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Title:
APPARATUS FOR SECURING A SINK TO A COUNTERTOP
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/070894
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An apparatus for securing a basin of an overmount sink within a hole in a countertop is disclosed. The apparatus includes a rail, securable to an outer surface of the basin; and a slider, slidable on the rail between secured and unsecured positions. The slider abuts against the countertop when in the secured position and when the sink is seated in the hole such that the sink basin is secured to the countertop. The slider does not abut against the countertop when in the unsecured position.

Inventors:
SARIU, Costin (7 Shawmeadows Place S.W, Calgary, Alberta T2Y 1G3, CA)
Application Number:
CA2008/002137
Publication Date:
June 11, 2009
Filing Date:
December 04, 2008
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SARIU, Costin (7 Shawmeadows Place S.W, Calgary, Alberta T2Y 1G3, CA)
International Classes:
E03C1/33; E03C1/18; F16B1/00
Foreign References:
US4589170A
US6785918B2
US4764049A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEE, Brian et al. (Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, P.O. Box 30 Suite 2300,550 Burrard Stree, Vancouver British Columbia V6C 2B5, CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:

EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION IN WHICH AN EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY OR PRIVILEGE IS CLAIMED ARE DEFINED AS FOLLOWS:

1. An apparatus for securing a basin of an overmount sink within a hole in a countertop, the apparatus comprising: (a) a rail, securable to an outer surface of the basin; and

(b) a slider, slidable on the rail between secured and unsecured positions, the slider abutting against the countertop when in the secured position and when the sink is seated in the hole such that the sink basin is secured to the countertop, and the slider not abutting against the countertop when in the unsecured position.

2. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 further comprising means for securing the slider in the secured position.

3. An apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein the slider is configured to receive a wire and wherein the apparatus further comprises a wire conduit configured to slidably receive the wire, the wire conduit fixedly attachable at a position on the outer surface of the sink basin such that when the wire is coupled to the slider and is slidable within the wire conduit, the wire is movable between a first position wherein the slider is in its secured position and a second position when the slider is in its unsecured position. 4. An apparatus as claimed in claim 3 wherein the means for securing comprises a tightener, adjustable between secured and unsecured positions, mountable to the countertop and wherein the wire is movably coupled to the tightener, the wire secured to the tightener when the tightener is in the secured position and when the wire is in the first position. 5. An apparatus as claimed in claim 4 wherein the rail comprises:

(a) a plate; and

(b) a resiliency deformable lamella protruding from the plate and away from the outer surface of the sink basin, the resiliency of the lamella selected such that when the lamella presses against the countertop the lamella exerts a force on the sink basin that centers the sink basin within the hole.

6. An apparatus as claimed in claim 5 wherein the lamella comprises a slider engagement portion, comprising a portion of the lamella that is coupled to the plate at a first end and that protrudes from the plate and tapers outwards to a second end having a bent top portion integrally connected thereto, the bent top portion comprising a portion of the lamella bent towards the sink basin, the bent top portion pressing against the sink basin when the slider engagement portion presses against the countertop.

7. An apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein the rail further comprises two opposing faces angled towards each other, each face coupled to the plate, the

faces and the plate forming a channel through which the slider can slide between the secured and unsecured positions.

8. An apparatus as claimed in claim 7 wherein the slider comprises a central portion and two wings disposed about the central portion, each of the wings contacting one of the opposing faces such that the slider is retained within the channel.

9. An apparatus as claimed in claim 8 wherein the slider is pushed away from the sink basin by the lamella as the slider slides along the slider engagement portion and through the channel towards the secured position.

10. An apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein the slider comprises a front portion, a rear portion coupled to the front portion, and a receiving portion defined between the front and rear portions, the receiving portion configured to receive the slider engagement portion such that the slider is slidable on the lamella.

11. An apparatus as claimed in claim 4 wherein the tightener comprises: (a) a member having a threaded exterior portion and a conical end; (b) a tightening nut rotatable on the threaded exterior portion of the member; and

(c) a brace disposed on the member between the tightening nut and the conical end, the brace having slots for receiving the wire threaded between the conical end and the brace, the tightener in the secured position when the tightening nut presses the brace into the conical end such that tension is maintained in the wire and otherwise in the unsecured position.

12. An apparatus as claimed in claim 11 wherein the member has a threaded and hollow interior and wherein the member further comprises a tightening screw extending through the interior of the member, rotation of the tightening screw resulting in compression of the conical end against the brace.

13. An apparatus as claimed in claim 4 wherein the tightener comprises:

(a) a pivoting member having a tip for mounting to the countertop; and

(b) a wire retainer coupled to the pivoting member and configured to receive the wire, pivoting of the pivoting member about the tip such that the wire retainer is moved away from the countertop resulting in increased tension in the wire.

14. An apparatus as claimed in claim 13 wherein the pivoting member is threaded and the tip is pointed, and wherein the wire retainer has a threaded aperture for receiving the pivoting member, rotation of the pivoting member such that the wire retainer is moved away from the countertop resulting in increased tension in the wire.

15. An apparatus as claimed in claim 14 wherein the pivoting member is at least as long as the depth of the sink basin.

16. An apparatus as claimed in claim 15 wherein the tightener further comprises a curved clip with ends that when attached to the sink define an aperture through which the pivoting member extends and is securely retained relative to the sink basin. 17. An apparatus as claimed in claim 16 wherein the wire retainer comprises a piece of piping having ends through which the wire is threaded and walls for containing the wire therein, and wherein the threaded aperture comprises holes in the walls of the piping for receiving the pivoting member.

18. An apparatus as claimed in claim 3 wherein the wire conduit comprises a series of annular rings extending along the length of the wire conduit.

19. An apparatus as claimed in claim 3 wherein the slider has a slider wire conduit comprising a series of annular rings extending along the length of the slider wire conduit for receiving the wire.

20. A basin of an overmount sink securable within a hole in a countertop, the basin comprising:

(a) a rail, secured to an outer surface of the basin;

(b) wire;

(c) a slider, slidable on the rail between secured and unsecured positions, the slider abutting against the countertop when in the secured position such that the basin is secured to the countertop, the slider having a slider wire conduit with the wire threaded therethrough;

(d) a wire conduit having the wire threaded therethrough, the wire conduit fixedly coupled at a position on the outer surface of the basin such that force exerted through the wire is able to move the slider into the secured position; and

(e) a tightener adjustable between secured and unsecured positions, the tightener configured to allow the wire to slide freely therethrough when in the unsecured position and to maintain tension in the wire when in the secured position. 21. A basin as claimed in claim 20 wherein the basin comprises at least four rails. 22. A basin as claimed in claim 21 wherein the rail comprises:

(a) a plate;

(b) a lamella, protruding from the plate and away from the outer surface of the basin, the lamella resiliently deformable and helping to center the basin within the hole when the lamella presses against the countertop; and

(c) two opposing faces angled towards each other, each face coupled to the plate, the faces and the plate forming a channel through which the slider can slide between the secured and unsecured positions.

23. A basin as claimed in claim 22 wherein the slider comprises a central portion and two wings disposed about the central portion, each of the wings contacting one of the opposing faces such that the slider is retained within the channel and wherein the slider is recessed within the channel when in the unsecured position, and is pushed away from the basin by the lamella as the slider slides through the channel towards the secured position.

24. A basin as claimed in claim 23 wherein the tightener comprises:

(a) a threaded pivoting member at least as long as the depth of the basin and having a pointed tip for interfacing with the countertop; and (b) a wire retainer configured to receive the wire and having a threaded aperture with the pivoting member inserted therethrough, pivoting of the pivoting member about the tip such that the wire retainer is moved away from the countertop and rotation of the pivoting member such that the wire retainer is moved away from the countertop both resulting in increased tension in the wire.

Description:

APPARATUS FOR SECURING A SINK TO A COUNTERTOP FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an apparatus for securing a sink to a countertop.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Normally, a sink that is designed for use in the kitchen or bathroom is designed to be placed into a hole in a countertop. The sink has a peripherally extending lip, which interfaces with the top surface of the countertop when the sink is lowered into the hole in the countertop. The contact between the lip and the countertop prevents the sink from falling through the hole. In order to prevent the sink from sliding or otherwise moving during use, the sink should be secured to the countertop. Typically, apparatuses for securing the sink to the countertop take the form of a sink clamp. The sink clamp secures the sink to the underside of the countertop by clamping the lip of the sink to a portion of the underside of the countertop.

Several such sink clamps are known in the art. Examples of such clamps include US 2,584,581 to Harris; US 2,932,036 to Harris; US 4,504,986 to Vigh; US 4,589,170 to Ponting; and US 6,216,992 to Bisonaya et al.

Numerous drawbacks are associated with using sink clamps to secure a sink to a countertop, however. For example, using sink clamps is cumbersome, as an installer must crawl into the area underneath the sink in order to install them, which area is cramped and can make it difficult for the installer to perform the installation. Furthermore, when multiple clamps are used, each clamp must be installed separately, thus requiring a relatively large investment of time from the installer.

Consequently, there is a need for an apparatus for securing a sink to a countertop that improves upon at least some of the deficiencies of sink clamps in the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided an apparatus for securing a basin of an overmount sink within a hole in a countertop. The apparatus includes a rail, securable to an outer surface of the basin; and a slider, slidable on the rail between secured and unsecured positions, the slider abutting against the countertop when in the

secured position and when the sink is seated in the hole such that the sink basin is secured to the countertop, and the slider not abutting against the countertop when in the unsecured position. The apparatus may also include means for securing the slider in the secured position.

The slider can be configured to receive a wire and can also include a wire conduit configured to slidably receive the wire. The wire conduit is fixedly attachable at a position on the outer surface of the sink basin such that when the wire is coupled to the slider and is slidable within the wire conduit, the wire is movable between a first position wherein the slider is in its secured position and a second position when the slider is in its unsecured position.

The means for securing can be a tightener that is adjustable between secured and unsecured positions. The tightener is mountable to the countertop and the wire is movably coupled to the tightener. The wire is secured to the tightener when the tightener is in the secured position and when the wire is in the first position.

The rail may be composed of a plate; and a resiliently deformable lamella protruding from the plate and away from the outer surface of the sink basin. The resiliency of the lamella is selected such that when the lamella presses against the countertop the lamella exerts a force on the sink basin that centers the sink basin within the hole.

The lamella can have a slider engagement portion, which is made of a portion of the lamella that is coupled to the plate at a first end and that protrudes from the plate and tapers outwards to a second end at which is a bent top portion integrally connected thereto. The bent top portion includes a portion of the lamella bent towards the sink basin. The bent top portion presses against the sink basin when the slider engagement portion presses against the countertop.

The rail can also include two opposing faces angled towards each other, with each face coupled to the plate. The faces and the plate form a channel through which the slider can slide between the secured and unsecured positions.

The slider can have a central portion and two wings disposed about the central portion.

Each of the wings contacts one of the opposing faces such that the slider is retained within the channel. The slider can be pushed away from the sink basin by the lamella

as the slider slides along the slider engagement portion and through the channel towards the secured position.

The slider can include a front portion, a rear portion coupled to the front portion, and a receiving portion defined between the front and rear portions, the receiving portion configured to receive the slider engagement portion such that the slider is slidable on the lamella.

The tightener may include a member having a threaded exterior portion and a conical end; a tightening nut rotatable on the threaded exterior portion of the member; and a brace disposed on the member between the tightening nut and the conical end. The brace can have slots for receiving the wire threaded between the conical end and the brace, the tightener in the secured position when the tightening nut presses the brace into the conical end such that tension is maintained in the wire and otherwise in the unsecured position.

The member can have a threaded and hollow interior and wherein the member further comprises a tightening screw extending through the interior of the member. Rotation of the tightening screw results in compression of the conical end against the brace.

Alternatively, the tightener may include a pivoting member having a tip for mounting to the countertop; and a wire retainer coupled to the pivoting member and configured to receive the wire. Pivoting of the pivoting member about the tip such that the wire retainer is moved away from the countertop results in increased tension in the wire.

The pivoting member can be threaded and the tip pointed, and the wire retainer can have a threaded aperture for receiving the pivoting member. Rotation of the pivoting member such that the wire retainer is moved away from the countertop results in increased tension in the wire.

The pivoting member can be at least as long as the depth of the sink basin.

The tightener may also include a curved clip with ends that when attached to the sink define an aperture through which the pivoting member extends and is securely retained relative to the sink basin.

The wire retainer can be a piece of piping that has ends through which the wire is

threaded and walls for containing the wire therein, and the threaded aperture can be holes in the walls of the piping for receiving the pivoting member.

The wire conduit can be a series of annular rings extending along the length of the wire conduit. The slider can have a slider wire conduit that is composed of a series of annular rings extending along the length of the slider wire conduit for receiving the wire.

According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a basin of an overmount sink securable within a hole in a countertop. The basin includes a rail, secured to an outer surface of the basin; wire; a slider, slidable on the rail between secured and unsecured positions, the slider abutting against the countertop when in the secured position such that the basin is secured to the countertop, the slider having a slider wire conduit with the wire threaded therethrough; a wire conduit having the wire threaded therethrough, the wire conduit fixedly coupled at a position on the outer surface of the basin such that force exerted through the wire is able to move the slider into the secured position; and a tightener adjustable between secured and unsecured positions, the tightener configured to allow the wire to slide freely therethrough when in the unsecured position and to maintain tension in the wire when in the secured position.

The basin can include at least four rails.

The rail can include a plate; a lamella, protruding from the plate and away from the outer surface of the basin, the lamella resiliently deformable and helping to center the basin within the hole when the lamella presses against the countertop; and two opposing faces angled towards each other, each face coupled to the plate. The faces and the plate form a channel through which the slider can slide between the secured and unsecured positions.

The slider can be composed of a central portion and two wings disposed about the central portion, each of the wings contacting one of the opposing faces such that the slider is retained within the channel. The slider can be recessed within the channel when in the unsecured position, and can be pushed away from the basin by the lamella as the slider slides through the channel towards the secured position.

The tightener may include a threaded pivoting member at least as long as the depth of

the basin and having a pointed tip for interfacing with the countertop; and a wire retainer configured to receive the wire and having a threaded aperture with the pivoting member inserted therethrough, pivoting of the pivoting member about the tip such that the wire retainer is moved away from the countertop and rotation of the pivoting member such that the wire retainer is moved away from the countertop both resulting in increased tension in the wire.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the accompanying drawings, which illustrate exemplary embodiments of the present invention:

Figure 1 is a side elevation view of a first embodiment of the present invention used in conjunction with a dual-basin sink;

Figure 2 is a perspective view of a rail, slider, and wire conduits that form part of the first embodiment;

Figure 3 is an enlarged, perspective view of a tightener that forms part of the first embodiment;

Figure 4 is an enlarged, perspective view of the rail and slider that form part of the first embodiment;

Figure 5(a) is a side elevation view of the rail and slider engaged with the bottom of a countertop in an alternative embodiment wherein the slider is not guided outwards by the rail as the slider climbs the rail;

Figure 5(b) is a side elevation view of the rail and slider engaged with the bottom of the countertop in the first embodiment; i.e., the embodiment wherein the slider is guided outwards by the rail as the slider climbs the rail;

Figure 6 is a side elevation view of a second embodiment of the present invention used in conjunction with a dual-basin sink;

Figure 7 is a perspective view of the rail, slider, wire conduits, and tightener that form part of the second embodiment;

Figure 8(a) is a perspective view of the tightener of the second embodiment;

Figure 8(b) is a sectional view of the tightener depicted in Figure 8(a) taken along line 1- 1 ;

Figure 9 is an enlarged, perspective view of the rail and slider that form part of the second embodiment;

Figure 10 is a sectional view of one of the wire conduits according to the second embodiment;

Figure 11(a) is a side elevation view of the second embodiment used in conjunction with a single-basin sink;

Figure 11(b) is a schematic view of the tightener of the second embodiment in an exemplary secured position; and

Figures 12(a) and (b) are, respectively, a perspective view of the second embodiment used in conjunction with a dual-basin sink and a top plan view of a countertop hole into which the sink is installed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT

Throughout the following description, directional terms such as "top", "bottom", "upwards", and "outwards" are used for the purpose of providing relative reference only, and are not intended to suggest any limitations on how any apparatus is to be positioned during use, or to be mounted in an assembly.

Installing and uninstalling a sink into a countertop can be difficult work. Traditionally, an installer has to crawl into the area under the sink and manually secure several sink clamps in order to secure the sink to the countertop. This work can be uncomfortable, as the area under the sink is not especially spacious, and time consuming.

Consequently, consumers who purchase a sink quite often retain trained professionals to install the sink for them, which makes installation a relatively costly process. A professional can easily require thirty minutes to install a sink in this fashion.

The embodiments described herein seek to ameliorate the time and effort required to install a sink into a countertop.

First Embodiment

Referring generally to Figures 1 to 5(b), there is depicted a first embodiment of an apparatus 12 for securing an overmount sink A to a countertop C as installed on to a typical dual-basin sink A is illustrated. By "overmount sink", it is meant a sink that has a lip that interfaces with a top surface of the countertop C. Referring specifically to Figure 1 , the apparatus 12 includes wire conduits 2, sliders 4 that slide along rails 3, a tightener 13, and wire 1 that is threaded through the conduits 2, sliders 4, and tightener 13. As depicted in Figures 5(a) and (b) and as discussed in more detail below, when the slider 4 is secured against a bottom surface of the countertop C, the countertop C is captured between the lip of the sink A and the slider 4, thus compressively securing the sink A in place.

Referring now to Figures 2 and 4, the rail 3, slider 4, and wire conduits 2 are seen in more detail. Each conduit 2 is fixedly attached under the lip extending around the top of the basin of the sink A. The conduit 2 may be made of any appropriate material and be coupled to the sink A using any suitable means known to persons skilled in the art. The conduit 2 may, for instance, be fabricated from metal or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and may be coupled to the sink A by welding or with glue.

In the illustrated embodiment, each rail 3 has two opposing faces 14 connected by a plate 22, which the plate 22 and faces 14 defining a channel through which the slider 4 can slide. The faces 14 are angled inwards so that the slider 4 does not disengage from the rail 3. Protruding outwards from the channel is a lamella 41 located centrally within the channel. The lamella 41 includes a slider engagement portion 15 that is coupled to the plate 22 at a first end and that protrudes from the plate and tapers outwards to a second end. At the second end, the lamella 41 is folded unto itself and is directed towards the sink A. This folded portion of the lamella 41 is a bent top portion 17. The bent top portion 17 helps to push the lamella 41 outwards from the sink A and to consequently bias the lamella 41 in an initial position. The slider 4 has a receiving portion 16 through which the slider engagement portion 15 is inserted. When the lamella 41 is displaced from the initial position in a direction towards the sink A, the bent top portion 17 along with any natural resiliency of the material connecting the lamella 41 to the remainder of the rail 3 will act like a spring and tend to return the lamella 41 to the initial position. Following the lowering of the sink A into a hole in a countertop C, a portion of the lamella 41 will be in contact with the interior surface of the edge of the hole. Consequently, the lamella 41 will be temporarily deflected from the initial position,

but as described above, will tend to spring back towards the initial position. The lamella 41 will therefore exert force on the interior surface of the edge of the hole such that the sink A is shifted and is consequently better centred within the hole. The slider engagement portion 15 also guides the slider 4 away from the sink A as the slider 4 climbs the rail 3. Tabs 18 located at the top of the rail 3 can be used to secure the rail 3 to the sink A using a suitable method such as spot welding, and the remainder of the rail 3 can also be secured to the lip extending around the basin of the sink A using, for example, glue or welding. The rail 3 may be made from a single sheet of metal, the lamella 41 being punched from the metal and the faces 14 and tabs 18 being bent from the metal. The lamella 41 may be stiff to aid in pushing against the interior surface of the edge of the hole. The rail 3 and lamella 41 can, for instance, be made from 22 - 24 gage (0.6 mm - 0.8 mm) sheet metal or from a plastic with similar strength.

The slider 4 is dimensioned to be slidable both longitudinally within the channel formed by the faces 14 and plate 22 and also through the depth of the channel. The slider 4 is at a recessed position at the bottom of the channel, at which position the slider engagement portion 15 has not yet guided the slider 4 outwards, and is at an elevated position at a top of the channel, at which position the slider engagement portion 15 has guided the slider 4 outwards. The slider also has a slider wire conduit 23 for receiving the wire 1. Wings 25, or a portion of the slider 4 that contacts the faces 14, may be bendable about a central portion 26 of the slider 4, thus maintaining constant contact between the faces 14 and the slider 4 and thereby stabilizing the slider 4 as it rises and is guided to its elevated position. The wings 25 and central portion 26 of the slider 4 together constitute a "front portion" of the slider 4. A rear portion 27 of the slider 4 is integrally connected to the front portion of the slider 4. In this first embodiment, the receiving portion 16 is defined between the front portion and the rear portion 27. Alternatively, the connection between the faces 14 and plate 22 may be bendable; thus, if the faces 14 fit snugly around the wings 25 of the slider 4 when the slider 4 is at the bottom of the channel and in the recessed position, the faces 14 can bend outwards as the slider 4 climbs the channel and is guided outwards, allowing the slider 4 to slide snugly up the rail 3 even if no portion of the slider 4 is bendable. Also in the alternative, the rail 3 and slider 4 may be designed such that a gap exists between the faces 14 and the wings 25 of the slider 4 when the slider 4 is in the recessed position at the bottom of the channel; in this embodiment, the gap is filled by the slider 4 as the slider 4 rises and

the faces 14 do not have to bend relative to the plate 22. The slider can, for instance, be injection molded or made of metal.

Referring now to Figure 3, a tightener 13 is shown. The tightener 13 can be any apparatus that seizes the wire 1 and maintains a certain tension in the wire 1. A suitable such apparatus is shown in Figure 3 and is composed of a hollow threaded cylindrical member 5, threaded on its interior and exterior, having a first end and a conical end 11. The member 5 is adapted to receive in its interior a threaded tightening screw 8 having a screw end 19 and a second end 20, the screw 8 capable of being threaded within the hollow threaded member 5. The tightener 13 also has a toothed wheel 9 for releasably coupling to the bottom of the countertop C, the toothed wheel 9 having a hole through which the second end 20 of the tightening screw 8 can be inserted, the toothed wheel 9 capable of rotating freely about the second end 20 of the tightening screw 8 but fixed in the axial direction of the screw 8; a tightening nut 6 mated to and rotatable about the exterior of the threaded member 5; and a triangular brace 7 having slots 21 , disposed between the conical end 11 and the tightening nut 6, slidable on the member 5. The brace 7 has a cylindrical portion 24 having a bore dimensioned to slidably engage a threaded portion of the member 5, the cylindrical portion 24 constrained within the threaded portion by the conical end 11 and the nut 6. Protruding from the cylindrical portion 24 is a triangular portion used to stabilize the tightener 13 between the two basins of the dual basin sink A. The wire 1 is threaded through the tightener 13, between the conical end 11 and the brace 7, and through slots 21 in the cylindrical portion 24. The slots 21 are provided in the lower portion of the cylindrical portion 24 to allow the wire 1 to be threaded through the slots 21 , into the bore between a surface of the bore and the exterior surface of the threaded member 5, and out of the top of the bore. The nut 6 can then be rotated to engage the top lip of the bore against the conical end 11 , thereby securing the wire in place. Optionally, the interior of the bore may be matably tapered relative to the exterior of the conical end 11 such that the cylindrical portion 24 can be positioned flush against the exterior of the conical end 11. Advantageously, when the interior of the bore is so tapered, the area of contact between the cylindrical portion 24 and the conical end 11 is increased, thus increasing the frictional force placed on the wire 1 and grasping the wire 1 more securely than the wire 1 would be if it were only secured between the rim of a non- tapered bore and the conical end 11.

In order to use the apparatus 12 to secure the sink A to the countertop C, the user can perform the following steps. Presumably, the user is already in possession of the sink A having the conduits 2, rails 3, sliders 4, and tightener 13 attached thereto by a manufacturer, for example, with the wire 1 threaded through the conduits 2, sliders 4, and tightener 13 as illustrated. In the exemplary embodiment, six rails 3 are attached to the sink A: two rails 3 on the front and rear of the dual-basin sink A, and one rail 3 on each of the sides of the sink A. The user, after cutting the hole in the countertop C, can lower the sink A into the hole until the lip of the sink A rests on the top surface of the countertop C. Once lowered, each lamella 41 will push against the interior surface of the edge of the countertop C, thus shifting the sink A within the hole and helping to centre the sink A, as described above. The user then grasps and pulls the loop 10 of wire 1 that hangs from the tightener 13. Pulling the loop 10 applies a tension through the wire 1 according to the force arrows illustrated in Figure 2. As mentioned above, the sliders 4 in the illustrated embodiment are guided outwards, away from the sink A, as the sliders 4 climb the rails 3. As evidenced in Figures 5(a) and (b), when the sliders 4 are guided outwards, they are able to better engage the bottom of the countertop C than they would be if they were not so guided. Figure 5(a) depicts an alternative embodiment of the invention wherein each rail 3 does not have a lamella 41 ; consequently, the sink A is not automatically centred within the hole, and the sliders 4 are not guided outwards as they climb the rail 3. In contrast, Figure 5(b), and Figures 2 and 4, depict the present embodiment of the invention wherein each rail 3 has a lamella 41 and therefore the slider 4 transitions from the recessed position at the bottom of the rail 3 to the elevated position at the top of the rail 3, as the slider 4 climbs the rail 3. The area of contact between the top of the slider 4 and the bottom of the countertop C illustrated in Figure 5(b) is greater than the area of contact between the slider 4 and the countertop C illustrated in Figure 5(a), as the distance the slider 4 is guided outwards helps to compensate for the gap between the countertop C and the sink A. Additionally, the sliders 3 when in their recessed position are able to move past the edge of the countertop C as the sink A is being lowered into the hole without impacting the countertop C. If the sliders 3 were always in their elevated position, the sliders 3 could impact the countertop C as the sink A was being lowered in the hole, resulting in damage to the apparatus 12 and making sink installation more difficult.

The force from the sliders 4 against the bottom of the countertop C, combined with the

weight of the sink A as transferred through the lip of the sink to the top of the countertop C, substantially secures the sink A in place. Specifically, the frictional force between the sliders 4 and the countertop C inhibit lateral movement of the sink A, while the component of force normal to the bottom surface of the countertop C inhibits lifting of the sink A. When the sliders 4 are positioned in the rails 3 such that they contact the bottom of the countertop C and thereby secure the sink A to the countertop C, the slider 3 is in a secured position. The slider 3 is otherwise in an unsecured position. The wire 1 is movable between a first position, which corresponds to the slider 3 being in the secured position, and the wire 1 is otherwise in a second position.

Following this, the user can place a knee or foot, for example, in the loop 10 of wire 1 in order to maintain a relatively constant force in the wire 1 while preparing to use the tightener 13. With the knee or foot in the loop 10, the user can position the tightener 13 such that the toothed wheel 9 grips the bottom of the countertop C. The user then rotates the nut 6 about the member 5 in order to move the nut towards the conical end 11. As the nut 6 moves towards the conical end 11 , it abuts against the bottom of the brace 7, thus pushing the brace 7 into the conical end 11 and trapping the wire 1 that is threaded between the conical end 11 and the brace 7. Once the nut 6 is tightened, the user can remove the knee from the loop 10. Using a screwdriver, if necessary, the user can then rotate the tightening screw 8, which slides the threaded member 5 towards the screw end 19. As the wire 1 is trapped between the conical end 11 and the brace 7, the wire 1 is also pulled toward the screw end 19, thus increasing tension in the wire 1 and finally securing the sink A to the countertop C. When the wire is trapped between the conical end 11 and the brace 7 such that tension in the wire is constant, the tightener 13 is in a secured position; the when the wire can slide between the conical end 11 and the brace 7, the tightener is in an unsecured position. The loop 10 of wire 1 can be collected and stored in, for example, a small plastic tube (not shown) to be stored under the sink A.

Second Embodiment

Referring now generally to Figures 6 to 12(b), there is depicted a second embodiment of an apparatus 12 for securing an overmount sink A to a countertop C as installed on to a typical dual-basin sink A.

As in the first embodiment, and as can be seen with reference specifically to Figure 6, in

this second embodiment the rails 3 and sliders 4 are secured to the basin of the sink A at various locations, and the wire 1 is threaded through the wire conduits 2 and the sliders 4. Also as in the first embodiment, tension applied to the wire 1 causes the sliders 4 to rise up the rails 3 and towards the countertop C, which can secure the sink A to the countertop C. In contrast to the first embodiment, however, and as discussed in greater detail with reference to Figures 7 to 12(b), the tightener 13, wire conduits 2, rails 3, and sliders 4 differ from those of the first embodiment, which consequently results in a different method of using the apparatus 12 to install the sink A.

Referring now to Figures 7, 9(a) and 9(b), there are depicted the rail 3 and slider 4, the slider 4 being movable between unsecured (solid lines in Figure 7) and secured

(stippled lines in Figure 7) positions on the rail 3. As in the first embodiment, the slider

4 is in the secured position when it is pressed up against the countertop C such that sink A is secured to the countertop C. The slider 4 of the second embodiment is composed from a deformable material, such as 22 - 24 gage (0.6 mm - 0.8 mm thick) sheet metal or plastic of similar strength, which is deformable by the lamella 41 as the slider 4 is pulled up the rail 3. The slider 4 of the second embodiment has no rear portion 27; consequently, it is retained within the rail 3 by the pressure exerted on the wings 25 of the slider 4 by the opposing faces 14 of the rail 3. As the slider 4 is pulled up the rail 3, the slider engagement portion 15 of the lamella 41 enters the receiving portion 16 of the slider 4 and the central portion 26 is consequently pushed outwards from the sink A and is able to contact the bottom of the countertop C.

Referring now to Figures 9(b) and 10, the slider wire conduit 23 is composed of a series of annular rings 32 that extend along the length of the slider wire conduit 23. Beneficially, and in contrast to using the interior of a cylindrical tube as a wire conduit, the wire 1 contacts the interior of the slider wire conduit 23 only at friction points 30, thus reducing the total amount of parasitic frictional force exerted on the wire 1. Using the series of annular rings 32 as the slider wire conduit 23 therefore decreases the amount of force the user is required to exert, relative to the first embodiment, in order to lift the sliders 4 into their secured position. Although not depicted, the wire conduits 2 can also be made of the series of annular rings 32.

Referring now to Figures 7, 8(a) and (b), and 11(a) and (b), there is depicted the second embodiment of the tightener 13. In this second embodiment, the tightener 13 includes a

pivoting member 28 threaded through a threaded aperture in the wire retainer 38. The pivoting member 28 can be a butterfly screw and the wire retainer 38 can be a bent piece of pipe, as depicted in the figures. The pivoting member 28 has a handle disposed at one end thereof and a pointed tip disposed at the other end thereof. Rotation of the handle results in movement of the wire retainer 38 along the pivoting member 28. As can be seen from the sectional view of Figure 8(b), the wire 1 is threaded through a gap between the pivoting member 28 and the walls of the wire retainer 38. Alternative embodiments of the pivoting member 28 and the wire retainer 38 (not depicted) include an unthreaded pivoting member 28 that is fixedly coupled to the wire retainer 38 (e.g.: through welding), and a pivoting member 28 that is movable coupled to the wire retainer 38 through non-threaded means, such as by shifting the wire retainer 38 along a series of notches on the pivoting member 28.

Referring specifically to Figure 11 (a), both the tightener 13 and the sliders 4 are in unsecured positions. The pivoting member 28 can be secured to the sink A basin with a clip 40 that is glued to the sink basin A, and that can be easily broken away from the sink A when the user begins to move the pivoting member 28. The pointed tip of the pivoting member 28 is mounted against the bottom of the countertop C. In an alternative embodiment (not depicted) and depending on the size of the hole in the countertop C in which the sink A is seated, the pointed tip may be mounted against the lip of the sink A. In order to move the tightener 13 and the sliders 4 into their secured positions, the user can pivot the pivoting member 28 about the countertop C until it is perpendicular to the countertop, as depicted in Figure 11(b). By so pivoting the pivoting member 28, the wire retainer 38 is moved away from the countertop C and tension through the wire 1 is increased, thereby pulling the sliders 4 up against the countertop C. In this way, both the sliders 4 and tightener 13 transition from unsecured to secured positions. As the wire is able to slide freely within the wire retainer 38 as the user is pivoting the pivoting member 28, when the pivoting member 28 is perpendicular to the countertop C the pivoting member 28 and wire retainer 38 are in equilibrium and are stable

Depending on the length of wire 1 used, the wire retainer 38 may still need to be moved either closer to or farther from the countertop C along the pivoting member 28. For example, if when the pivoting member 28 is perpendicular to the countertop C slack remains in the wire and the sliders 4 remained unsecured, then the pivoting member 28

can be rotated such that the wire retainer 38 moves towards the handle, thereby increasing tension in the wire 1. For certain countertops C, such as those made of wood, this has the added benefit of drilling the pointed tip into the countertop C, thereby providing added stabilization to the pivoting member 28 that helps prevent it from being pulled out of its perpendicular position. The pivoting member 28 can therefore be at least as long as the sink A basin is deep, so that the user can twist the handle of the pivoting member 28 without hitting the basin.

In both the first and second embodiments, the tightener 13 acts as a means for securing the slider 4 in the secured position. Other means for securing the slider 4 in the secured position are possible, however. For example, the slider 4 may have a locking pin that can be inserted through a hole in the rail 3. Alternatively, the rail 3 may be notched, and the slider 4 may be secured in the secured position by these notches.

Referring now to Figures 12(a) and (b), there are depicted a dual-basin sink 42 configured to be securable within a hole 36 in the countertop C. While a dual-basin sink is depicted, a sink 42 having any number of basins can be used in conjunction with any of the embodiments described herein. The sink 42 has a faucet piece 34 through which piping for plumbing can be inserted, and the hole 36 is shaped to accommodate the faucet piece 34. The sink 42 has attached thereto four rails 3 and sliders 4, two tighteners 13, a plurality of wire conduits 2 and wire sufficient to circumscribe the basins of the sink 42. Ideally, the amount of wire 1 used is such that when the tighteners 13 are moved to be perpendicular relative to the countertop C, the sliders 4 are in their secured position. The amount of wire necessary will depend on the thickness of the countertop C and the position of the wire retainer 38 on the pivoting member 28. Practically, a sink manufacturer can select a length of wire that is suitable for a wide range of countertop thicknesses (e.g.: for thicknesses between 5/8" and 2.5") and rely on the user's ability to adjust the position of the wire retainer 38 along the pivoting member 28 after the pivoting member 28 has been moved perpendicular to the countertop C. To complete installation of the sink 42 into the hole 36, the user can simply lower the sink 42 into the hole 36, the tighteners 18 can each be moved such that they are perpendicular to the countertop C and the user can apply further tension to the wire 1 by moving the wire retainer 38 away from the countertop C through rotating the handle of the pivoting member 28 as necessary.

To uninstall the sink 42, the user can simply rotate the handle of the pivoting member 28 in the opposite direction, push the tightener 13 such that it is no longer perpendicular to the countertop C, and lift the sink 42 out of the hole 36.

One benefit of the embodiments described herein is that the user can secure the sink to the countertop without having to crawl into the area under the sink to install clamps. A further benefit is that as the user does not have to manually install several clamps one after the other, a sink can be secured much more quickly than by using the clamps known in the prior art. In contrast to the thirty minutes a professional can spend installing a sink using traditional sink clamps, an average consumer can install a sink in about forty-five seconds using the embodiments described herein. Uninstallation is even simpler, as it takes only about seven seconds to uninstall a sink that has been installed using the embodiments described herein.

While a particular embodiment of the present invention has been described in the foregoing, it is to be understood that other embodiments are possible within the scope of the invention and are intended to be included herein. It will be clear to any person skilled in the art that modifications of and adjustments to this invention, not shown, are possible without departing from the spirit of the invention as demonstrated through the exemplary embodiment. The invention is therefore to be considered limited solely by the scope of the appended claims.