Title:
Post protector
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A post protector to shield the lower portion or base of a mail box post or fence post from grass trimmers, lawn mowers and other such equipment comprising a plurality of protective panels and a protective panel retainer including at least one strap or panel retainer disposed to engage the outer surface of the plurality of the protective panels to secure the protective panels against the outer surface of the lower portion or base of the post.



Inventors:
Salcedo, Luis A. (Tampa, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/985373
Publication Date:
05/21/2009
Filing Date:
11/15/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B2/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080022614Brick sentryJanuary, 2008Kilpatrick
20070113489Wind spoiler for roofsMay, 2007Kaiser et al.
20090077917Skidproof floor material combining a skidproof technology with production of a modelling totemMarch, 2009Lai
20090049776STABLE AND EFFICIENT BUILDING SYSTEMFebruary, 2009Lim
20060150535Special urban transformation centerJuly, 2006Garcia-fuentes De
20060230695Window shutter systemOctober, 2006Swergold
20050183372Building block comprising light transmitting fibres and a method for producing the sameAugust, 2005Losonczi
20080010922Curtain-Type Facade StructureJanuary, 2008Wagner
20090199495WEATHERSTRIP FOR DOUBLE-HUNG WINDOW ASSEMBLYAugust, 2009Garries et al.
20010015038"S" panel storm shutter systemAugust, 2001Cadalso
20050193643Modular containment unitSeptember, 2005Pettus



Primary Examiner:
GITLIN, MATTHEW J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ARTHUR W. FISHER III (TAMPA, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A post protector to protect the exterior of the lower portion of a mail box post or fence post from grass trimmers, lawn mowers and other such equipment comprising a plurality of protective panels and a protective panel retainer disposed to engage the outer surface of the plurality of the protective panels to secure the protective panels against the outer surface of the lower portion of the post.

2. The post protector of claim 1 wherein said plurality of protective panels includes a substantially flat front protective panel, a substantially flat rear protective panel and a pair of substantially flat side protective panels.

3. The post protector of claim 2 wherein said protective panel retainer includes an upper panel retainer and a lower panel retainer.

4. The post protector of claim 3 wherein said substantially flat front protective panel and said substantially flat rear protective panel each comprises an outer surface having an upper retainer groove and a lower retainer groove formed therein to receive at least a portion of said upper panel retainer and at least a portion of said lower panel retainer respectively, and each said substantially flat side protective panel comprises an outer surface having an upper retainer groove and a lower retainer groove or recess formed therein to receive at least a portion of said upper panel retainer and at least a portion of said lower panel retainer respectively.

5. The post protector of claim 4 wherein the center line of said lower retainer groove is less than about two inches above the lower edge of said substantially flat front protective panel and said lower edge of the substantially flat rear protective panel, the center line of the lower retainer groove or recess is less than about two inches above the lower edge of each said substantially flat side protective panel.

6. The post protector of claim 5 wherein the center line of each said upper retainer groove is at least about five inches above the center line of the corresponding lower retainer groove.

7. The post protector of claim 6 wherein said upper panel retainer and said lower panel retainer each comprises an elongated element including a first securing member formed on the surface thereof and a second securing member including an aperture with a locking element disposed to selectively engage each other to secure said upper panel retainer and said lower panel retainer to the outer surface of said plurality of protective panels.

8. The post protector of claim 1 wherein each said protective panel comprises an outer surface having a retainer groove formed therein to receive at least a portion of said panel retainer.

9. The post protector of claim 8 wherein said panel retainer comprises an elongated element including a first securing member formed on the surface thereof and a second securing member including an aperture with locking element each disposed to selectively engage the other to secure said panel retainer at least partially within said retainer groove.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

A post protector to protect the exterior of the lower portion of a fence post or mail box support from damage when trimming grass and the base thereof.

2. Description of the Prior Art

In the course of cutting the grass, residents or lawn care professionals often use a trimmer to trim grass growing close to the base of a mailbox post or fence post. Such devices generally comprise an electric or gasoline-operated motor that drives a spool hub that feeds line to cut the grass at the base of such posts. The flexible line used in these grass trimmers is designed and selected for durability with a hardness that resists wear when striking hard objects. As a result the flexible line causes damage and wear along the base of wooden mailbox and fence posts when trimming grass close to the base. After repeated grass cutting and trimmings, the periphery of the base of the posts experience significant wear. As such posts are usually made of pressure-treated wood, the wearing away of the outer wood surface exposes the interior thereof. Over time, the wood along the worn base of the wooden post deteriorates.

Similarly, lawn mowers can gouge the base of the wooden post in the operator's effort to cut the grass as close as possible to the post, causing damage. As a result numerous efforts have been undertaken to protect the base of these wooden posts. Several examples are noted below.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,516,365 shows an assembly for supporting a past including first and second opposed surfaces. The surfaces are attached to opposing sides of the post by screws.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,874,149 describes a post support for securing a post in the ground comprising an elongated ground-engaging spike driven into the ground and a post support hollow container. The fixed wall sections are nailed or fastened to the post.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,622,356 teaches a post protector for protecting a fence post from damage by lawn care tools such as lawn trimmers, mowers, or clippers. The post protector is three-paneled with a front panel, and a second and third panel nailed or screwed to the fence post.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,832,675 relates to a prefabricated flashing for post bases comprising two pieces having a nailing flange which fits snugly around a post with a total of eight nail holes to receive nails therethrough.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,134,636 shows a post support having a post receiving box including a pair of adjacent sides including holes to receive lag bolts therethrough.

U.S. 2005/0005540 shows a mailbox or wooden post protector made of a unitary, resistantly-flexible plastic material, having four walls and an opening within one of the walls for installation around the base of the wooden post. A pressure sensitive adhesive is applied to one or both edges at the opening to secure closed the opening after installation.

U.S. 2005/0274938 describes a protected wooden post having a coating of a hardened protective material that surrounds the peripheral surface of the post to protect the wood thereunder from marring and abrasion, typically from the use of a nylon string trimmer to trim grass and weeds from around the base of the embedded post. A hardenable protective coating can be applied to a wooden post, either before the wooden post is installed into the ground, or after the wooden post is embedded into the ground. Typical wooden posts include mailbox posts, swing set posts, fence posts and telephone poles. The hardened protective coating typically includes a UV protector to diminish the effect of UV light from sunlight on the integrity of the protective coating material.

Additional examples of the prior art are found in U.S. Pat. No. 1,999,098; U.S. Pat. No. 4,779,389; U.S. Pat. No. 5,328,156; U.S. Pat. No. 6,039,298; U.S. Pat. No. 6,308,926; U.S. Pat. No. 6,527,255 and U.S. Pat. No. 7,104,525.

Notwithstanding, a need still exists for an effective, inexpensive means for preventing the wear of the base of wooden posts by grass trimmers and lawn mowers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a post protector to shield or protect the lower portion or base of a mail box post or fence post secured in the ground.

The post protector comprises a plurality of protective panels and a protective panel retainer to secure the post protector to the exterior of the post.

Each protective panel comprises an outer surface having at least one retainer groove or recess formed therein to receive a portion of the protector panel retainer.

The protective panel retainer comprises an elongated element having a first locking member and a second locking member configured to engage each other to secure the protective panels in place on the post to shield the post from damage from grass trimmers, lawn mowers or similar hazard.

Specifically, the protective panels are positioned against the outer surface of the base while the protective panel retainer is placed against the outer surface of the protective panels to secure the protective panels in place around the base of the post.

The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements, and arrangement of parts which will be exemplified in the construction hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a fuller understanding of the nature and object of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of the post protector of the present invention and a post to be protected.

FIG. 2 is a top view of the post protector of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a front view of a front or rear protective panel of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a top view of a front or rear protective panel of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a front view of a side protective panel of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a top view of a side protective panel of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a end view of a front, rear or side protective panel of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a top view of a protective panel retainer of the present invention.

Similar reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As best shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the present invention relates to a post protector generally indicated as 10 to shield or protect the lower portion or base 12 of a mail box post or fence post generally indicated as 14 that extends above the lower end 16 which is secured in the ground.

The post protector 10 comprises a plurality of protective panels including a substantially flat front protective panel generally indicated as 18, a substantially flat rear protective panel generally indicated as 20 and a pair of substantially flat side protective panels each generally as 22 and a protective panel retainer including an upper panel retainer generally indicated as 24 and a lower panel retainer generally indicated as 26 to secure the protective panels 18/20/22 of the post protector 10 to the exterior of the lower portion or base 12 of the post 14.

As best shown in FIGS. 2 through 4 and 7, the substantially flat front protective panel 18 and the substantially flat rear protective panel 20 each comprises an outer surface 28 having an upper retainer groove or recess 30 and a lower retainer groove or recess 32 formed therein to receive at least a portion of the upper panel retainer 24 and at least a portion of the lower panel retainer 26 respectively. The center line 34 of the lower retainer groove or recess 32 is preferably less than about two inches above the lower edge 36 of the substantially flat front protective panel 18 and the lower edge 36 of the substantially flat rear protective panel 20 and more preferably less than about one inch above the lower edges 36. The center line 38 of the upper retainer groove or recess 30 is preferably at least about five inches above the center line 34 of the lower retainer groove or recess 32 and more preferably at least about six inches above the center line 34 of the respective lower retainer groove or recess 32.

As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, the edge 40 of each side or end 42 of the substantially flat front protective panel 18 and the substantially flat rear protective panel 20 is beveled at a forty-five degree angle to engage the correspondingly beveled edge 44 of each side or end 46, FIGS. 2 and 6, of the adjacent substantially flat side protective panel 22.

As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 5 through 7, each substantially flat side protective panel 22 comprises an outer surface 48 having an upper retainer groove or recess 50 and a lower retainer groove or recess 52 formed therein to receive at least a portion of the upper panel retainer 24 and at least a portion of the lower panel retainer 26 respectively. The center line 54 of the lower retainer groove or recess 32 is preferably less than about two inches above the lower edge 56 of the substantially flat side protective panel 22 and more preferably less than about one inch above the lower edge 56. The center line 58 of the upper retainer groove or recess 50 is preferably at least about five inches above the center line 54 of the lower retainer groove or recess 52 and more preferably at least about six inches above the center line 54 of the lower strap groove or recess 52.

As best shown in FIG. 8, the upper panel retainer 24 and the lower panel retainer 26 each comprises an elongated substantially flat element or strap 60 including a first locking or securing member comprising a plurality of locking teeth or elements 62 formed on the surface thereof having a tip portion 64 formed on one end thereof and a second locking or securing member comprising a buckle-like element 66 including an aperture 68 with locking elements 70 formed on the opposite end portion thereof.

Once the lower end 16 of the post 14 is anchored in the ground, the post protector 10 can be secured in position around the lower portion or base 12 thereof to shield the post 14 from damage from grass trimmers, lawn mowers and similar hazards.

Specifically, the substantially flat protective panels 18, 20 and 22 are, appropriately placed around the base 12 of the post 14 and held against the corresponding outer surface of the base 12 of the post 14 such that the beveled edges 40 and 44 of adjacent substantially flat protective panels 18, 20 and 22 engage each other as the inner surface of the substantially flat protective panels 18, 20 and 22 engage corresponding outer surfaces of the base 12 of the post 14. The upper panel retainer 24 and the lower panel retainer 26 are then placed in the upper retainer grooves or recesses 30 and 50 of the substantially flat protective panels 18, 20 and 22 and the lower retainer grooves or recesses 32 and 52 of the substantially flat protective panels 18, 20 and 22 respectively. The panel retainers 24 and 26 are then secured on the post 14 by passing the tip portion 64 of each panel retainer 24 and 26 through the corresponding aperture 68 of the corresponding panel retainer 24 and 26 and drawn tightly into the corresponding recess 30/50 and 32/52 respectively. The locking elements 70 of the second securing or locking member engage a locking tooth 62 of the corresponding first locking or securing member to secure the substantially flat protective panels 18, 20 and 22 against the base 12 of the post 14. It should be noted that an adhesive may be used to hold the substantially plat protective panels 18, 20 and 22 in place during the assembly process.

It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description are efficiently attained and since certain changes may be made in the above construction without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawing shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.

Now that the invention has been described,