WEDGE STRUCTURE KIT


Application Number: 15901831 Application Date: 21.02.2018
Publication Number: 20180235365 Publication Date: 23.08.2018
Publication Kind : A1
IPC:
A47B 88/919
CPC:
A47B 88/919
Applicants: Mark E. LIGGETT
Inventors: Mark E. LIGGETT
Priority Data:
Title: (EN) WEDGE STRUCTURE KIT, CABINET HAVING A WEDGE STRUCTURE, AND METHOD FOR RETROFITTING AN EXISTING CABINET TO HAVE A WEDGE STRUCTURE
Abstract: front page image

(EN)

A kit for retrofitting a cabinet including first wedge section and first two-sided adhesive strip. The first wedge section includes a first slanted surface and a first side surface, the first slanted surface and the first side surface forming an acute angle. The two-sided adhesive strip is used to fix the first side surface at a position inside a front frame of the cabinet and above a drawer such that the first slanted surface faces a storage compartment of the drawer when the drawer is in a closed position.

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CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED INVENTIONS

      This invention claims the benefit of US provisional invention Ser. No. 62/462,845, filed on Feb. 23, 2017, the entirety of which is incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

      The present invention relates generally to a wedge structure provided to push down a utensil or other item that may be protruding up above the top of a drawer as it is being opened.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

      Typical households and offices contain cabinets for storing utensils and other items. One storage option is a drawer, which may be implemented, for example, in a kitchen cabinet, desk, dresser or storage cabinet. Such drawers comprise a storage compartment for storing items according to the preference of the user. For example, a drawer in a kitchen cabinet may be used to store cooking and/or eating utensils, while a drawer in a desk may be used to store pens, rulers and scissors.
      A problem with conventional drawers is that during normal use a utensil or other item may shift to a position where it protrudes up above the top of the drawer as the drawer is being opened. For example, FIG. 1 is a partial side view of a cabinet having a drawer of the prior art. In FIG. 1, a cabinet 900includes a front frame 910 and a drawer 920 having a storage compartment 930. When drawer 920 is slid open in the direction of the arrow, a utensil 940that has shifted to protrude above the vertical side panels 931 of the storage compartment 930 may catch against an interior surface 911 of the front frame910 above the drawer 920, thereby preventing the drawer from being opened.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

      To solve these and other problems in the prior art, a kit for retrofitting an existing cabinet to include a wedge structure is provided. The kit includes a first wedge section having a first slanted surface and a first side surface, wherein the first slanted surface and the first side surface form an acute angle. The kit further includes a first two-sided adhesive strip for fixing the first side surface at a position inside a front frame of the cabinet and above a drawer thereof, such that the first slanted surface faces a storage compartment of the drawer when the drawer is in the closed position. The first two-sided adhesive strip is preferably proportioned to substantially match the shape and size of the first side surface. In other embodiments, an additional two-sided adhesive strip for fixing a top surface of the first wedge section inside the front frame is provided. The kit is installable inside a front frame of a cabinet and above a drawer to form a wedge structure having a slanted driving surface facing a storage compartment of the drawer when the drawer is in the closed position.
      In embodiments of the invention, the kit further includes a second wedge section and a second two-sided adhesive strip. The second wedge section has a second slanted surface and a second side surface. The second slanted surface and the second side surface form an acute angle. The second two-sided adhesive strip is for fixing the second side surface section at in an end-to-end arrangement with the first wedge section, such that the second slanted surface faces the storage compartment of the drawer when the drawer is in the closed position. In some embodiments of the invention, the first wedge section and the second wedge section have different lengths.
      In embodiments of the invention, the kit further includes a bridge structure and two additional two-sided adhesive strips. The two additional two-sided adhesive strips are used for fixing the bridge to the first and second wedge sections when the first and second wedge sections are arranged in an end to end relationship with a gap formed there between. Preferably, the bridge has a major surface, and the additional two-sided adhesive strips are provided in dimensions so as to leave a space of a predetermined width there between when the additional two-sided adhesive strips are adhered on the major surface at opposite ends of the bridge. In alternate embodiments, the additional two-sided adhesive strips are each provided with a plurality of cut lines for providing a plurality of spaces of predetermined widths there between when the additional two-sided adhesive strips are trimmed at the cut lines and then adhered on the major surface at opposite ends of the bridge.
      In some embodiments of the invention, the wedge sections are hollow and in the shape of a triangular prism. In other embodiments, the wedge sections are solid and in the shape of a triangular prism. In still other embodiments, the first wedge section has a v-shaped structure.
      The present invention also provides a cabinet comprising a front frame having an opening, a drawer received in the opening, and a wedge structure disposed inside the front frame, above the drawer and at the opening. The drawer includes a storage compartment and is operable to slide between an open position and a closed position. The wedge structure includes a side surface fixed to the interior surface of the front frame and a slanted driving surface facing the storage compartment of the drawer when the drawer is in the closed position, wherein the slanted driving surface and the side surface form an acute angle. In embodiments of the invention, the wedge structure further includes a top surface fixed to a support strip, a counter or a shelf of the cabinet above the drawer.
      In an embodiment of the invention, the wedge structure includes a first wedge section and a second wedge section, the first and second wedge sections being discrete structures disposed in an end-to-end arrangement. The first wedge section has a first slanted surface and the second wedge has a second slanted surface, wherein the slanted driving surface is comprised of the first and second slanted surfaces.
      In some embodiments of the invention, the first and second wedge sections are abutting. In other embodiments of the invention, the first and second wedge sections are separated by a gap. In embodiments of the invention having a gap, the wedge structure may further include a bridge arranged to span the gap between the first and second wedge sections, wherein the bridge has a third slanted surface, and the slanted driving surface is further comprised of the third slanted surface.
      The present invention also provides a method for retrofitting an existing cabinet comprising a step of fixing a wedge structure inside a front frame cabinet and above a drawer thereof such that a slanted driving surface of the wedge structure faces a storage compartment of the drawer when the drawer is in the closed position. In embodiments of the invention, the method includes fixing the wedge structure on an interior surface of the front frame of the cabinet above the drawer using at least one adhesive strip.
      In embodiments of the invention, the wedge structure includes a first wedge section, a second wedge section, and a bridge, and the step of fixing a wedge structure inside the front frame comprises fixing the first and second wedge sections inside the front frame in an end-to-end arrangement with a gap formed there between, wherein the first wedge section has a first slanted surface and the second wedge has a second slanted surface, and fixing a bridge to span the gap formed between the first and second wedge sections, wherein the bridge has a third slanted surface, and wherein the first, second and third slanted surfaces together comprise the slanted driving surface.
      The foregoing will become better understood from a careful reading of a detailed description provided herein below with appropriate reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

       FIG. 1 is a partial side view of a cabinet having a drawer of the prior art.
       FIGS. 2A-2D are side, perspective and top views of an embodiment of a kit for retrofitting a cabinet of the invention.
       FIGS. 3A-3C are side views of embodiments of a wedge section of the invention.
       FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a kit for retrofitting a cabinet of the invention.
       FIGS. 5A and 5B are perspective and partial top views of yet another embodiment of a kit for retrofitting a cabinet of the invention.
       FIG. 6 is a partial side view of a cabinet that has been retrofit by a kit of the invention.
       FIG. 7 is a partial perspective view of a cabinet that has been retrofit by a kit of the invention.
       FIG. 8 is a partial perspective view of a cabinet that has been retrofit by another kit of the invention.
       FIG. 9 is a partial perspective view of a cabinet that has been retrofit by yet another kit of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

      Below, exemplary embodiments will be described in detail with reference to accompanying drawings so as to be easily realized by a person having ordinary knowledge in the art. The inventive concept may be embodied in various forms without being limited to the exemplary embodiments set forth herein. Descriptions of well-known parts are omitted for clarity, and like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout.
       FIGS. 2A and 2B illustrate a side and perspective view of an embodiment of a kit 10 for retrofitting an existing cabinet. Kit 10 comprises a wedge section 100 and a two-sided adhesive strip 200, which a user may assemble to create a wedge structure inside a cabinet comprising a front frame having an opening and a drawer received in the opening, the drawer operable to slide between an open position and a closed position.
      Wedge section 100 is a wedge-shaped body having a slanted surface 110 and a side surface 120 which together form an acute angle. Suitable materials for the wedge sections include plastic, wood, metal, and/or combinations thereof. It is understood that at least the slanted surface 110 of wedge section 100is sufficiently hard and low in friction that when a utensil or another item is driven onto surface 110, it easily slides across and down the surface. In one embodiment of the invention, the wedge sections are rigid plastic formed by injection molding, blow molding or extrusion molding.
      In FIGS. 2A and 2B, wedge section 100 is a hollow triangular prism including a top surface 130. In another embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3A, the wedge section is a solid triangular prism. FIG. 3B illustrates still another embodiment of the invention in which the wedge section is v-shaped in cross-section.
      Two-sided adhesive strip 200 comprises two oppositely disposed adhesive surfaces 210 and 220. It is understood that two-sided adhesive strip 200 may be provided in a variety of thicknesses, including a thin tape. The thickness two-sided adhesive strip 200 is not drawn to scale in the figures. In embodiments of the invention, the adhesive surfaces are covered by peel away liners (not illustrated) to prevent the strip from adhering to objects before being applied to its use in the kit. In preferred embodiments of the invention, the dimensions of two-sided adhesive strip 200 are proportioned to match the dimensions of side surface 120. For example, the length L 2 and width W 2 of two-sided adhesive strip 200 may be equal to the length L 1 and width W 1 of side surface120. In other embodiments, the length L 2 and width W 2 of two-sided adhesive strip 200 may be slightly smaller than the length L 1 and width W 1 of side surface 120, so as to expose an edge of side surface 120 around the two-sided adhesive strip 200 when the strip is centrally disposed on side surface 120. For example, as illustrated in FIGS. 2C and 2D, a two-sided adhesive strip 200 is adhered on the side surface of wedge section 100 leaving an exposed edge. In embodiments of the invention, the exposed edge is preferably one-tenth of an inch or less.
      As illustrated in FIG. 2A, the cross-section of wedge section 100 forms an isosceles right triangle. In an exemplary embodiment, the length of each leg of the triangle is one inch. An exemplary thickness of the walls of the wedge section 100 is one-eighth of an inch. In embodiments of the invention, the length L1 of wedge section 100 may range from four to sixteen inches. However, it is understood that the invention is not limited to these particular dimensions. The wedge sections of the invention may be sized and shaped to fit inside a cabinet having a drawer of given dimensions. Moreover, in embodiments of the invention, instead of an isosceles right triangle, the length of the slanted surface 110 may be increased or decreased relative to the length of the side surface120 such that the angle formed by the slanted and side surfaces may be greater or smaller that 45 degrees, so long as the angle is sufficient to push down an item/utensil that may be protruding up above the top of the drawer as the drawer is being opened, as opposed to catching against the items. For example, in an embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 3B, the length of side surface 120 may be half of that of top surface 130, resulting in a longer slanted surface 110 and a larger angle formed by the slanted surface 110 and side surface 120.
      In embodiments of the invention, the kit for retrofitting an existing cabinet may include two or more wedge sections and two or more two-sided adhesive strips, which a user may assemble to create a wedge structure inside a cabinet comprising a front frame having an opening and a drawer received in the opening, the drawer operable to slide between an open position and a closed position. For example, in FIG. 4, kit 20 includes a wedge section 100, a wedge section 150, a two-sided adhesive strip 200 and a two-sided adhesive strip 250. As shown in FIG. 4, the dimension of wedge section 100 and wedge section150 are equal, and the dimensions of two-sided adhesive strip 200 and two-sided adhesive strip 250 are equal. In other embodiments, a plurality of wedge sections and two-sided adhesive strips of different dimensions are provided. For example, a kit of the invention may include at least one long wedge section (for example, six inches) and at least one short wedge section (for example, four inches), and corresponding long and short long two-sided adhesive strips.
      It is understood that in embodiments of the invention in which the wedge structure is to be fixed to an interior surface of the front frame of the cabinet, the two-sided adhesive strips are provided in dimensions corresponding to the dimensions of the side surface of the wedge section to be fixed to the front frame. In other embodiments, two-sided adhesive strips are provided in dimensions corresponding to both the side surface of the wedge section to be fixed to the front frame and the top surface of the wedge section, or just the top surface of the wedge section.
      By providing two or more wedge sections with the same or different lengths, a user is able to select one or more of the wedge sections included in the kit to match a width of a drawer to be retrofitted. Alternately, a user is able to leave a space between two wedge sections to accommodate a drawer latch, lock or other protrusive structure that may be present inside the cabinet, and in particular located on the interior surface of the front frame of the cabinet.
      In another embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 5A, a kit 30 includes a wedge section 100, a wedge section 150, a two-sided adhesive strip200, a two-sided adhesive strip 250, a bridge 300, and two additional two-sided adhesive strips 400 and 450, which a user may assemble to create a wedge structure inside a cabinet comprising a front frame having an opening and a drawer received in the opening, the drawer operable to slide between an open position and a closed position. Kit 30 allows a user to arrange wedge section 100 and wedge section 150 in an end to end relationship with a gap formed there between, and fix bridge 300 to wedge sections 100 and 150 so as to span the gap between the slanted sides of the two wedge sections. In embodiments of the invention, bridge 300 is a rectangular panel formed from plastic, metal or wood and adhered to the respective wedge sections by two-sided adhesive strips 400 and 450. It is understood that at least the slanted surface 310 of bridge 300 is sufficiently hard and low in friction that when a utensil or another item is driven onto surface 310, it easily slides across and down the surface. In one embodiment of the invention, the bridge is rigid plastic formed by injection molding, blow molding or extrusion molding.
      The arrangement of the wedge structure having a gap as illustrated in FIG. 9 allows for the accommodation of a drawer latch, lock or other protrusive structure that may be present inside the cabinet, and in particular located on or near the interior surface of the front frame of the cabinet, and extends a driving surface of the wedge structure formed by kit 30 to include the space between the two wedge sections.
      Two-sided adhesive strips 400 and 450 are preferably shaped and sized for affixing the bridge 300 to wedge sections 100 and 150. In one embodiment of the invention, a major surface 310 of bridge 300 is four inches wide and one inch tall, and the bridge 300 is one-eighth of an inch thick. In embodiments of the invention, the length of the major surface of bridge 300 may be the same as a length of the slanted surfaces 110 and 160 such that a top of bridge 300 is substantially flush with the tops of surfaces of wedge sections 100 and 150, as illustrated in FIG. 9. In other embodiments, it may be greater or smaller. Two-sided adhesive strips 400 and 450 may be provided in dimensions to leave a space of a predetermined width W there between when the adhesive strips are adhered on the major surface 310 at opposite ends of bridge 300. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 5B, two-sided adhesive strips 400 and 450 may be provided with predetermined with, such that when they are adhered on the major surface 310 at opposite ends of bridge 300, and then bridge 300 is adhered onto the ends of wedge sections 100 and 150 as illustrated in FIG. 9, a gap predetermined width left between the ends of wedge sections 100 and150. In other embodiments, a plurality of cut lines may be provided on two-sided adhesive strips 400 and 450 (not illustrated). A user may trim two-sided adhesive strips 400 and 450 at a selected one of the lines to obtained a predetermined width of the space when the adhesive strips are adhered on the major surface 310 at opposite ends of bridge 300. In embodiments of the application, the cut lines are numbered or color coded, or employ different thicknesses, so that a user can easily select matching lines when trimming. When the bridge is in turn adhered to two wedge sections 100 and 150 using the adhesive strips as guides (i.e., by matching the overlap of the ends of the wedge sections 100 and 150 with bridge 300 according to the dimension of the adhesive strips), the width of the gap between the wedge sections 100 and 150 can be conveniently customized. In still other embodiments, kit 30 may include additional sizes of strips to allow for the width of the gap to be easily customized.
      Bridge 300 enables a user to further customize the width of a wedge structure formed by two or more wedge sections to fit a given drawer by increasing or decreasing the width of the gap within a range allowed for by the width of the bridge, without leaving a gap in a driving surface formed thereby. In other embodiments of the invention, a kit of the invention may include a bridge structure having two wedge sections and one bridge section as illustrated in FIG. 9, but provided in an integral form. The bridge structure may be formed as an integral structure by, for example, injection or blow molding, or formed by fixing two wedge sections and one bridge section together using an adhesive, screws, or other fixing elements.
       FIGS. 6-9 illustrate embodiments of a cabinet 600 that has been retrofit with kits of the invention. As illustrated in FIG. 6, cabinet 600 includes a front frame 610 having an opening 620. A drawer 630 is received in the opening, the drawer comprising vertical side panels 631 forming a storage compartment632 and being operable to slide between an open position and a closed position. A wedge structure 700 is fixed to an interior surface 611 of the front frame610 at a position just above drawer 630 and near the opening 620. The wedge 700 is arranged such that a slanted driving surface 710 is facing the interior of storage compartment 632. When the drawer 630 is slid open in the direction of the arrow, items such as utensil 650 that have shifted so as to protrude above the vertical side panels 630 of the drawer are driven downward by contact with a slanted driving surface 710 of the wedge structure 700, thereby allowing the drawer to be opened. In other embodiments of the invention, the wedge structure 700 may be instead fixed to a top strip, support strip or counter 640 of the cabinet, or a shelf of the cabinet (not illustrated), or to both the interior surface of the front frame of the cabinet and a top strip, support strip, counter or shelf of the cabinet.
      In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 7, the wedge structure 700 includes a single wedge section 100 as described above in connection with kit 10, having a side surface 120 fixed to the interior surface 611 of the front frame 610 and a slanted surface 110 facing the storage compartment 632 of the drawer 630 when the drawer is in the closed position. In this embodiment, the slanted surface 110 constitutes the slanted driving surface 710 of the wedge structure 700. In embodiments of the invention, the length of wedge section 100 that equals or, as illustrated in FIG. 7, exceeds the width of storage compartment 632.
       FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the application in which cabinet 600 has been retrofit with kit 20 to form wedge structure 700comprising two discrete wedge sections 100 and 150 that are fixed to the interior surface of the front frame 610 in an end-to-end arrangement, with the adjacent ends abutting or nearly abutting. In embodiments of the invention, the combined length of the wedge sections 100 and 150 preferably equals or, as illustrated in FIG. 8, exceeds the width of storage compartment 632. In this embodiment, the slanted surfaces 110 and 160 together constitute the slanted driving surface 710 of the wedge structure 700. It is understood from the description above that the wedge structure 700 may instead comprise three or more wedge sections in an end-to-end arrangement, the combined length of which preferably equals or exceeds the width of storage compartment 632.
       FIG. 9 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the application in which cabinet 600 has been retrofit with kit 30, wherein the wedge structure700 comprises two discrete wedge sections 100 and 150 that are fixed to the interior surface of the front frame 610 in an end-to-end arrangement, with the adjacent ends separated by a gap G. A bridge 300 is fixed to wedge section 110 and 150 so as to span the gap G. As described previously in connection with kit 30, bridge 300 may fixed to wedge section 110 and 150 using adhesive strips. In other embodiments, bridge 300 may fixed to wedge section 110 and150 using other fixing elements, such as glue or screws, or may be provided in integral form. In this embodiment, the slanted surfaces 110160 and 310together constitute the slanted driving surface 710 of the wedge structure 700. It is understood from the description above that the wedge structure 700 may instead comprise three or more wedge sections arranged in an end-to-end arrangement having at least one gap, with the bridge 300 spanning the gap. As arranged, bridge 300 has a third slanted surface 310 facing the interior of storage compartment 632. In embodiments of the invention, the combined length of the wedge sections 100 and 150, including gap G, equals or, as illustrated in FIG. 9, exceeds the width of storage compartment 632.
      The wedge structure 700 may be fixed to the inner surface 611 of the front frame 610 of the cabinet 600 by one or more adhesive strips, as described previously in connection with kits 1020 and 30. In other embodiments, the wedge structure may be fixed to the inner surface of the front frame using nails, screws or other known fixing elements. In yet other embodiments in which the cabinet is fabricated with the wedge structure instead of being retrofit, the wedge structure may be integrally formed with the portion of the front frame of the cabinet above the drawer. Similarly, in embodiments of the invention in which the wedge structure is fixed to a top strip, support strip, counter 640 or shelf of the cabinet, adhesive or other fixing elements as well as integral formation may be used.
      A method for retrofitting an existing cabinet 600 that may be used in conjunction with the kits 1020 and 30 disclosed in the present invention is also provided. The method includes a step of fixing a wedge structure 700 inside the front frame 610, above the drawer 630 and at the opening 620 such that a slanted driving surface 710 of the wedge structure 700 faces a storage compartment of the drawer when the drawer is in the closed position, wherein the wedge structure 700 comprises one or more wedge sections as described above. In embodiments of the method of the invention, the wedge structure 700 is fixed on an interior surface 611 of the front frame of the cabinet above the drawer using one or more adhesive strips as previously described. Alternately, other means of fixing the wedge structure 700 may be used, such a glue, nails, screws or other fixing elements. The wedge structure 700 is sized and shaped to push down an item/utensil that may be protruding up above the top of the drawer as the drawer is being opened. Preferably, the total width of the wedge structure 700 as fixed to the cabinet equals or exceeds the width of storage compartment 632 600.
      In embodiments of the invention, the wedge structure 700 has a single wedge section 100 as illustrated in FIG. 7. In other embodiments, the wedge structure 700 has more than one wedge section. In these embodiments, the wedge sections may be fixed to the cabinet in arrangement so as to be abutting or nearly abutting, as illustrated in FIG. 8.
      In embodiments of the invention, the wedge structure 700 comprises a wedge section 100, a wedge section 150, and a bridge 300. In this embodiment, the step of fixing the wedge structure 700 inside the front frame includes fixing the first and second wedge sections 100 and 150 inside the front frame in an end-to-end arrangement with a gap G formed there between using the adhesive strips as previously described, and then fixing the bridge 300 to span the gap G using the additional adhesive strips as previously described, as illustrated in FIG. 9. Alternately, the bridge 300 may be fixed to first and second wedge sections 100 and 150 first, and then the combined structure 100150300 fixed the wedge structure 700 inside the front frame.
      It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made to the disclosure. It is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary embodiments only, with a scope of the disclosure being indicated by the following claims and their equivalents.
Category: W

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