Title:
Baluster
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A baluster includes first and second posts both made of wood. The first post has a longitudinal engaging end portion including a first annular shoulder face, an annular protrusion projecting outwardly and axially from the first annular shoulder face, and a longitudinal receiving hole formed in the engaging end portion and extending through an end face of the annular protrusion. The second post has a longitudinal connecting end portion connected longitudinally to the engaging end portion and including a second annular shoulder face, a longitudinal engaging pillar fitted in the receiving hole, and an annular groove provided in the second annular shoulder face around the engaging pillar. The annular protrusion extends into the annular groove when the engaging pillar is fitted in the receiving hole.



Inventors:
Chung, Min-ju (Taichung Hsien, TW)
Application Number:
12/001023
Publication Date:
06/11/2009
Filing Date:
12/07/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F11/18; E04C3/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
QUAST, ELIZABETH A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARSHALL & MELHORN, LLC (TOLEDO, OH, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A baluster comprising: a first post made of wood and having a longitudinal engaging end portion, said engaging end portion having a first annular shoulder face, an annular protrusion projecting outwardly and axially from said first annular shoulder face, and a longitudinal receiving hole formed in said engaging end portion and extending through an end face of said annular protrusion; and a second post made of wood and having a longitudinal connecting end portion connected longitudinally to said engaging end portion, said connecting end portion having a second annular shoulder face, a longitudinal engaging pillar extending outwardly from said second annular shoulder face and fitted in said receiving hole, and an annular groove provided in said second annular shoulder face around said engaging pillar, said annular protrusion extending into said annular groove when said engaging pillar is fitted in said receiving hole.

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

3. The baluster of claim 2, wherein said first post further has a post section extending between said tenon and said engaging end portion and having a square-shaped cross section.

4. The baluster of claim 1, wherein said second post further has a tapered end portion longitudinally opposite to said connecting end portion and having a substantially conical shape, and a decorative portion between said tapered end portion and said connecting end portion.

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

2. Description of the Related Art

Referring to FIG. 1, a conventional baluster 1 made of a long section of wood material 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 handrail 200 (shown in phantom lines), and a decorative section 103 connected between the bottom and tapered connecting sections 101, 102. A coating layer 2 is provided on outer surfaces of the bottom and tapered connecting sections 101, 102 and the decorative section 103. 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 a section of wood material that is long enough so as to be turned in a wood lathe to form the desired design. Such a process results in large waste of wood material. Further, it is very difficult to obtain such a long section of wood material.

Referring to FIG. 2, another conventional baluster 6 includes interconnected first and second posts 3, 4. The first post 3 has an engaging end portion 301, in the form of an engaging pillar. The second post 4 has a connecting end portion 401 provided with a receiving hole 402 to receive engagingly the engaging end portion 301 of the first post 3. Through engagement of the engaging end portion 301 and the connecting end portion 401, the first and second posts 3, 4 are connected to each other to form the baluster 6, after which a coating layer 5 is provided on outer surfaces of the first and second posts 3, 4.

Although wood sections for the conventional baluster 6 can be obtained more easily because the first and second posts 3, 4 are shorter as compared to the baluster 1, interconnection of the first and second posts 3, 4 is poor, such that when a sideward force is acted upon the baluster 6 during its use or transport, cracks may form in the coating layer 5 at an area of the same corresponding to a junction of the first and second posts 3, 4. Such cracks may lead to damage of the baluster 6 and adversely affect an overall appearance of the baluster 6.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide a baluster that has a strong structure at a junction thereof and that can prevent cracking of a coating layer.

According to this invention, a baluster comprises first and second posts. The first post is made of wood, and has a longitudinal engaging end portion. The engaging end portion has a first annular shoulder face, an annular protrusion projecting outwardly and axially from the first annular shoulder face, and a longitudinal receiving hole formed in the engaging end portion and extending through an end face of the annular protrusion. The second post is made of wood, and has a longitudinal connecting end portion connected longitudinally to the engaging end portion. The connecting end portion has a second annular shoulder face, a longitudinal engaging pillar extending outwardly from the second annular shoulder face and fitted in the receiving hole, and an annular groove provided in the second annular shoulder face around the engaging pillar. The annular protrusion extends into the annular groove when the engaging pillar is fitted in the receiving hole.

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 sectional view of a conventional baluster;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary sectional view of another conventional baluster;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary exploded sectional view of the preferred embodiment of a baluster according to the present invention;

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

FIG. 5 is an assembled sectional view of the preferred embodiment in a state of use.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIGS. 3 to 5, the preferred embodiment of a baluster according to the present invention is shown to comprise a first post 10, a second post 20, and a coating layer 30.

The first post 10 is made of wood, and has a longitudinal engaging end portion 11, a tenon 12 that projects longitudinally and outwardly from the first post 10 opposite to the engaging end portion 11, and a post section 13 extending between the tenon 12 and the engaging end portion 11 and having a square-shaped cross section. The engaging end portion 11 is stepped, and has a first annular shoulder face 111, an annular protrusion 113 projecting outwardly and axially from the first annular shoulder face 111, and a longitudinal receiving hole 112 formed in the engaging end portion 11 and extending through an end face of the annular protrusion 113.

The second post 20 is made of wood, and is connected fixedly to the first post 10 along the longitudinal direction. The second post 20 has a longitudinal connecting end portion 21, a tapered end portion 22 longitudinally opposite to the connecting end portion 21 and having a substantially conical shape, and a decorative portion 24 between the connecting end portion 21 and the tapered end portion 22. The connecting end portion 21 has a second annular shoulder face 211, a longitudinal engaging pillar 212 extending outwardly from the second annular shoulder face 211 and fitted in the receiving hole 112, and an annular groove 213 formed in the second annular shoulder face 211 around the engaging pillar 212.

The 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. 4, to assemble the baluster of the present invention, the engaging end portion 11 of the first post 10 and the connecting end portion 21 of the second post 20 are inter-engaged by inserting fittingly the engaging pillar 212 into the receiving hole 112 until the annular protrusion 113 extends into the annular groove 213. At this time, the first and second annular shoulder faces 111, 211 are proximate to each other. Hence, through the double engaging structure of the first and second posts 10, 20 of the baluster of the present invention, a junction of the first and second posts 10, 20 is strong.

After the first and second posts 10, 20 are interconnected along the longitudinal direction, primer paint and 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 of the present invention can be as good as the aforementioned conventional baluster 1 (see FIG. 1) which is entirely made of a single long section of wood material. Thus, when the baluster of the present invention is acted upon by a sideward force, the coating layer 30 at the junction of the first and second posts 10, 20 is not likely to crack, so that the appearance of the baluster of the present invention is enhanced, and damage to the baluster is prevented.

In use, with reference to FIG. 5, the tenon 12 provided at one end of the baluster is connected to a flooring 100 (shown in phantom lines), whereas a free end of the tapered end portion 22 of the baluster is embedded in a handrail 200 (shown in phantom lines). After assembly, it is difficult to separate the engaging pillar 212 of the connecting end portion 21 of the second post 20 from the receiving hole 112 in the engaging end portion 11 of the first post 10.

It should be noted that each of the first and second posts 10, 20 is entirely made of wood, and is shorter than when the entire baluster is made from a single section of wood, such as in the case of the conventional baluster 1 shown in FIG. 1 (see FIG. 1). Hence, the wood materials for making the first and second posts 10, 20 can be easily obtained. The wood materials may be selected from the group consisting of oak, maple wood, poplar wood, cherry wood, beech wood, alder wood, and hemlock wood. Alternatively, each of the first and second posts 10, 20 may be made by covering a wood core with a face layer. The wood core may be selected from the group consisting of rubber wood, pine wood, cedar wood, defective higher quality wood, and high density fiber material. The face layer may be selected from the group consisting of oak, maple wood, poplar wood, cherry wood, beech wood, alder wood, and hemlock wood.

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.