US20110049064A1 - Storage Apparatus for Woodworking Clamps - Google Patents

Storage Apparatus for Woodworking Clamps Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110049064A1
US20110049064A1 US12/550,512 US55051209A US2011049064A1 US 20110049064 A1 US20110049064 A1 US 20110049064A1 US 55051209 A US55051209 A US 55051209A US 2011049064 A1 US2011049064 A1 US 2011049064A1
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Prior art keywords
storage apparatus
openings
clamps
woodworking
support
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US12/550,512
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Wayne Stokes
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PLIB ENTERPRISES Inc
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PLIB ENTERPRISES Inc
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Priority to US12/550,512 priority Critical patent/US20110049064A1/en
Assigned to CLAMPPITT, L.L.C. reassignment CLAMPPITT, L.L.C. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: STOKES, WAYNE
Assigned to PLIB ENTERPRISES, INC. reassignment PLIB ENTERPRISES, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: CLAMPPITT, L.L.C.
Publication of US20110049064A1 publication Critical patent/US20110049064A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B25HAND TOOLS; PORTABLE POWER-DRIVEN TOOLS; MANIPULATORS
    • B25HWORKSHOP EQUIPMENT, e.g. FOR MARKING-OUT WORK; STORAGE MEANS FOR WORKSHOPS
    • B25H3/00Storage means or arrangements for workshops facilitating access to, or handling of, work tools or instruments
    • B25H3/04Racks

Abstract

A woodworking clamp storage apparatus provides storage and organization for one or more woodworking clamps. The storage apparatus stores the clamps in a manner that allows for convenient accessibility while protecting the clamps from damage. The storage apparatus organizes the clamps so that woodworking projects may be completed more efficiently. In one embodiment, the storage apparatus comprises an upper and lower support having two or more openings. The upper and lower support may be attached to one or more side supports. A stop may be located below the lower support. Woodworking clamps may be inserted through the openings of the upper and lower support and be held off the ground by the stop. The clamps may be held substantially vertically to allow easy accessibility. A variety of shaped openings may be used to categorize or organize the woodworking clamps in the storage apparatus.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The invention relates generally to woodworking and in particular to method and apparatus for storing woodworking clamps.
  • 2. Related Art
  • Woodworking clamps are essential tools to carpenters, woodworkers, and other craftsman. As is known, such clamps may be used to hold one or more pieces of wood in place for cutting or shaping. In addition, clamps may be used to hold pieces of wood together as they are attached together such as by glue, staples, nails, and screws. Clamps also increase safety because they prevent wood from inadvertently slipping or moving which may cause a tool to slip and injure its user.
  • Because woodworking clamps have so many uses, it is common for one person or workshop to have numerous clamps of various shapes and sizes. When attaching pieces of wood together, each clamp typically holds a relatively small portion of the wood and this is another reason it is common to have numerous clamps.
  • Many woodworking clamps are constructed from rigid dense materials to allow the clamps to provide adequate force without breaking or excessive bending. This adds to the weight of the clamps making it difficult to move a large number of the clamps easily. In addition, clamps can be long or large exacerbating problems when moving or storing the clamps.
  • Various mobile and immobile storage devices for woodworking clamps have been devised. For example, wall mount or rolling racks have been used to store clamps. However, these and other traditional clamp storage devices generally require more effort than necessary to securely store clamps, especially when the storage device is mobile.
  • From the discussion that follows, it will become apparent that the present invention addresses the deficiencies associated with the prior art while providing numerous additional advantages and benefits not contemplated or possible with prior art constructions.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The woodworking clamp storage apparatus disclosed herein provides convenient storage and organization for a plurality of woodworking clamps. The woodworking clamps stored in the storage apparatus are protected from damage and are easily accessible. Woodworking clamps are also organized and held up off the floor. In one or more embodiments, the storage apparatus organizes the woodworking clamps according to their size, type, or other characteristic. This makes woodworking more efficient because individual woodworking clamps are readily located and easily accessible even in large collections of clamps. In addition, workshop clutter is reduced which increases safety as while reducing the likelihood of damage to woodworking clamps and other tools.
  • The woodworking clamp storage apparatus may be configured in a variety of ways. In one embodiment, the storage apparatus comprises a top end, a bottom end, a first side support extending upward from the bottom end to the top end of the storage apparatus, and a second side support extending upward from the bottom end to the top end of the storage apparatus.
  • An upper support comprising a plurality of first openings may be supported by the first side support and the second side support at the top end of the storage apparatus, while a lower support comprising a plurality of second openings may be supported by the first side support and the second side support below the upper support. A stop supported between the first side support and the second side support at the bottom end of the storage apparatus may be used to prevent woodworking clamps from touching the floor. For example, one or more portions of the stop may be located below the plurality of second openings to hold woodworking clamps off the floor. The upper support may have more than one level or be stair stepped to accommodate clamps of different sizes.
  • The one or more of the plurality of first openings at a front of the storage apparatus may be a first shape, and one or more of the plurality of the first openings at a back of the storage apparatus may be a second shape. The first shape and second shape may help organize storage of one or more woodworking clamps by accepting only certain of the one or more woodworking clamps. For example, the plurality of first openings may be larger than the plurality of second openings to accept woodworking clamps that the second openings cannot.
  • The storage apparatus may include one or more upper reinforcing members between the first side support and the second side support. If included, a top edge of the one or more upper reinforcing members may be attached to the upper support to increase the rigidity of the upper support. One or more lower reinforcing members between the first side support and the second side support may also or alternatively be provided. Similar to the upper reinforcing members, a top edge of the one or more lower reinforcing members may be attached to the lower support to increase the rigidity of the lower support. It is noted that one or more sides of the one or more lower reinforcing members may be attached to the stop such as to further increase support of the stop.
  • In mobile variants, the storage apparatus may include one or more wheels attached to the stop. The wheels may be under rather than on one or more sides of the storage apparatus to reduce the floor area occupied by the storage apparatus and to prevent tipping.
  • In another embodiment, the woodworking clamp storage apparatus comprises two or more first openings in an upper support, and two or more second openings in a lower support, wherein the first and second openings are aligned to accept a bar portion of one or more woodworking clamps. One or more side supports having a top end and a bottom end may be included as well. The upper support may be attached to the one or more side supports at the top end and the lower support may be attached to the one or more side supports below the upper support. One or more stops may be below the second openings and may be attached to the one or more side supports.
  • To reinforce the upper support, one or more first reinforcing members may be attached between the one or more side supports. The first reinforcing members may be in contact with a bottom portion of the upper support to provide reinforcement to the upper support. Likewise, one or more second reinforcing members between the side supports and in contact with a bottom portion of the lower support may reinforce the lower support. The second reinforcing members may support one or more of stops.
  • One or more of the first openings at a front of the storage apparatus may be a first shape, while one or more of the first openings at a back of the storage apparatus may be a second shape to organize storage of woodworking clamps by accepting only certain of the woodworking clamps. Like the above embodiment, the first openings may be larger than the second openings.
  • A method for storing one or more woodworking clamps is also disclosed. In general, the method utilizes a woodworking clamp storage apparatus. In one embodiment, the method comprises accepting a bar portion of one or more woodworking clamps of a first type in one of two or more first openings in an upper support of the storage apparatus, and accepting the bar portion in one of two or more second openings in a lower support of the storage apparatus. The upper support may be supported between the side supports at a top end of the storage apparatus, while the lower support may be supported between the side supports below the upper support.
  • A bar portion of woodworking clamps of a second type may be accepted in one of two or more third openings in an upper support of the storage apparatus as well. The third openings may have a shape configured to accept the one or more woodworking clamps of a second type. The bar portion of the woodworking clamps may be held at a position above a floor with a stop below the second openings. It is noted that the stop may be supported by the side supports. It is contemplated that, in mobile embodiments, the method may include moving the storage apparatus on one or more wheels attached to the stop of the storage apparatus.
  • The woodworking clamps of a first type and the woodworking clamps of a second type may be organized according to the first type and the second type based on the shape of the first openings and the shape of the third openings. For example, the third openings may have a shape different than the first openings to only accept the one or more woodworking clamps of a second type.
  • The two or more first openings may be at a front of the storage apparatus to keep the one or more woodworking clamps of a first type at the front of the storage apparatus. In addition, the two or more of third openings may be at a back of the storage apparatus to keep the one or more woodworking clamps of a second type at the back of the storage apparatus. The one or more woodworking clamps of a second type may be longer than the one or more woodworking clamps of a first type, thus organizing the woodworking clamps.
  • It is contemplated that a bar portion of one or more woodworking clamps of a third type may be accepted in one of two or more fourth openings in the upper support of the storage apparatus. The fourth openings may have a different shape than the first openings and the third openings to accept the one or more woodworking clamps of a third type.
  • 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.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. In the figures, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.
  • FIG. 1A is a perspective view of an exemplary woodworking clamp storage apparatus;
  • FIG. 1B is a front view of an exemplary woodworking clamp storage apparatus;
  • FIG. 1C is a side view of an exemplary woodworking clamp storage apparatus;
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an exemplary woodworking clamp storage apparatus storing a woodworking clamp; and
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an exemplary woodworking clamp storage apparatus storing a plurality of woodworking clamps.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough description of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known features have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention.
  • In general, the woodworking clamp storage apparatus described herein provides support to one or more woodworking clamps allowing the clamps to be stored easily, conveniently, and neatly. In one or more embodiments, the apparatus allows clamps to be quickly stored and quickly retrieved for use. In addition, the apparatus does not require the clamps to be “clamped” to the apparatus because the apparatus has elements which securely hold the clamps.
  • Woodworking clamps, especially larger clamps, are important and relatively expensive pieces of woodworking equipment. Though generally having a rugged construction, improper storage of woodworking clamps can damage such clamps. More importantly perhaps, improper storage of woodworking clamps reduces the productivity a woodworker, carpenter, craftsman, or other user. This can range from a minor delay in locating a clamp to a major delay where a particular clamp or clamps simply cannot be found. If the user is a professional, this results in reduced efficiency and lost revenue.
  • An important aspect of woodworking clamp storage is organization. As it is common for a user or workshop to have a variety of similar and dissimilar clamps for various purposes. The more clamps a user has, the more difficult it is to locate the desired clamp. In the case where a user does not have any type of organized clamp storage this can be a serious problem. For example, one common method is to store clamps in a bucket, bin, or the like. Because each individual clamp is not readily visible among all the other clamps in the bucket, it takes time to locate the proper clamp. In addition, smaller clamps may become buried or lodged between or under other clamps making it difficult to access only the desired clamp.
  • Storage of woodworking clamps in this makeshift manner encourages behaviors that may, over time, damage the clamps. For example, a user may be tempted to haphazardly place or even throw his or her clamps into a bucket or bin when work is complete. This is undesirable especially for a user with a number of clamps because the clamps will hit one another potentially damaging the clamps. This is a particular concern with wooden clamps, such as C clamps, which have wooden portions that are easily dented. Further, storage of multiple clamps in this manner will typically result in the user's clamps getting tangled together which increases the time it takes to retrieve the desired clamp.
  • Woodworking clamps may be stored on racks. In general, such racks comprise one or more horizontal bars to which the clamps may be hung or be clamped. These racks may be anchored to a wall or the like to hold the clamps off the ground. These racks may also be mobile such as by having one or more wheels or casters.
  • A drawback to storing woodworking clamps on a rack is that the clamps are typically hung from the rack and thus are not secured to the rack. In small work areas, which are relatively common, a user can easily bump or otherwise knock one or more clamps of the rack when moving form one location to another in the work area, such as when moving from one tool to another. Even in larger work areas, a user can easily knock one or more clamps off the rack because the clamps are not secured by the rack.
  • Mobile racks exacerbate this problem. As the rack is rolled or otherwise moved to a new location, the woodworking clamps are free to swing, potentially hitting one another, falling off the rack, or both. Many types of clamps have smooth clamping members which do not readily hook onto a rack. These types of clamps are most prone to falling from a mobile (or stationary) rack. As is known, a fall of several feet is enough to damage some woodworking clamps.
  • Of course, woodworking clamps may be clamped to a rack so that the clamps “hold on” to the rack. Though this may be sufficient to stop clamps from swinging or falling off the rack, this is inconvenient because each clamp must be clamped to the rack when stored and released from the rack when removed. This can take some time even for just a few clamps. In addition, this puts unnecessary stress on the clamps which must continue to exert a clamping force even when not in use. Moreover, the user must ensure that a proper amount of clamping force is applied by a clamp when it is stored. If an inadequate amount of clamping force is applied when the user stores a clamp, the clamp may still swing or fall off the rack.
  • Traditional mobile racks provide convenience by allowing a user to easily move one or more woodworking clamps from one location to another. However, many traditional mobile racks are oriented vertically (similar to wall mount racks). This allows the clamps to be hung vertically or substantially vertically. A drawback to this is that the user must be careful not to store clamps on the rack such that it becomes unstable. This is because such racks can have a high center of gravity. For example, if a user were to store heavier clamps at the top of the rack, it would become unstable and could potentially topple unless carefully moved. To save space, traditional mobile racks also typically have a relatively small base which exacerbates their stability issues.
  • Though a user may mitigate this problem somewhat by exercising caution when moving the rack, this is not an ideal situation. For one, this reduces the user's efficiency as he or she slowly and carefully moves the rack around. In addition, a simple or single mistake could result in the rack tipping and one or more or all of the clamps falling off the rack. For example, a user may inadvertently bump the rack with his or her body, a piece of wood, or a tool. Furthermore, contact between debris on the floor and the rack's wheels or casters could cause the rack to tip. As is known, such debris is common in a woodworking environment.
  • The woodworking clamp storage apparatus herein comprises elements which address the issues present in traditional clamp storage while providing additional benefits. The apparatus will now be described with regard to the figures.
  • FIG. 1A is a perspective view of an exemplary woodworking clamp storage apparatus 104. FIGS. 1B and 1C are front and side views of a storage apparatus 104, respectively. As shown, the apparatus 104 comprises an upper support 108 and a lower support 112. The upper support 108 may be at a top end 152 of the apparatus 104 while the lower support 112 is at a bottom end 156 of the apparatus.
  • The upper and lower supports 108,112 may comprise one or more holes or openings to accept one or more wood working clamps. As can be seen, the upper support 108 and lower support 112 may be separated by one or more side supports 120. In general, the side supports 120 hold the upper support 108 at an elevated position over the lower support 112, and define or form the sides of the apparatus. The front 160 and back 164 of the apparatus may be between the sides of the apparatus. To illustrate, FIG. 1A shows the front 160 of the apparatus as facing the user and the back 164 facing away from the user, though it will be understood that the front could be oriented differently.
  • A stop 116 may also be provided in one or more embodiments. The stop 116 may be located below the lower support 112 and may also be held in position by the side supports 120. It is noted that FIG. 1A illustrates a storage apparatus 104 without reinforcing members. This allows the stop 116 to be visible from the front or back of the storage apparatus. Of course, other embodiments, may utilize reinforcing members as will be described further below.
  • The side supports 120 may have one or more handles 128 as will be described further below. In addition or alternatively, the side supports 120 may provide storage for tools, small clamps, supplies or the like. For example, a side support 120 may have a shelf, drawer, hanging pegs, or container for additional storage. The side supports 120 (or other portion of the storage apparatus) may also provide an opening, hook, or similar structure to allow the storage apparatus 104 or clamps stored therein to be secured or locked to another object. For example, a cover placed over one or more clamps may be locked to the storage apparatus 104 to prevent unauthorized access to the clamps in one or more embodiments.
  • The one or more openings 124 of the upper support 108 and the one or more openings of the lower support 112 may be aligned in one or more embodiments to allow the storage of woodworking clamps. Alignment of the one or more openings 124, as described herein, refers to aligning pairs of openings in the upper and lower supports 108,112 such that a linear path may be drawn between the openings of each pair of openings. This linear path may be vertical or at an angle. This allows woodworking clamps having an elongated member, such as bar clamps, pipe clamps, or the like, to be inserted into a pair of openings 124. The openings 124, working in tandem, hold the clamps in place for storage and easy retrieval, as will be described further below.
  • The openings 124 of the upper support 108 and the lower support 112 may be aligned in a number of ways. For example, in one embodiment, the upper support 108 and lower support 112 are substantially the same size and have the same number of openings 124 at substantially the same locations. One or more side supports 120 may then be used to align the upper and lower support 108,112 by holding the upper support above the lower support such the path between an opening 124 in the upper support 108 and its corresponding opening in the lower support 112 is perpendicular to the plane of both the upper and lower support. This type of alignment is illustrated in FIG. 1A.
  • In another embodiment, the openings 124 may be aligned such that there is an angle between pairs of openings. For example, an upper and lower support 108,112 having similarly positioned openings 124 may be staggered or offset from one another. In this manner, woodworking clamps can be held by the apparatus 104 at an angle or tilted. In these embodiments, the apparatus 104 may have a shape like that of a parallelogram due to the staggering of the upper and lower supports 108,112. In addition or alternatively, the openings 124 of the upper support 108 may be staggered or offset from the openings in the lower support 112.
  • It is contemplated that the openings 124 may be a variety of shapes and sizes. For example, as shown the openings 124 are circular and generally the same size. However, in some embodiments, the upper support 108, lower support 112, or both may have openings of a variety of shapes and sizes. For example, at least some of the openings 124 may be square, oval, or other shapes. In one embodiment, the shape of an opening 124 corresponds to the cross section of a portion of a woodworking clamp, such as the bar or elongated portion of the clamp. In addition, the size of the openings 124 may vary to accommodate woodworking clamps of various sizes. In one embodiment for example, the openings 124 may be 2 inches. In another embodiment, the openings 124 may range between 1 inch and 3 inches. Of course other sizes are possible.
  • In general, the size of an opening 124 will be based on the size of the woodworking clamp to be stored in the opening. Typically, the size will be close to that of the clamp to prevent excessive movement of the clamp when placed in the opening 124. It is noted that the larger an opening 124 the easier it will be to place a clamp therein, however, the larger size also allows more movement of the clamp when in the opening. In one embodiment, an opening 124 of the upper support 108 may be smaller than its corresponding opening in the lower support 112. In this manner, the smaller opening 124 prevents excess movement while the larger opening on the lower support 112 makes it easier to insert the clamp through the lower support. This is beneficial because a user will typically be holding the clamp at a position above the upper support 108 which may make it difficult to insert the clamp into an opening 112 of the lower support 112.
  • In one embodiment, the size of the openings 124 changes from one end of an upper support 108, lower support 112, or both. For example, openings 124 at the front of the apparatus 104 may be smaller than those at the back of the apparatus, or vice versa. This is beneficial in that it helps a user keep his or her woodworking clamps organized. To illustrate, smaller clamps having smaller diameter members could be placed in smaller openings 124 while larger clamps could be placed in larger openings. In this manner, the user's clamps can be organized by their respective sizes. Because larger clamps would not fit into smaller openings 124, the size of the openings helps the user organize his or her clamps.
  • Similarly, organization can be accomplished by the shape of the openings 124. For example, some openings 124 may be shaped like a cross section of particular woodworking clamps to allow only clamps of a certain type or types to be inserted into these openings. In this manner, the user can store only particular types of clamps at particular locations of the storage apparatus 104, thus keeping his or her clamps organized.
  • In addition, the surface 108 may be divided to separate surfaces at different heights to accommodate clamps of different lengths. For example, shorter clamps may be placed in the front of the storage apparatus 104 and the distance between upper support 108 and lower support 112 may be reduced. Longer clamps may be stored in the back of the apparatus 104 and the distance between upper and lower supports 108,112 may be increased to accommodate the increased length of the clamps.
  • Organization is beneficial in that it allows woodworking clamps to be easily located when needed. In addition, organization prevents larger or taller clamps from blocking easy access to smaller clamps. To illustrate, if a user were to haphazardly place tall clamps in front of his or her shorter clamps, the user's access to the shorter clamps would be blocked or hindered by the taller clamps. This can waste a good deal of time because the user would have to remove the taller clamps to retrieve the desired clamp(s). Then, the user would have to replace the taller clamps, preferably behind or out of the way of the smaller clamps.
  • The openings 124 may be padded in one or more embodiments to prevent damage to the woodworking clamps. For example, the openings 124 may have rubber, foam, cloth, or other padding around their edges to provide a barrier between the clamps and the sides of the openings. Padding may be more beneficial in some embodiments. For example, as will be described further below, the storage apparatus 104 may be formed from a variety of materials. In embodiments where the openings 124 are formed in a metal for instance, padding may be more desirable than where the openings 124 were formed in a wooden material. This is because, though rigid, the wood has some “give” to it, whereas the metal may not.
  • The stop 116 below the lower support 112 may be used to prevent woodworking clamps from falling through the openings 124 and coming into contact with the floor. This is beneficial especially where the floor is a hard or rough surface, such as concrete which may damage portions of the clamps. In addition, it is not uncommon for liquid or other spills, dirt, debris, or the like to be present on the floor. The stop 116 thus also prevents clamps from coming into contact with such contaminants, which may be damaging to the clamps. At the very least contact with these contaminants would waste the user's time by causing the user to clean the ends of his or her clamps. As is known, untreated wood stains easily and thus clean clamps are highly beneficial.
  • As shown, the stop 116 is a shelf-like structure below the openings 124 of the lower support 112. In this manner, a woodworking clamp may be lowered through the openings 124 and onto the stop 116. The stop 116 prevents the clamp from moving vertically, while the openings 124 prevent excess horizontal movement of the clamp. In this way, the clamps are held in place by the storage apparatus 104.
  • The stop 116 or edges of the openings 124 may be padded where it comes into contact with an end of a clamp. For example, a rubber, foam, cloth, or other padding may be provided to protect the end of the clamp from damage. In addition, the padding may conform somewhat to the shape of the clamp helping to hold the clamp in position. In embodiments where the openings 124 are staggered the padding may help prevent clamps stored at an angle or tilt from sliding. It is contemplated that the stop 116 may have one or more indentations corresponding to the openings 124 of the lower support 112. This also helps prevent sliding and provides additional support against horizontal movement of the clamp.
  • A stop 116 may comprise various structures in some embodiments. For example, rather than a shelf-like structure, a stop 116 may comprise one or more bars or elongated members which extend across the bottom of the storage apparatus below the openings 124 of the lower support 112. In this manner, the clamps may extend through the openings 124 of the lower support 112 and contact the elongated members of the stop 116. In another embodiment, individual openings 124 may comprise a stop. For example, an opening 124 may have a cup or platform located below the opening.
  • It is noted that a stop 116 may not be provided in all embodiments. Of course, the floor or ground, though undesirable, may be used to prevent a clamp from falling through an opening 124. In addition, an enlarged section of a clamp may prevent the clamp from falling through an opening 124. The stop 116 provides benefits however in that it can hold clamps at an elevated position such that the user may easily grasp a clamp.
  • As stated, a stop 116 will typically be attached to one or more side supports 120. However, it will be understood that the stop 116 may be attached to other portions of the storage apparatus 104. For example, the stop 116 may be attached to the lower support 112 in one or more embodiments.
  • An additional benefit of the stop 116 is that it may provide a structure to which one or more wheels or casters may be attached. This allows the wheels to be generally hidden from view. In addition, positioning the wheels under the storage apparatus 104, rather than at the sides of the storage apparatus saves room. Of course, wheels may be attached to other portions of the storage apparatus 104 such as the side supports 120 or lower support 112 in one or more embodiments. It is noted that some embodiments may be stationary and thus may not have wheels.
  • Embodiments with wheels or casters will be known as mobile embodiments of the storage apparatus 104. As stated above, mobile embodiments provide the advantage of allowing a user to easily move one or more woodworking clamps (which are typically unwieldy) from one location to another. It is contemplated that the wheels may have one or more braking mechanisms or stopping mechanisms to prevent the storage apparatus 104 from moving once in the desired location.
  • Users may be provided with one or more handles 128 in mobile embodiments. A handle 128 may be an opening in a side support 120 such as the handle shown in FIG. 1A. Of course, a handle may also extend outward from the storage apparatus 104. It will be understood that a variety of handles 128 may be used with the storage apparatus 104 herein. In addition, handles 128 may be provided on embodiments which are not mobile. For example, the handles 128 shown may be provided on a non-mobile embodiment to allow the storage apparatus to be easily grasped and moved to a new location. In some embodiments, the upper support 108 may extend past the side supports 120 to function as a handle or grip as well.
  • As is known, woodworking clamps may be heavy pieces of equipment. As such, a plurality of clamps can represent a substantial amount of weight. For this reason, the storage apparatus 104 may be reinforced by one or more reinforcing members 132,136 in one or more embodiments. As shown, reinforcing members 132,136 are located below the upper and lower supports 108,112. In addition to reinforcing (e.g. preventing flexing) of the upper and lower supports 108,112, the reinforcing members 132,136 help prevent lateral movement of the upper support 108 relative to the lower support 112. In other words, the reinforcing members 132,136 may be used to prevent the storage apparatus 104 from “racking” side to side. This is especially beneficial in mobile embodiments. In addition, the reinforcement allows numerous woodworking clamps of substantial weight to be safely stored in the storage apparatus 104.
  • In one or more embodiments, one or more upper reinforcing members 132 is below the upper support 108 while one or more lower reinforcing members 136 is below the lower support 112. In addition, as can be seen, the reinforcing member 136 below the lower support 112 provides an additional structure to which a stop 116 may be attached. This reinforces the stop 116 which may be supporting numerous clamps.
  • The reinforcing members 132,136 may be planar, such as shown. In general, the reinforcing members 132,136 provide a structure which further connects the upper or lower support 108,112 to one or more side supports 120. As can be seen from FIGS. 1A and 1B, the reinforcing members 132 connect their respective upper or lower supports 108,112 to both side supports 120 of the embodiment shown. Again, this reinforces the upper and lower supports 108,112 as well as the overall structure of the storage apparatus 104.
  • Reinforcing members 132,136 may also be used to provide additional features or elements of the storage apparatus 104. For example reinforcing members 132,136 may have one or more handles 128 to make it easier for a user or users to move the storage apparatus 104. In addition, reinforcing members 132,136 may provide storage for tools, supplies, small clamps, or the like. It is contemplated that the reinforcing members 132,136 (or side supports 120) may have one or more openings to allow storage of one or more clamps horizontally if desired. In general, these openings would be offset from the openings 124 of the upper and lower support 108,112 so that horizontally stored clamps do not prevent vertically stored clamps from being stored, and vice versa.
  • In one embodiment, a reinforcing member 132,136 may have a display area 144 on its visible surface. The display area 144 may be used to provide branding or promotional information. In addition or alternatively, the display area 144 may be used to provide factual information such as usage or care and handling instructions for woodworking clamps or other woodworking tools, supplies, or equipment. For example, the display area 144 may provide clamping times for various types of wood or other adhesives. The display area 144 may also provide safety information. It will be understood that the display area 144 may be on a side support 120 in addition to or instead of a reinforcing member 132,136 in some embodiments. A color coded clamp placement system may also be implemented to match color coded claims to likewise color coded clamp positions with the apparatus 104.
  • Typically, the storage apparatus 104 will have a square or rectangular shape such as shown in FIGS. 1A-1C. This is advantageous in that it allows the storage apparatus 104 to efficiently use space in a workshop or other environment. As is known, cabinets, tools, tables, and the like are typically rectangular. Thus, the rectangular shape of the storage apparatus 104 allows it to be placed among these objects or next to these objects with little or no wasted space.
  • Of course, the storage apparatus 104 may have various other shapes too. For example, the storage apparatus 104 may be circular or round such as by having a circular or round upper and lower support 108,112. The storage apparatus 104 may also be configured to fit a particular space in some embodiments. For example, the storage apparatus 104 may have a triangular upper and lower support 108,112 to fit into a corner.
  • The storage apparatus 104 may also be modular in one or more embodiments. For example, the storage apparatus 104 may be configured to interlock with one or more other storage apparatus to form a larger storage apparatus capable of storing additional woodworking clamps. This is advantageous because interlocked storage apparatus 104 will generally be more structurally sound than individual storage apparatus. In addition, in mobile embodiments, the storage apparatus 104 may be moved together.
  • Typically, the storage apparatus 104 will be formed from wood or wooden materials. Wood is beneficial in that it gives the storage apparatus 104 a rigid structure allowing the apparatus to support substantial weight and a store numerous woodworking clamps. Wood also is advantageous in that it has some “give” to it. In this manner, if a clamp should strike or come into contact with the wood, the clamp will not be damaged. In contrast, a material such as metal may damage a clamp should the clamp strike the metal with sufficient force. Plastics or composite materials may have similar characteristics as wooden materials, and thus provide the same benefits in some embodiments.
  • It will be understood that other materials may be used to form the storage apparatus 104 or that a combination of various materials may be used. In general, the materials used must give the apparatus 104 a structure that is capable of supporting a plurality of clamps. For example, the apparatus 104 may comprise one or more metals, plastics, composite materials, the like, or a combination thereof.
  • In embodiments comprising one or more different materials, each material may be chosen for a particular purpose. For example, the upper and lower support may be formed of wooden material while the side supports and reinforcing members are metal. In this manner, the metal provides a structure which holds the upper and lower support. The wooden upper and lower support provide a rigid structure to hold one or more woodworking clamps, while at the same time, providing upper and lower supports that does not harm the clamps should the clamps strike or contact the supports.
  • The elements of the storage apparatus 104 may be formed as one or more pieces. In addition, the elements of the storage apparatus 104 may be attached together in a variety of ways. For example, one or more fasteners, adhesives, welds, the like, or a combination thereof may be used to connect elements of the storage apparatus 104 together. In one embodiment, screws may be used to secure upper supports, lower supports, side supports, stops, and other elements of the apparatus together. It is contemplated that the connection between elements may be temporary. In this manner, the apparatus 104 may be disassembled for storage, moving, or repair. For instance, an embodiment connected by screws may be disassembled and subsequently reassembled when desired. Of course, the connections between elements may also be permanent.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates and exemplary storage apparatus 104 having a single clamp 204 stored therein. As can be seen, the bar or elongated member 208 of the clamp 204 has been inserted into the openings 124 of the upper and lower support 108,112. In this way, the clamping jaws 212 are positioned over the upper support 108 of the storage apparatus 104. This allows the clamp 204 to be easily inserted into the openings 124 for storage and easily removed for use. It will be understood that though shown as a particular size, clamps of a variety of sizes may be stored in the storage apparatus 104. For instance standard clams between 4 ft and 8 ft long may be stored along with clamps of other sizes.
  • To illustrate this advantage, with a rack storage device, a user would first have to position the clamping jaws properly to allow the clamp to hang from a horizontal member of the rack. This may include opening the jaws to accept the horizontal member. In addition, the jaws typically need to be positioned near the top of the clamp such that the bar of the clamp hangs downward. Once positioned on the rack, the jaws may need to be closed to clamp onto the rack. This prevents the clamp from falling off the rack, especially where the rack is mobile. To remove the clamp, the jaws may need to first be released from around the rack. As can be seen, this is an inconvenient and time consuming process.
  • With the storage apparatus 104, a user need only insert the bar 208 of the clamp into an opening 124 of the upper support 108 and a corresponding opening of the lower support 112. The clamping jaws 212 or another enlarged portion of the clamp 204 will prevent the clamp from falling through the openings 124. Alternatively, such as with clamps 204 having longer bars 208, the stop 116 may prevent clamps from falling through the openings 124 when released from the user's grasp. The clamping jaws 212 may be positioned at a top end of the clamp 204 to allow the bar 208 to extend through an opening 124 of the upper support and lower support 108,112.
  • Unlike the rack storage device, a clamp 204 does not need to be clamped to the storage apparatus to remain securely stored. In addition, once in place, there is no risk of the clamp 204 falling off or out of the storage apparatus 104 even if the storage apparatus is moved. This saves a substantial amount of time. Furthermore, in one or more embodiments, the storage apparatus 104 may have particularly shaped or sized openings 124 to help organize the user's clamps for easy retrieval later on. A rack storage device relies on the user to organize his or her clamps. Oftentimes, the user is too busy working on a project to do so. Over time, the disorganization can lead to a substantial waste of time and money.
  • Also unlike the storage rack device, the storage apparatus 104 provides a stable structure to store woodworking clamps 204. As can be seen, the storage apparatus 104 has a stable base having a large surface area to prevent the storage apparatus from tipping regardless of where one or more clamps 204 have been stored. In cases where the base alone may not be enough to stabilize the storage apparatus 104, the one or more openings 124 may be configured such that larger, heavier clamps 204 may only be stored at a central portion of the storage apparatus. In a storage rack device, a user must take special care to properly balance the load of clamps on the rack to prevent the rack from tipping. This is because storage rack devices are generally elongated vertical structures having relatively small bases. In mobile embodiments of storage rack devices, the risk of tipping is exacerbated.
  • An additional benefit of the storage apparatus 104 is that the length of clamps 204 that may be stored in the storage apparatus is limited only by the height of the user's roof or ceiling. In contrast, a storage rack device is limited by the height of the rack. Of course, the rack device may be mounted near the ceiling, however, this would make it extremely inconvenient, and potentially dangerous, to store and retrieve clamps.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates and exemplary storage apparatus 104 with a plurality of clamps 204 stored therein. As can be seen, a variety of clamps 204 may be stored in the storage apparatus 104. In addition, the storage apparatus 104 allows the clamps 204 to be organized by height, as shown, or by other characteristics. In the embodiment of FIG. 3, taller clamps 204 have been placed at the rear of the storage apparatus 104 so as to not block access to smaller clamps 204. This allows all the user's clamps 204 to be both seen and retrieved which increases the user's efficiency during a project.
  • In addition, FIG. 3 shows how the storage apparatus 104 prevents clamps 204 from excess horizontal and vertical movement when stored. This prevents the clamps 204 from hitting or contacting one another reducing the likelihood of damage to the clamps. For clamps 204 with larger clamping jaws 212 the openings 124 of the storage apparatus 104 may be spaced further apart to prevent contact between clamps. In addition, the spacing of the openings 124 prevents clamps 204 from becoming lodged or entangled with one another. This allows clamps 204 to be quickly and easily inserted and removed.
  • Though described herein with regard to woodworking clamp storage it is noted that one or more other woodshop tools may be stored along with woodworking clamps in the storage apparatus 104. For example, a straightedge, broom, or other tool with an elongated member, bar, or the like may be stored in the one or more openings 124 along with one or more clamps.
  • While various embodiments of the invention have been described, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many more embodiments and implementations are possible that are within the scope of this invention. In addition, the various features, elements, and embodiments described herein may be claimed or combined in any combination or arrangement.

Claims (20)

1. A woodworking clamp storage apparatus comprising:
a top end;
a bottom end;
a first side support extending upward from the bottom end to the top end of the storage apparatus;
a second side support extending upward from the bottom end to the top end of the storage apparatus;
an upper support comprising a plurality of first openings, the upper support supported by the first side support and the second side support at the top end of the storage apparatus;
a lower support comprising a plurality of second openings, the lower support supported by the first side support and the second side support below the upper support; and
a stop supported between the first side support and the second side support at the bottom end of the storage apparatus, one or more portions of the stop located below the plurality of second openings.
2. The storage apparatus of claim 1, wherein one or more of the plurality of first openings at a front of the storage apparatus are a first shape, and one or more of the plurality of the first openings at a back of the storage apparatus are a second shape, wherein the first shape and second shape help organize storage of one or more woodworking clamps by accepting only certain of the one or more woodworking clamps.
3. The storage apparatus of claim 1 wherein the plurality of first openings are larger than the plurality of second openings.
4. The storage apparatus of claim 1 further comprising one or more upper reinforcing members between the first side support and the second side support, a top edge of the one or more upper reinforcing members attached to the upper support to increase the rigidity of the upper support.
5. The storage apparatus of claim 1 further comprising one or more lower reinforcing members between the first side support and the second side support, a top edge of the one or more lower reinforcing members attached to the lower support to increase the rigidity of the lower support.
6. The storage apparatus of claim 5 wherein one or more sides of the one or more lower reinforcing members are attached to the stop.
7. The storage apparatus of claim 1 further comprising one or more wheels attached to the stop, wherein the one or more wheels are under and not on one or more sides of the storage apparatus to reduce the floor area occupied by the storage apparatus.
8. A woodworking clamp storage apparatus comprising:
an upper support comprising two or more first openings;
two or more second openings in a lower support, wherein the first and second openings are aligned to accept a bar portion of one or more woodworking clamps;
one or more side supports having a top end and a bottom end, wherein the upper support is attached to the one or more side supports at the top end and the lower support is attached to the one or more side supports below the upper support;
one or more stops below the two or more second openings, the one or more stops attached to the one or more side supports;
one or more first reinforcing members between the one or more side supports, the one or more first reinforcing members in contact with a bottom portion of the upper support to reinforce the upper support; and
one or more second reinforcing members between the one or more side supports, the one or more second reinforcing members in contact with a bottom portion of the lower support to reinforce the lower support, wherein the one or more second reinforcing members support one or more of the one or more stops.
9. The storage apparatus of claim 8, wherein one or more of the two or more first openings at a front of the storage apparatus are a first shape, and one or more of the two or more first openings at a back of the storage apparatus are a second shape, wherein the first shape and second shape organize storage of one or more woodworking clamps by accepting only certain of the one or more woodworking clamps.
10. The storage apparatus of claim 8, wherein the two or more first openings are larger than the two or more second openings.
11. The storage apparatus of claim 8 further comprising one or more wheels attached to the one or more stops.
12. The storage apparatus of claim 11 further comprising one or more handles on or in the one or more side supports.
13. A method for storing one or more woodworking clamps comprising at a woodworking clamp storage apparatus:
accepting a bar portion of one or more woodworking clamps of a first type in one of two or more first openings in an upper support of the storage apparatus, wherein the upper support is supported between the one or more side supports at a top end of the storage apparatus;
accepting the bar portion in one of two or more second openings in a lower support of the storage apparatus, wherein the lower support is supported between the one or more side supports below the upper support;
accepting a bar portion of one or more woodworking clamps of a second type in one of two or more third openings in an upper support of the storage apparatus, wherein the two or more third openings have a shape configured to accept the one or more woodworking clamps of a second type;
holding the bar portion at a position above a floor with a stop below the two or more second openings, wherein the stop is supported by the one or more side supports.
14. The method of claim 13 further comprising organizing the one or more woodworking clamps of a first type and the one or more woodworking clamps of a second type according to the first type and the second type based on the shape of the two or more first openings and the shape of the two or more the third openings.
15. The method of claim 13, wherein the two or more third openings have a shape different than the two or more first openings to only accept the one or more woodworking clamps of a second type.
16. The method of claim 13, wherein the two or more first openings are larger than the two or more second openings.
17. The method of claim 13, wherein the two or more first openings are at a front of the storage apparatus to keep the one or more woodworking clamps of a first type at the front of the storage apparatus.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein the two or more third openings are at a back of the storage apparatus to keep the one or more woodworking clamps of a second type at the back of the storage apparatus, the one or more woodworking clamps of a second type being longer than the one or more woodworking clamps of a first type.
19. The method of claim 13 further comprising accepting a bar portion of one or more woodworking clamps of a third type in one of two or more fourth openings in the upper support of the storage apparatus, wherein the two or more fourth openings have a different shape than the two or more first openings and the two or more third openings to accept the one or more woodworking clamps of a third type.
20. The method of claim 13 further comprising moving the storage apparatus on one or more wheels attached to the stop of the storage apparatus.
US12/550,512 2009-08-31 2009-08-31 Storage Apparatus for Woodworking Clamps Abandoned US20110049064A1 (en)

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