allows gate kit 100 to align its brackets for attachment to frame members assembled in an inverted capital Roman numeral V configuration. By supporting the horizontal members 17 and 19 with two non-horizontal members 21 and 23 sloping in opposite directions, the invention provides a stronger and more secure gate structure. Moreover, unlike the conventional Z-frame gate, an inverted capital Roman numeral V is far less susceptible to racking or collapse during assembly, particularly with brackets 11, 13, and 15 already installed on the horizontal members 17 and 19 in preparation to receive and fasten to the non-horizontal members 21 and 23.

In one embodiment, frame member attachment lengths 51 and 53 form a notch 55 having an apex 57 displaced from planar attachment surface 49 by a distance, D, that is less than a width, W, of either of the frame member attachment lengths 51 and 53. The reason for this dimensional constraint is to help the assembler center or otherwise properly locate the triple-junction bracket 47 on the surface of a horizontal member 17 or 19. The width W may be approximately equal to the width of a non-horizontal member such as a two-by-four (see FIG. 1). If a horizontal member having the same width is used, for example, as horizontal member 17, then as long as distance D is less than W, there will be a viewable area at apex 57 through which assembler may view a carpenter's mark or centering line drawn onto the surface of horizontal member 17. In other words, as long as the bracket area above the notch doesn't completely cover the horizontal member, the assembler can see a pencil mark for centering the bracket.

Another way to allow an assembler to view a carpenter's mark is by providing a sight hole. This feature is also shown in FIG. 6. Triple-junction bracket 13 may define a sight hole 59 that is formed, drilled or stamped at any convenient location through planar attachment surface 47. Sight hole 59 is preferably located along a centerline to facilitate centering triple-junction bracket 13 on a horizontal member 17 or 19 that is marked for that purpose.

FIG. 9 shows an isometric drawing of the triple-junction bracket of FIG. 6. This drawing illustrates another embodiment where common edges are shared between two planar attachment surfaces. Edge 61 is shared between or borders planar attachment surface 47 and planar attachment surface 49.

A gate building kit 100 according to the invention greatly streamlines and simplifies the otherwise cumbersome process of constructing a wooden gate. The construction process may be completed in three easy phases. These phases are described below for one example of a particular size of gate frame built from common two-by-fours according to the invention.

In the first phase, the frame members are cut. The assembler cuts two 42-inch two-by-fours to serve as the upper horizontal member 17 and the lower horizontal member 19. The assembler then cuts two 37 11/16″ (net) two-by-fours with a 72-degree angle at each end. An edge of the double-junction bracket, such as edge 63, may be conveniently used to mark each two-by-four for cutting the 72-degree angle. When cut, these two-by-fours serve as the non-horizontal members 21 and 23.

In the second phase, brackets are attached to the frame members. The assembler marks a vertical centerline on the upper horizontal member 17 at its 21-inch center, and places the triple-junction bracket 13 over the centerline. The centerline is viewable through notch area 55 or sight hole 59. The assembler then fastens the triple-junction bracket 13 to the top surface and front surface of upper horizontal member 17 by driving wood screws through holes 39.

The assembler then marks the lower horizontal member 19 with a vertical line six inches from each end. The mirror-image double-junction brackets (right-hand and left-hand) are then placed at their respective ends, and aligned for fastening by lining up one side of second portion 37 to its respective vertical line while planar surface 33 rests on the upper side of lower horizontal member 19. Wood screws are then used to fasten each double-junction bracket to the lower horizontal member through holes 39 in second portion 37 and holes in planar surface 33.

The assembler then places the upper and lower horizontal members 17 and 19 (on the ground) in parallel relation separated by about 36 inches. The assembler then installs non-horizontal members 21 and 23 into the brackets as shown in FIG. 1, and attaches them through holes 39 using a corresponding number of wood screws. A gate frame according to the invention

In the third and final phase, the assembler installs the row of parallel planks 25 by fastening them to the sides of the frame members that are opposite the brackets using nails or wood screws. The assembler may complete the gate construction by adding a latch and hinges, and fasten the hinges to a fence post to complete the installation.

The invention has been disclosed in an illustrative style. Accordingly, the terminology employed throughout should be read in an exemplary rather than a limiting manner. Although minor modifications of the present invention will occur to those well versed in the art, it shall be understood that what is intended to be circumscribed within the scope of the patent warranted hereon are all such embodiments that reasonably fall within the scope of the advancement to the art hereby contributed, and that that scope shall not be restricted, except in light of the appended claims and their equivalents.