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Title:
JOINT SYSTEM FOR A MODULAR FURNITURE ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/002902
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A furniture part (12A) for a modular furniture system includes a female connector portion. The female connector portion includes a slot (14A) for receiving a second furniture part in clamping engagement, the slot extending from a proximal end (54) to a distal end (56) and having opposed first and second edges (50, 52). The slot (14A) comprises a restriction for clamping engagement with the second furniture part. The restriction includes two arm portions (60, 62), each arm portion disposed on a respective one of the first and second edges (50,52). Each arm portion (60, 62) extends distally or proximally in the slot (14A) and is elastically deformable outwards towards its respective edge of the slot when a second furniture part is slid into place from the proximal end (54) towards the distal end (56). A joint system employing the furniture part, and a modular furniture assembly, are also provided.

Inventors:
MCCULLOUGH STEPHEN (GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2019/051791
Publication Date:
January 02, 2020
Filing Date:
June 25, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
KANSO LTD (GB)
International Classes:
A47B47/00; A47B47/04; A47C19/00
Foreign References:
GB2411707A2005-09-07
US5121526A1992-06-16
US20030224690A12003-12-04
DE102015001581A12016-07-14
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CREATION IP LIMITED (GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A furniture part for a modular furniture system, the furniture part comprising a female connector portion, the female connector portion comprising:

a slot for receiving a second furniture part in clamping engagement, the slot extending from a proximal end to a distal end and having opposed first and second edges;

wherein the slot comprises a restriction for clamping engagement with a said second furniture part, the restriction comprising two arm portions, each arm portion disposed on a respective one of the first and second edges; and

wherein each arm portion extends distally or proximally in the slot and is elastically deformable outwards towards its respective edge of the slot when a second furniture part is slid into place from the proximal end towards the distal end.

2. The furniture part of claim 1 wherein both arm portions extend distally in the slot.

3. The furniture part of claim 2 wherein the proximal end of the slot has first and second edges spaced apart so as to fit closely about an inserted second furniture part and the arm portions define an inwards taper of the slot width in the distal direction.

4. the furniture part of claim 2 or claim 1 wherein the proximal end of the slot has a taper, narrowing in the distal direction to aid locating a second furniture part in the slot.

5. The furniture part of claim 1 wherein both arm portions extend proximally in the slot.

6. The furniture part of claim 5 wherein the distal end of the slot has first and second edges spaced apart so as to fit closely about an inserted second furniture part and the arm portions define an inwards taper of the slot width in the proximal direction.

7. The furniture part of any preceding claim wherein a space is provided between each arm portion and the respective first or second edge, to allow outwards bending deformation of the arm portion.

8. The furniture part of any preceding claim wherein all of the female connector portion is formed of the same material as the material that makes up at least the immediately surrounding portion of the furniture part.

9. The furniture part of claim 8 wherein all of the furniture part including the female connector portion is formed of the same material.

10. The furniture part of any preceding claim wherein the arm portions are generally triangular in form and narrow as they extend away from their attachment to their respective first or second edge.

1 1. The furniture part of any preceding claim wherein the slot has an open proximal end and a closed distal end.

12. The furniture part of any preceding claim wherein the furniture part comprises a sheet material and the slot is provided through the full thickness of the sheet.

13. The furniture part of claim 12 wherein the slot extends from an open proximal end, on an edge of the sheet material, to a closed distal end.

14. The furniture part of claim 12 or claim 13 wherein the slot extends generally orthogonally from an edge of the sheet material.

15. The furniture part of claim 13 or claim 14 wherein the closed distal end is generally parallel with the edge of the sheet material that includes the proximal end of the slot.

16. The furniture part of any one of claims 13 to 15 wherein the edge of the sheet material from which the slot extends is orthogonal to the faces of the sheet.

17. The furniture part of any one of claims 13 to 16 wherein,

each arm portion extends distally;

a space is provided between each arm portion and the respective first or second edge, to allow outwards bending deformation of the arm portion; and

a second restriction is provided at the distal end of the slot.

18. A furniture part as defined in any one of claims 12 to 17 wherein at least one face of the sheet material employed is provided with a groove for fitting into a slot of a second furniture part, in use.

19. A joint system for modular furniture for modular furniture comprising:

a furniture part, as defined in any one of claims 1 to 18, as a first furniture part; and

a second furniture part formed and arranged to slide into the slot of the first furniture part for clamping engagement with the arm portions.

20. The joint system of claim 19 wherein the second furniture part is a furniture part as defined in any one of claims 1 to 18.

21. The joint system of claim 19 wherein the first furniture part is a furniture part as defined in any one of claims 1 1 to 18 and the second furniture part comprises sheet material provided with one of:

a groove on one face; or

two opposed grooves one on each face;

wherein the slot in the first furniture part is sized to receive the second furniture part at the groove or grooves in clamping engagement with the arm portions.

22. The joint system of claim 19 or claim 21 wherein the second furniture part comprises a female connector portion comprising a slot and the female connector portions of the first furniture part and the second furniture part together form a female to female interlock for securing the first furniture part and the second furniture part together.

23. The joint system of claim 22 wherein the female connector portion of the second furniture part comprises a slot that does not engage the first furniture part with a clamping action.

24. A modular furniture assembly comprising the joint system according to any one of claims 19 to 23.

25. The modular furniture assembly of claim 24 wherein the furniture assembly takes the form of a bed.

26. The modular bed assembly of claim 25, comprising a reversible headboard configured such that the length of the bed assembly can be varied.

27. A construction comprising the furniture part according to any one of claims 1 to 18.

Description:
JOINT SYSTEM FOR A MODULAR FURNITURE ASSEMBLY

FIELD

This relates to a joint system for, but not exclusively, a modular furniture assembly.

BACKGROUND

A vast array of products are now manufactured as modular assemblies, which can be easily transported and then assembled at a desired location.

Modular furniture, for example, provides significant advantages over conventional furniture in terms of flexibility and cost. Nevertheless, there are a number of drawbacks with modular furniture systems.

For example, modular furniture is typically constructed from a number of parts which are then secured together using fasteners, such as dowels, screws, bolts or the like. A typical piece of furniture may require a significant number of the fasteners, increasing the amount of time and complexity of the assembly operation.

Missing fasteners also present a problem for both the purchaser and the supplier in terms of lost time, revenue and inconvenience.

Moreover, fasteners such as screws and bolts also require tools, such as a screwdriver, Allen key or the like to facilitate assembly, while dowels require a hammer or mallet; requiring the supplier to provide these with the assembly or the purchaser/assembler to have an appropriate tool at their disposal.

Modular furniture is typically constructed from wood, plywood, fibreboard, e.g. medium density fibreboard (“MDF”), or the like (referred to below simply as wood products). While MDF is known for its dimensional stability in comparison to timber, all wood products suffer from dimensional instability as a result of environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity or the like. Such instability often causes problems both in the construction and/or disassembly of the modular assembly as the joints no longer function correctly. As a result of dimensional instability, modular furniture comprising no mechanical fixings may employ oversized lapping joints (or joints requiring tools to assemble). Oversized joints have the potential for significant joint movement tolerance, which may lead to noise when subject to external forces. There is also a potential for oversized joints to fall apart under construction. SUMMARY

According to a first aspect, there is provided a joint system for a modular furniture assembly, comprising:

a first furniture part having a female connector portion formed therein;

a second furniture part having a corresponding female connector portion formed therein,

wherein the female connector portion of the first furniture part and the female connector portion of the second furniture part together form a female-to-female interlock for securing the first furniture part and the second furniture part together.

Beneficially, embodiments of the joint system provide a joint which allows modular components, such as modular furniture components, to be easily and quickly assembled to form a strong yet flexible structure without the need for mechanical fasteners or other fixings. Readily capable of being assembled and taken apart by hand, the joint can be taken apart and reassembled with no loss of product strength or material integrity in a broad range of environments. Moreover, the joint tightens under load, giving strength and stability (for example when subject to rotational stress) yet offering the ability to open up easily when the load is removed. The joint system may provide further benefits such as: using similar components throughout the furniture to simplify assembly thereof, the furniture parts may be straightforward to recycle and/or the furniture parts may be reusable in different modular furniture assemblies. In some embodiments, the parts of the joint system may be made from the same material and/or have no mechanical fasteners or other fixings, which may allow the joint system to be easily and quickly disassembled so that the furniture parts may be recycled or otherwise reused.

The female connector portion of the first furniture part may be configured to clamp the female connector portion of the second furniture part.

The female connector portion of the first furniture part may be configured to provide a restriction that deforms or flexes upon the female connector portion of the second furniture part being inserted into the female connector portion of the first furniture part.

The second female connector portion of the second furniture part may be configured to clamp the female connector portion of the first furniture part. The female connector portion of the second furniture part may be configured to provide a restriction that deforms or flexes upon the female connector portion of the first furniture part being inserted into the female connector portion of the second furniture part. At least one of the female connector portions may take the form of a slot. The slot may or may not provide a restriction or clamping function.

The female connector portion of the first furniture part and the corresponding female connector portion of the second furniture part may be identical or substantially identical. Alternatively, the female connector portions of the first and second furniture parts may be different.

The female connector portion of the first furniture part may take the form of a slot in the first furniture part.

At least one of the female connector portions may take the form of a slot configured to permit another of the female connector portions to be inserted into the slot without restriction and optionally may be configured such that, in use, a clamping force is not applied by the slot on the inserted female connector portion.

The slot may extend through the first furniture part. In other words, the slot may have a depth equal to the thickness of the first furniture part.

The slot may comprise a body portion.

The body portion may extend from a face, e.g. an end face, of the first furniture part.

A proximal section of the body portion may extend perpendicularly, or substantially perpendicularly, to the face of the first furniture part.

A distal section of the body portion may be tapered.

The distal section of the body portion may be tapered inwards.

In particular embodiments, the angle of taper of the distal section of the body portion may be 2 degrees. However, other suitable taper angles may be used where appropriate (e.g. 0.5, 1 , 1 .5, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4 degrees, or the like). It will however be appreciated that the taper may vary by application.

The slot may comprise at least one arm portion.

The slot may comprise two arm portions.

The arm portion may extend outwardly from the body portion.

The body portion and the arm portion may define a locking portion.

The locking portion may define a fluke.

The locking portion may be movable relative to an axis of the body portion.

The locking portion may be configured to elastically deform outwards when the first and second furniture parts are engaged.

The locking portion may be configured to elastically deform inwards when the first and second furniture parts have been slotted together. The locking portion may be movable outwards, that is away from the axis of the body portion.

The female connector portion of the second furniture part may take the form of a slot in the second furniture part.

The slot may extend through the second furniture part. In other words, the slot may have a depth equal to the thickness of the second furniture part.

The slot may comprise a body portion.

The body portion may extend from a face, e.g. an end face, of the second furniture part.

A proximal section of the body portion may extend perpendicularly, or substantially perpendicularly, to the face of the second furniture part.

A distal section of the body portion may be tapered.

The distal section of the body portion may be tapered inwards.

In particular embodiments, the angle of taper of the distal section of the body portion may be 2 degrees. However, other suitable taper angles may be used where appropriate (e.g. 0.5, 1 , 1.5, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4 degrees, or the like). It will however be appreciated that the taper may vary by application.

The slot may comprise at least one arm portion.

The slot may comprise two arm portions.

At least one arm portion may define a concave portion formed in a wall of the slot.

The concave portion may be configured to allow the at least one arm portion to flex to facilitate engagement of the first and second furniture parts.

The arm portion may extend outwardly from the body portion.

The body portion and the arm portion may define a locking portion.

The locking portion may define a fluke.

The locking portion may be movable relative to an axis of the body portion.

The locking portion may be configured to elastically deform outwards when the first and second furniture parts are engaged.

The locking portion may be configured to elastically deform inwards when the first and second furniture parts have been slotted together.

The locking portion may be movable outwards, that is away from the axis of the body portion.

The slot may be configured to provide a clamping function. The slot may be configured to define a restriction (e.g. in a first configuration) configured to deform or flex (e.g. to a second configuration) upon another part being inserted into the slot. The slot may be configured to return to its first configuration upon the part being removed from the slot.

The slot may be configured to provide an interference fit. For example, the body portion may not be deformable or flexible.

The slot may not be configured to provide a clamping function. For example, the slot may not provide a restriction.

At least one of the first component and the second component may be constructed from a sheet material. The sheet material may comprise a wood product, such as timber, medium density fibreboard (MDF), plywood or the like. It will be appreciated that other materials such as plastic, metal, fibrous, natural and/or man made materials may be used alone or in combination to construct the sheet material. A joint system may comprise one or more materials.

At least one of the furniture parts may be configured to facilitate alignment between the first and second female connector portions so as to permit the female connector portions to be guided together, upon being connected, to form the female-to- female interlock.

At least one of the furniture parts may comprise at least one bevelled portion. The at least one bevelled portion may be configured to facilitate respective alignment between the female connector portions. It will be appreciated that other shaped- surfaces may be configured to provide the alignment/guiding functionality.

In some embodiments, both the first and second furniture parts may comprise the female connector portion of the first furniture part.

Beneficially, embodiments of the joint system also provide a secure joint which addresses the inherent dimensional variability in the wood product which may occur with different environmental conditions.

The joint system may be provided as a kit of parts.

According to a second aspect, there is provided a modular bed assembly comprising the joint system according to the first aspect.

Beneficially, embodiments of the modular bed assembly provide a joint which allows modular components, such as modular furniture components, to be easily assembled to form a strong yet flexible structure without the need for mechanical fasteners or other fixings. Readily capable of being assembled by hand, the joint can be taken apart and reassembled with no loss of product strength or material integrity in a broad range of environments. Moreover, the joint tightens under load, giving strength and stability (e.g. when subject to rotational stress) yet offering the ability to open up easily when the load is removed. The bed assembly may provide further benefits such as: using similar components throughout the bed to simplify assembly thereof, the furniture parts may be straightforward to recycle and/or the furniture parts may be reusable in different modular furniture assemblies. In some embodiments, the parts of the joint system may be made from the same material and/or have no mechanical fasteners or other fixings, which may allow the joint system to be easily and quickly disassembled so that the furniture parts may be recycled or otherwise reused. Due to a degree of tolerance provided by one or more of the joints of the assembly, the overall structure may be flexible while retaining strength. Thus, depending on the tolerance and/or clamping force provided by one or more of the joints, the bed assembly may be self-levelling or be capable of compensating for an uneven floor by distributing the load across a plurality of the joints. At least one of the joints may be configured to provide a different degree of tolerance or clamping force to at least one other of the joints. Thus, certain joint(s) may provide strength, while other joint(s) may provide flexibility and/or permit a degree of rotational movement of the respective furniture parts.

The joint system used in the construction of the modular bed assembly provides a degree of flexibility, thereby providing a self-levelling function providing a solid base on uneven floor surfaces.

The modular bed assembly may comprise at least one clamping joint configured to secure at least one furniture part to at least one other furniture part and at least one slot configured to permit a degree of rotational flexibility between other furniture parts. Any number and combination of slots and clamping joints may be used to provide strength while retaining a degree of flexibility.

The modular bed assembly may comprise a reversible headboard configured such that the length of the bed assembly can be varied. For example, slots in the headboard may permit rails or other members to be inserted therethrough in order to engage joints or slots in another member of the bed assembly.

The modular bed assembly may comprise a first member.

The first member may comprise legs or at least one leg for supporting the modular bed assembly on the ground.

The modular bed assembly may comprise a headboard.

The first member may be couplable to and support the headboard of the modular bed assembly. The headboard may comprise channels for coupling the headboard to the first member.

The modular bed assembly may comprise a second member. The second member may comprise legs or at least one leg.

The second member may form, or may be couplable to, a footboard of the modular bed assembly.

The modular bed assembly may comprise one or more rail.

The modular bed assembly may comprise a plurality of rails.

The modular bed assembly may further comprise a third member.

The third member may, in use, provide additional structural support to the modular bed assembly. However, it will be recognised that in other embodiments, the third member may not be required. In some embodiments, the third member may be inverted and/or provide additional functionality such as comprising at least one leg for providing additional structure support. For example, the third member may be configured to prevent bowing or deformation of the bed assembly due to the weight of the bed assembly or if the bed assembly is in use.

The modular bed assembly may be provided as a kit of parts.

According to a third aspect, there is provided a modular furniture assembly comprising the joint system according to the first aspect.

Beneficially, embodiments of the modular furniture assembly provide a joint which allows modular components, such as modular furniture components, to be easily assembled to form a strong yet flexible structure without the need for mechanical fasteners or other fixings. Readily capable of being assembled by hand, the joint can be taken apart and reassembled with no loss of product strength or material integrity in a broad range of environments. Moreover, the joint tightens under load, giving strength and stability (e.g. when subject to rotational stress) yet offering the ability to open up easily when the load is removed. The furniture assembly may provide further benefits such as: using similar components throughout the furniture to simplify assembly thereof, the furniture parts may be straightforward to recycle and/or the furniture parts may be reusable in different modular furniture assemblies. In some embodiments, the parts of the joint system may be made from the same material and/or have no mechanical fasteners or other fixings, which may allow the joint system to be easily and quickly disassembled so that the furniture parts may be recycled or otherwise reused. Due to a degree of tolerance provided by one or more of the joints of the assembly, the overall structure may be flexible while retaining strength. Thus, depending on the tolerance and/or clamping force provided by one or more of the joints, the assembly may be self-levelling or be capable of compensating for an uneven floor by distributing the load across a plurality of the joints. At least one of the joints may be configured to provide a different degree of tolerance or clamping force to at least one other of the joints. Thus, certain joint(s) may provide strength, while other joint(s) may provide flexibility and/or permit a degree of rotational movement of the respective furniture parts.

The joint system of any aspect or embodiment may be used in any type of furniture construction and is not limited to beds. For example, the joint system may be used in tables, chairs, desks, storage units such as cupboards, chests, wine racks, shelves, or the like, or indeed in any other type of furniture. The joint system may be used in the construction of any type of frame or other support structure for any desired purpose.

According to a fourth aspect there is provided a furniture part having a female connector portion formed therein, wherein the female connector portion is configured to form a female-to-female interlock for securing the furniture part to a further furniture part.

The furniture part of the fourth aspect may comprise one of the furniture parts of the first aspect. The furniture part of the fourth aspect may comprise one of: the first and second connector portions of the first aspect. The further furniture part of the fourth aspect may comprise the other one of: the first and second connector portions of the first aspect. The furniture part of the fourth aspect may comprise any feature of any aspect or embodiment described herein.

According to a fifth aspect, there is provided a joint system comprising:

a first part having a female connector portion formed therein;

a second part having a corresponding female connector portion formed therein, wherein the female connector portion of the first part and the female connector portion of the second part together form a female-to-female interlock for securing the first part and the second part together.

The first part may comprise a first furniture part or part of another structure or product.

The second part may comprise a second furniture part or part of another structure or product.

The joint system may have utility in any appropriate type of structure or product, for example, where the provision of the joint assembly in that structure or product may provide at least one similar benefit as described in relation to the aspects or embodiments described herein.

According to a sixth aspect there is provided a furniture part comprising a female connector portion according to any other aspect or embodiment described herein. The female connector portion may be configured to clamp another furniture part upon insertion of that furniture part into the female connector portion (e.g. whether that furniture part provides a male or female engagement).

According to a seventh aspect there is provided a construction comprising the joint system or the first furniture part according to any aspect or embodiment described herein.

It will be understood that features defined above or below may be utilised in isolation or in combination with any other defined feature.

The invention may also be described as in the following non-limiting numbered clauses.

Clauses

1 . A joint system for modular furniture, comprising:

a first furniture part having a female connector portion formed therein;

a second furniture part having a corresponding female connector portion formed therein,

wherein the female connector portion of the first furniture part and the female connector portion of the second furniture part together form a female-to-female interlock for securing the first furniture part and the second furniture part together.

2. The joint system of clause 1 , wherein the female connector portion of the first furniture part is configured to clamp the female connector portion of the second furniture part.

3. The joint system of clause 1 or 2, wherein the female connector portion of the first furniture part is configured to provide a restriction that deforms or flexes upon the female connector portion of the second furniture part being inserted into the female connector portion of the first furniture part. 4. The joint system of clause 1 , 2 or 3, wherein the second female connector portion of the second furniture part is configured to clamp the female connector portion of the first furniture part, and optionally wherein the female connector portion of the second furniture part is configured to provide a restriction that deforms or flexes upon the female connector portion of the first furniture part being inserted into the female connector portion of the second furniture part.

5. The joint system of any preceding clause, wherein at least one of the female connector portions take the form of a slot.

6. The joint system of clause 5, wherein the slot comprises a body portion.

7. The joint system of clause 6, wherein a distal section of the body portion is tapered inwards.

8. The joint system of clause 5, 6 or 7, wherein the slot comprises at least one arm portion.

10. The joint system of clause 8, wherein the slot comprises two arm portions.

1 1. The joint system of clause 8 or 9, when dependent on claim 6, wherein the body portion and the arm portion define a locking portion.

12. The joint system of clause 1 1 , wherein the locking portion defines a fluke.

13. The joint system of clause 1 1 or 12, wherein the locking portion is configured to elastically deform outwards when the first and second furniture parts are engaged.

14. The joint system of clause 1 1 , 12 or 13, wherein the locking portion is configured to elastically deform inwards when the first and second furniture parts have been slotted together.

15. The joint system of any preceding clause, wherein at least one of the female connector portions takes the form of a slot configured to permit another of the female connector portions to be inserted into the slot without restriction and optionally configured such that, in use, a clamping force is not applied by the slot on the inserted female connector portion.

16. The joint system of any preceding clause, wherein at least one of the furniture parts is configured to facilitate alignment between the first and second female connector portions so as to permit the female connector portions to be guided together, upon being connected, to form the female-to-female interlock.

17. The joint system of clause 16, wherein at least one of the furniture parts comprises at least one bevelled portion configured to facilitate respective alignment between the female connector portions.

18. The joint system of any preceding clause, wherein at least one of the first furniture part and the second furniture part are constructed from a sheet material.

19. The joint system of any preceding clause, wherein at least one of the first furniture part and the second furniture part comprises a wood product, such as timber, medium density fibreboard (MDF), plywood.

20. A furniture part comprising a female connector portion according to any one of clauses 1 to 19, the female connector portion being configured to clamp another furniture part upon insertion of that furniture part into the female connector portion.

21 . A modular bed assembly comprising the joint system according to any preceding clause.

22. The modular bed assembly of clause 21 , comprising at least one clamping joint configured to secure at least one furniture part to at least one other furniture part and at least one slot configured to permit a degree of rotational flexibility between other furniture parts.

23. The modular bed assembly of clause 21 or 22, comprising a reversible headboard configured such that the length of the bed assembly can be varied. 24. A modular furniture assembly comprising the joint system according to any one of clauses 1 to 19.

25. A construction comprising the joint system according to any one of clauses 1 to 19.

SUMMARY OF SOME PREFERRED FEATURES

Conveniently the invention as described herein may be provided as described in an alternative fashion below. In this discussion of additional and in some instances preferred aspects of the invention, the term‘body portion’ of the slot is replaced by the terms first edge and second edge - referring to the edges of the slot which may support an inserted furniture part.

The invention provides a furniture part for a modular furniture system, the furniture part comprising a female connector portion, the female connector portion comprising:

a slot for receiving a second furniture part in clamping engagement, the slot extending from a proximal end to a distal end and having opposed first and second edges;

wherein the slot comprises a restriction for clamping engagement with a said second furniture part, the restriction comprising two arm portions, each arm portion disposed on a respective one of the first and second edges; and

wherein each arm portion extends distally or proximally in the slot and is elastically deformable outwards towards its respective edge of the slot when a second furniture part is slid into place from the proximal end towards the distal end.

The furniture part may be described as a first furniture part, for connecting to a second furniture part as a joint system, such as the joint systems for modular furniture described herein.

Conveniently both of the two arm portions extend distally (from its respective first or second edge and towards the distal end) in the slot; or both arm portions extend proximally (from its respective edge and towards the proximal end) in the slot.

Where both the arm portions extend distally in the slot the proximal end of the slot may have first and second edges spaced apart so as to fit closely about an inserted second furniture part with the arm portions extending distally and defining an inwards taper of the slot width (towards the distal end), to clamp to an inserted second furniture part by elastic deformation of the arm portions. In this arrangement the first and second edges can support the second furniture part when it is clamped by the arm portions, providing a stable connection between furniture parts.

Where the arm portions extend proximally in the slot the distal end of the slot may have first and second edges spaced apart so as to fit closely about an inserted second furniture part with the arm portions extending proximally and defining an inwards taper of the slot width (towards the proximal end) to clamp to an inserted second furniture part by elastic deformation of the arm portions.

Where the arm portions define an inwards taper for clamping, the taper may be relatively small, for example 2 degrees, as discussed above under the heading ‘Summary’.

The arm portions are elastically deformable. For example they may be made of a resilient material such as a natural or synthetic rubber. However in particularly convenient forms of the invention, all of the female connector portion is formed of the same material as the material that makes up at least the immediately surrounding portion of the furniture part. The female connector portion may be formed of the same material as the material that makes up all of the rest of the furniture part.

For example the female connector portion is formed by cutting or machining (e.g. by use of a router tool) the furniture part material; without the requirement to add any components to make the female connector portion. In such an arrangement the elastic deformation of the arms is facilitated by providing arm portions that can deflect towards their respective edge of the slot i.e. there is a space between a distally or proximally extending arm and the respective edge of the slot - to allow bending deformations of the arm portion.

More generally in furniture parts of the invention it can be advantageous to provide a space between an arm portion and the respective first or second edge.

The arm portion may be generally triangular in form when the slot is viewed from the side and looking at the space between the first and second edges (the flukes as discussed above). In other words the arm portions narrow (to a corner of the triangle) as they extend away from their attachment to their respective first or second edge. Such triangular arm portions may have greater strength in use than arm portions of a generally consistent width as they extend proximally or distally in the slot.

The slot is provided in the furniture part. The slot may be a cavity in the furniture part e.g. a hole in the furniture part that can accept a correspondingly shaped ‘peg’ on another furniture part. The slot may be a recess in a furniture part i.e. the slot may comprise first and second edges and a back face. The slot may have an open proximal end and a closed distal end. The closed distal end of the slot can provide a supporting function for a second furniture part that is inserted into the connector portion.

Where the arm portions extend distally the proximal end of the slot may have a taper, narrowing in the distal direction to aid locating a second furniture part in the slot. For example the taper may be in the first and second edges i.e. the first and second edges may be bevelled.

For many uses the furniture part may comprise, consist essentially of or may consist of a sheet material. The slot may be provided through its full thickness. The slot may extend from an open proximal end, on an edge of the sheet material, to a closed distal end. The slot may extend generally orthogonally from the edge of the sheet material (apart from the taper of the restriction provided by the arm portions and a space between each extending arm portion and its respective first or second edge). The restriction can be sized to receive a second furniture part of generally the same thickness (typically of the same sheet material) as the furniture part that includes the female connector portion. The closed distal end may be generally parallel with the edge of the sheet material that includes the proximal end of the slot.

In other words the female connector portion may provide a generally rectangular slot (that may be generally square) in the edge of a piece of sheet material, defined by the first and second edges and the arm portions. The slot may widen where the arm portions extend to provide a space between the arm portions and the respective side edge to allow bending of the arm portions when a second furniture piece is inserted and clamped.

As discussed above under the heading‘Summary’, the furniture part may be constructed from a sheet material. The sheet material may comprise a wood product, such as timber, medium density fibreboard (MDF), plywood or the like. It will be appreciated that other materials such as plastic, metal, fibrous, natural and/or man made materials may be used alone or in combination to construct the sheet material. Plywood is a notably useful material as it has good strength with some flexibility. Sheets or planks of the material can be cut or machined to include connector portions as described herein.

As described herein the furniture part can receive a second furniture part in clamping engagement. Thus the invention provides a joint system for modular furniture as described herein. In the discussion that follows of joint arrangements, the two furniture parts that are clamped together are designated first furniture part and second furniture part, for clarity.

Both first and second furniture parts may be of sheet material and the female connector piece of the first furniture part may provide a generally rectangular slot defined by the first and second edges and the arm portions as described above. In which case the second furniture part may simply be a sheet, that may be elongate in the form of a plank, of the sheet material. An edge of the second furniture part is received into clamping engagement with the slot. The edge of the second furniture part can rest against the closed distal end of the slot. The first and second furniture parts may be clamped orthogonal to each other. Orthogonal edged sheet material may be employed i.e. sheet material where the edges of the portions of sheet employed, such as planks, are orthogonal to the faces of the sheet - at least where the joints are made. Where orthogonal edged sheet material is employed, a width of the sheet material of the second furniture part may rest against the width of the closed distal end of the slot of the female connector portion.

Alternatively the second furniture part may have its own female connector portion that may take the same form as that of the first furniture part. With orthogonal edged sheet material the first and second furniture parts may be clamped orthogonal to each other. A width of the closed distal end of the slot in the second furniture part may rest against the width of the closed distal end of the slot in the first furniture part.

As a yet further alternative the second furniture part may have its own female connector portion that takes the form of a slot without a clamping action. With orthogonal edged sheet material the first and second furniture parts may be clamped orthogonal to each other. A width of the closed distal end of the slot in the second furniture part may rest against the width of the closed distal end of the slot in the first furniture part.

The various joint alternatives described immediately above can provide a wide range of joint strength and stability especially when using furniture parts comprising, consisting essentially of or consisting of a sheet material. The clamping action can be adjusted by fine adjustment of the sizes of parts that fit together including, for example, adjustment of the arm portion thickness and/or length.

Typically, when using sheet material, the first and second edges of the slot in the first furniture part, or at least the first and second arm portions, will engage faces of the sheet material of the second furniture part. Where both first and second furniture parts include female connector portions, then the first and second edges of each slot will engage the faces of the sheet material of the other furniture part. Conveniently at least one face of the sheet material of a first or second furniture part may have a groove, and the slot of the other furniture part sized to accept the sheet material at the groove in close fitting or clamping engagement. The slot may be sized so that the sheet material can only be accepted in the slot at the groove. Advantageously, both faces of the sheet material may be provided with a groove that are opposed to each other.

Where the slot engages a groove or grooves this can aid in preventing the sheet material sliding sideways with respect to the proximal to distal axis of the slot. Grooves also provide the opportunity to more accurately define the thickness or width of the sheet material that is to be accepted into the slot. The groove (or pair of opposed grooves on opposite faces of the sheet material) can be machined to a close tolerance for engaging with the slot on another furniture part. This can assist in providing consistent and reliable joints even when the sheet material employed has a relatively wide tolerance in thickness (width).

Other adjustments can be made to adjust the clamping action and/or the stability of the joints made. As discussed above orthogonal edged sheet material may be used for both the first and second furniture parts. If the furniture parts are clamped orthogonal to each other, a width of the closed distal end of the slot in the first furniture part may rest against the width of the closed distal end of a slot in the second furniture part. Alternatively if the second furniture part does not have a slot feature then a width of the sheet material of the second furniture part may rest against the width of the closed distal end of the slot of the female connector portion.

This contact between slot distal ends or between a slot distal end and a width of the sheet material of the second furniture part can provide a face to face surface contact between the two parts (bottom of slot to bottom of slot; or bottom of slot to a width of a sheet material edge). This occurs when the slot (or slots when both furniture parts have slots) are wide enough at their distal ends to allow face to face contact of the bottom faces of the slots or of a slot and the width of a sheet material.

Alternatively the extreme distal end of the slot in the first furniture part (or the second furniture part where a slot is provided) may be sufficiently narrow so that a face to face contact does not occur.

For example, the closed distal end of the slot may not be orthogonal (with slot edges at right angles to the bottom face of the slot). If the distal end of the slot of the female connector portion has a curve at the junction of one or both of the first and second edges and the bottom face of the slot, then the contact can be between the edges of the slot in the second furniture part (or a width of the sheet material) and the curved surfaces at the bottom (extreme distal end) of the slot in the first furniture part. This edge to edge contact, has been found to reduce movement, in particular a rotational movement, between furniture parts in contrast to face to face contact arrangements.

Other adjustments in the joint arrangements of the invention are possible. In a convenient form the first furniture part may be of a sheet material and of the form wherein each arm portion extends distally in the slot and the slot has a closed distal end. The slot widens where the arm portions extend to allow a space for bending motion between the arm portions and their respective slot edges. In such an example there may be a second restriction at the closed distal end of the slot. The second restriction is formed by a narrowing in the slot at the distal end, that may be sized to receive sheet material of the second furniture part in a close fitting fashion. This allows additional support for the second furniture part and can increase joint stability and strength.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other aspects will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

Figure 1 shows an isometric view of a joint system;

Figure 2 shows a first furniture part of the joint system shown in Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 shows a second furniture part of the joint system shown in Figure 1 ; Figure 4 shows an alternative second furniture part of the joint system shown in Figure 1 ;

Figures 5(a)-(b) show different types of slots for use in the joint system shown in Figure 1 ;

Figure 6 shows an isometric view of another joint system;

Figure 7 shows an isometric view of another joint system;

Figure 8 shows an isometric view of a modular bed assembly having the joint system shown in Figure 1 ;

Figure 9 shows a base plan view of the modular bed assembly shown in Figure

8;

Figure 10 shows a right side view of the modular bed assembly shown in Figure

8;

Figure 1 1 shows a left side view of the modular bed assembly shown in Figure

8;

Figure 12 shows an isometric view of a further modular bed assembly;

Figures 13(a)-(b) show different types of slots for use in the joint system shown in Figure 1 ;

Figures 14(a), (b) and (c) show an alternative joint system;

Figures 15(a), (b) and (c) show a yet further alternative joint system; and Figures 16(a)-(b) show furniture parts including groove features.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring first to Figures 1 to 4 of the accompanying drawings, there is shown a joint system 10 suitable for a modular furniture assembly. Figure 1 shows an isometric view of the joint system 10. Figure 2 shows a first furniture part 12A of the joint system 10 shown in Figure 1 . Figure 3 shows a second furniture part 12B of the joint system 10 shown in Figure 1. Figure 4 shows an alternative version of the second furniture part 12B of the joint system 10 shown in Figure 1. The furniture parts of the joint systems shown are formed from sheet material such as plywood. Female connector portions are cut and/or machined from the sheet material.

As shown, the first furniture part 12A has a female connector portion comprising slot 14A and the second furniture part 12B has a female connector portion comprising a corresponding slot 14B.

Referring now in particular to Figure 2, which shows the first furniture part 12A in more detail that is configured to provide a clamping function (i.e. so that the furniture part 12A can be configured to form part of a clamping joint), the slot 14A comprises a body portion 16A and two arm portions 18A that define a restriction therebetween, the body portion 16A and the arm portions 18A together defining tapered flukes 20A.

As shown in Figure 2, a proximal section 22A of the body portion 16A extends perpendicularly or substantially perpendicularly from face 24A of the first furniture part 12A, that is parallel to axis 26A while a distal section 28A of the body portion 16A is tapered, extending inwards towards the axis 26A.

The first furniture part 12A may be described in alternative terms. Referring to figure 2 the slot 14A in the first furniture part 12A is generally rectangular and comprises opposed first and second edges 50, 52 extending from an open proximal end 54 to a closed distal end 56 that has a flat bottom face 57 parallel to the edge 58 of the sheet material that includes the proximal end 54 of the slot. Arm portions 60,62 extend distally in the slot and are elastically deformable. Arm portions 60, 62 have a slight inwards taper (say 2 degrees) as they extend distally. Spaces 64, 66 are provided between the arm portions 60,62 and their respective edges of the slot to allow bending motion of the arm portions during elastic deformation to provide a clamping action on an inserted second furniture part. Thus the first and second edges 50,52 are spaced further apart from each other in the vicinity of the arm portions 60, 62 than at the proximal end 54 of the slot.

Referring now in particular to Figure 3, which shows the second furniture part 12B in more detail, the slot 14B comprises a body portion 16B.

As shown in Figure 3, a proximal section 22B of the body portion 16B extends perpendicularly or substantially perpendicularly from face 24B of the second furniture part 12B, that is parallel to axis 26B. The slot 14B defines two walls 31 B of the body portion 16B that face each other with the axis 26B extending along a mid-way plane defined between the two walls 31 B which are substantially parallel to each other. A distal section 28B of the body portion 16B defines a concave portion 29B formed in each wall 31 B of the slot 14B. In this embodiment, the concave portion 29B simply allows the slot 14B to be machined in a single run. In which case, the slot 14B is sized such that a corresponding part may be inserted into and/or removed from the slot 14B without requiring any flexibility in the body portion 16B (i.e. the slot 14B does not provide a clamping function). However, in other embodiments, the concave portion 29B allows the body portion 16B to flex to facilitate engagement of the first and second furniture parts 12A, 12B. This flexibility may ease the assembly and/or disassembly of the first and second furniture parts 12A, 12B (i.e. if the slot 14B is sized such that a clamping function is provided by the body portion 16B (which collectively define a restriction) when another part is inserted into the slot 14B). Optionally, the walls 31 B may be tapered in a similar manner to the tapered flukes 20A of the first furniture part 12A to enable an outward deflection of the walls 31 B of the body portion 16B.

The second furniture part 12B of figure 3 may be described in alternative terms. Referring to figure 3 the slot 14B in the second furniture part 12B comprises opposed first and second edges 50, 52 extending from an open proximal end 54 to a closed distal end 56 that has a flat bottom face 57 parallel to the edge 58 of the sheet material including the open proximal end of the slot. In this example the first and second edges 50,52 are spaced further apart from each other in the vicinity of the closed distal end 56 by the machined concave portions 29B.

In use, the first furniture part 12A and the second furniture part 12B are arranged generally perpendicular (orthogonal) to each other, the first furniture part 12A and the second furniture part 12B then engaging one another in an interlocking fashion via the slots 14A,14B as shown in Figure 1 to secure the first furniture part 12A and the second furniture part 12B together.

The tapered flukes 20A formed by the body portion 16A/arm portions 18A of the first furniture part 12A are configured to elastically deflect outwards on engagement between the first furniture part 12A and the second furniture part 12B and then return to their original, inwardly tapered, position. Beneficially, the tapered flukes 20A and body portion 16B are machined to close/specific tolerances to ensure flexibility, strength and ease of assembly/disassembly. The slot 14A provides a clamping function so that the arm portions 18A (which define a restriction) elastically deform and thereby clamp onto the second furniture part 12B. The slot 14B in this embodiment does not clamp onto the first furniture part 12A (however, in other embodiments and/or applications it may provide a clamping function).

In an alternative embodiment depicted in part by Figure 4 and shown in assembled form in Figure 6, both the first and second furniture parts each comprise a slot 14A, 14C that are the same as each other, the slot 14C comprising a body portion 16C and two arm portions 18C, the body portion 16C and the arm portions 18C together defining tapered flukes 20C. In other words, the joint system comprises two of the first furniture parts 12A that are configured to interlock together in a similar manner to that described in relation to Figures 2 and 3. As shown in Figure 4, a proximal section 22C of the body portion 16C extends perpendicularly or substantially perpendicularly from face 24C of the second furniture part 12C, that is parallel to axis 26C while a distal section 28C of the body portion 16C is tapered, extending inwards towards the axis 26C.

In use, the first furniture part 12A and the second furniture part 12C are arranged generally perpendicular (orthogonal) to each other, the first furniture part 12A and the second furniture part 12C then engaging one another in an interlocking fashion via the slots 14A,14C as shown in Figure 6 to secure the first furniture part 12A and the second furniture part 12C together.

The tapered flukes 20A, 20C formed by the body portions 16A, 16C and arm portions 18A, 18C are configured to elastically deflect outwards on engagement between the first furniture part 12A and the second furniture part 12C and then return to their original, inwardly tapered, position. Beneficially, the tapering flukes 20A, 20C are machined to close/specific tolerances to ensure flexibility, strength and ease of assembly/disassembly.

Figures 5(a)-(b) depict a comparison of two different slot designs based on the slot 14B depicted by Figure 3. The slot 14B of Figure 5a is identical to that of Figure 3. Flowever, Figure 5(b) shows an alternative embodiment of a slot 14D in which a bevelled edge 15D is provided between each wall 31 D of the slot 14D and a respective face 24D of the furniture part 12D. The bevelled edge 15D is configured to facilitate alignment between the slot 14D and a corresponding furniture part so as to permit the corresponding furniture part to be guided into the slot 14D. The bevelled edge 15D provides a taper in the width of the slot 14D that narrows from the open (proximal) end to the distal (closed) end. The bevelled edge 15D may make it easier to connect the furniture parts together since a range of different relative orientations or angles between the parts may be accepted. The bevelled edge 15D may provide the guiding function so that if one or more furniture parts are misaligned, each bevelled edge 15D of one or more slots 14D may simultaneously assist in reorienting the various furniture parts to collectively align and guide the one or more furniture parts together. A user may find it easier to assemble a furniture item if certain furniture parts collectively align various other furniture parts upon inserting one or more furniture parts into one or more other furniture parts.

Figure 7 depicts an alternative embodiment of the joint system 10 in which there is a first furniture part 12A and a second furniture part 12E. The first furniture part 12A is identical to that of Figure 1. Flowever, the second furniture part 12E simply comprises a body portion 16E without any form of slot. Thus, the second furniture part 12E defines a male portion that is configured to be engaged with the female connector portion (i.e. defined by slot 14A) of the first furniture part 12A.

Embodiments of the joint system 10 provide a number of advantages over conventional modular systems. For example, the joint system 10 provides a joint which allows modular components, such as modular furniture components, to be easily assembled to form a strong yet flexible structure without the need for mechanical fasteners or other fixings. Readily capable of being assembled by hand, the joint can be taken apart and reassembled with no loss of product strength or material integrity in a broad range of environments. Moreover, the joint tightens under load, giving strength and stability (e.g. when subject to rotational stress) yet offering the ability to open up easily when the load is removed. The joint system may provide further benefits such as: using similar components throughout the furniture to simplify assembly thereof, the furniture parts may be straightforward to recycle and/or the furniture parts may be reusable in different modular furniture assemblies. In some embodiments, the parts of the joint system may be made from the same material and/or have no mechanical fasteners or other fixings, which may allow the joint system to be easily and quickly disassembled so that the furniture parts may be recycled or otherwise reused. Due to a degree of tolerance provided by one or more of the joints of the assembly, the overall structure may be flexible while retaining strength. Thus, depending on the tolerance and/or clamping force provided by one or more of the joints, the bed assembly may be self-levelling or be capable of compensating for an uneven floor by distributing the load across a plurality of the joints. At least one of the joints may be configured to provide a different degree of tolerance or clamping force to at least one other of the joints. Thus, certain joint(s) may provide strength, while other joint(s) may provide flexibility and/or permit a degree of rotational movement of the respective furniture parts. For example, a slot 14B may permit a degree of rotational movement while a slot 14A may restrict rotational movement between respective parts. Thus, a combination of slots 14A and 14B may provide such flexibility and/or strength. It will be recognised that the joint system 10 may be utilised in a wide variety of modular furniture applications.

By way of example, and referring now in particular to Figures 8 to 1 1 of the accompanying drawings, there is shown a modular bed assembly 100 which utilises the joint system 10 described above.

As shown in Figures 8 to 1 1 , the modular bed assembly 100 comprises a first member 102 having legs for supporting the assembly 100 on the ground. The first member 102 is couplable to and supports a headboard 104 of the bed assembly 100. The headboard 104 comprises channels 106 for coupling the headboard 104 to the first member 102. A second member 108 having legs forms a footboard of the bed assembly 100. A number of rails 1 10 (thirteen rails 1 10 are shown in the illustrated bed assembly 100).

In the illustrated bed assembly 100, the modular bed assembly 100 further comprises a third member 1 12, the third member 1 12 in use providing additional structural support to the bed assembly 100. Flowever, it will be recognised that in other embodiments, the third member 1 12 may not be required or may be used in a different manner as described below.

In order to facilitate assembly of the modular bed assembly 100, each of the first member 102, the second member 108, the rails 1 10 - and the third member 1 12 where provided - are formed with female connector portions in the form of slots 1 14 (see Figure 10), the slots 1 14 comprising any of the slots 14A, 14B, 14C, 14D described above. In the present embodiment, the third member 1 12 comprises slots 14B of the form depicted by Figures 3/5(a) while the corresponding parts of the rails 1 10 comprise slots 14D of the form depicted by Figure 5(b). The parts of the rails 1 10 that engage the first and second members 102, 108 comprise slots 14A of the form depicted by Figure 2. The first and second members, 102 and 108, themselves comprise slots 14B of the form depicted by Figure 3 for connecting to the rails 1 10. It will however be appreciated that the precise combination of slots 14A, 14B, 14C, 14D can be varied as required depending on the application for any of the parts of the bed assembly 100. It will be appreciated that the third member 1 10 may be inverted and/or may comprise any combination of slots 14A, 14B, 14C, 14D depending on the design specification.

The provision of the slots 106 may allow the headboard 104 to be reversible (i.e. each rail 1 10 can be inserted through the slots for engaging with a respective slot 14A, 14B of the first member 102). Thus, the length of the bed can be varied (e.g. by 10 cm or another appropriate value) by reversing the headboard 104 with respect to the rest of the bed assembly 100. This may be useful for accommodating different size mattresses that are supplied. Thus, the same bed assembly 100 is compatible with different lengths of mattresses.

In one example method for assembling the bed assembly 100, the first member 102 may be initially connected to second member 108 using a single rail 1 10. The single rail 1 10 may be the central rail for instance. This initial connection may be made by a single user (i.e. two-user assembly may not be required) and the part-assembled bed 100 (by virtue of the clamping joints) may stand up-right without falling apart and ready for connection of the remaining rails 1 10 (again by a single user). Finally, the third member 1 12 may be connected (e.g. to provide further structural strength). In a preferred embodiment, the rails 1 10 comprise slots 14D at the mid-point along the rails 100. However, it will be appreciated that the type of joint used may depend on the particular application and/or design specification. The process may be reversed to quickly disassemble the bed (again by a single user).

Depending on the tolerance and/or clamping force provided by one or more of the joints, the bed assembly may be self-levelling or be capable of compensating for an uneven floor by distributing the load across a plurality of the joints.

A further embodiment of a bed assembly 100A is depicted by Figure 12, which is very similar to the bed assembly 100 of Figure 8 apart from the third member 1 12A comprises two legs that provide support at a mid-point between the first and second members 102A, 108A. In addition, it will be noted that the third member 1 12A is inverted compared with the third member 1 12 of Figure 8 and in this case does not comprise the same slots 14D. Rather, the third member 1 12A of Figure 12 includes the slots 14B for connecting to the rails 1 10A. Again it will be appreciated that any type and combination of slots 14A, 14B, 14C, 14D may be used as appropriate. It will also be appreciated that while a degree of self-levelling may be provided by this embodiment, the additional legs may reduce the overall flexibility of the assembly compared with the embodiment of Figures 8 to 1 1 . The assembly/disassembly of the bed assembly 100A may be similarly very easy as in the embodiment of Figures 8 to 1 1 .

Further examples of the furniture parts and joint system described above are provided in figures 13 to 16 and described below. Figures 13a and 13b show in elevation view alternative examples of furniture parts having female connector portions but without elastically deformable arm portions to provide a clamping action. Figure 13a depicts a furniture part 12E having a slot 14E like that of slot 14B depicted in figure 5a except that the closed distal end 56 of the slot 14E does not widen in comparison with the rest of the slot. The slot 14E has a constant width from proximal end 54 to distal end 56 except for the curves 70 provided between first and second edges 50, 52 and the bottom face 57 of the distal end 56 of the slot. Figure 13b shows an arrangement similar to that of figure 5b except that the closed distal end 56 of the slot 14F does not widen in comparison with the rest of the slot. As with figure 13a curves 70 are provided between first and second edges 50, 52 and the bottom face 57 of the distal end 56 of the slot.

Figure 14a shows in perspective view a joint made between first and second furniture parts where the first furniture part includes a clamping arrangement having proximally extending arm portions. Referring to elevation view figure 14b the female connector portion of the first furniture part includes the following features. A generally rectangular slot 14G has first and second opposed edges 50,52 an open proximal end 54 and a closed distal end 56 with a flat bottom face 57 parallel to the edge 58 of the sheet material. Arm portions 60,62 extend proximally to the proximal end 54 and are elastically deformable. Arm portions 60, 62 have a slight inwards taper (for example 2 degrees) as they extend proximally. Spaces 64, 66 are provided between the arm portions 60,62 and the respective edges of the slot to allow bending motion of the arm portions during elastic deformation to provide a clamping action on an inserted second furniture part. Thus the first and second edges 50,52 are spaced further apart from each other in the vicinity of the arm portions 60, 62 than at the distal end 56 of the slot. Referring to figure 14a the second furniture part in this example has a non-clamping slot arrangement of the form shown in figure 5a. Clamping is provided by arm portions 60, 62 at the region 68 (indicated by double headed arrows) in figure 14a, relatively close to the proximal end 54 of the slot 14G.

In perspective view 14c, two furniture parts having proximally extending arm portions are employed to form the interlocking joint. The two clamping regions 68 formed can be spaced relatively far apart, as they are at the proximal ends 54 of the respective slots.

Figure 15a shows in perspective view a joint made between first and second furniture parts where the first furniture part includes a clamping arrangement having distally extending arm portions of the same general form as those depicted in figure 2 but with additional features. Referring to elevation view figure 15b the female connector portion of the first furniture part includes the following features. A generally rectangular slot 14H has first and second opposed edges 50,52 an open proximal end 54 and a closed distal end 56 with a flat bottom face 57 parallel to the edge 58 of the sheet material. Arm portions 60,62 extend distally towards the distal end 56 and are elastically deformable. Arm portions 60, 62 have a slight inwards taper (for example 2 degrees) as they extend distally. Spaces 64, 66 are provided between the arm portions 60,62 and the respective edges of the slot to allow bending motion of the arm portions during elastic deformation to provide a clamping action on an inserted second furniture part. Thus the first and second edges 50,52 are spaced further apart from each other in the vicinity of the arm portions 60, 62 than at the proximal end 54 of the slot. Referring to figure 15a the second furniture part in this example has a non-clamping slot arrangement of the form shown in figure 5a. Clamping is provided by arm portions 60, 62 at the region 68 shown in figure 15a, relatively closer to the distal end 56 of the slot 14H than the alternative arrangement shown in figure 14a.

In this example the slot 14H includes a second restriction 72 in the form of a narrowing of the slot at the distal end 56. The opposed first and second edges of the slot are sized to accept a second furniture part at the distal end 56 in substantially the same close fitting fashion as the proximal end 54.

In this example the slot 14H at restriction 72 meets the bottom face 57 of the slot with curves 70. When the joint of figure 15a is made with an arrangement including the curves 70, the bottom face 57 of distal end 56 does not contact face to face with the corresponding bottom face of the slot in the second furniture part. The additional narrowing on the slot provided by curves 70, just before face 57 means that contact is made along edges at points 74 as shown in figure 15b, where the bottom face of an inserted second furniture part is suggested by dashed line 76.

Such an edge to edge engagement at the closed end of the slot has been found to reduce rotational movement (suggested by arrows 78 in figure 15a) in use of the joint system. The edge to edge contact, can be provided with other arrangements of furniture parts of the invention, by providing narrowing of the slot.

Perspective view 15c shows two furniture parts each having all the same features as depicted in figure 15b. In contrast to the arrangement of figure 14c, the two clamping regions 68 are relatively distal to the proximal ends 54 of the respective slots i.e. the clamping regions 68 are closer together in this example. Figure 16a shows in perspective a second furniture part 12E generally in the form of a portion of sheet material for use in a joint such as that depicted in figure 7. In this example each face 80, 82 of the sheet material is provided with a groove 84, 86. The grooves are opposed to each other. Each groove has chamfered edges 88,90 in this example. The grooves 84, 86 narrow the width of the sheet material to a width 92. A first furniture part (e.g. 12A in figure 7) can have its slot sized to accept the part 12E of figure 16a only at the groove.

Figure 16b shows in perspective view a furniture part of a sheet material including a female connector portion comprising a slot with an open proximal end 54 and a closed distal end 56. In this example the part depicted is a second furniture part without arm portions for clamping. Grooves 84 and 86 are machined on respective faces 80, 82 of the sheet material for fitting into the slot of a first furniture part having a slot sized to accept and clamp to the narrowed width 92 of the sheet material at the grooves.

More generally grooves such as those depicted in figures 16a and 16b can be employed on first and/or on second furniture parts, to define the width of sheet material where engagement between furniture parts in making joints is contemplated.

The joint system of any aspect or embodiment may be used in any type of furniture construction and is not limited to beds. For example, the joint system may be used in tables, chairs, desks, storage units such as cupboards, wine racks, shelving, chests or the like, or indeed in any other type of furniture. The joint system may be used in the construction of any type of frame or other support structure for any desired purpose.

The joint system may have utility in any appropriate type of structure or product, for example, where the provision of the joint assembly in that structure or product may provide at least one similar benefit as described in relation to the aspects or embodiments described herein. Thus, the joint system may have utility in fields other than furniture such as construction and models.

While some embodiments depict a joint configured to provide a clamping function by virtue of comprising tapered flukes, it will be appreciated that other forms of clamping joints or configurations may be provided. For example, rather than comprising a taper, there may simply be an undulation or curved portion that provides a restriction. A restriction may be defined where another part that engages the joint has a dimension that is larger than the restriction. The restriction may ensure that the joint system/assembly does not easily fall apart if moved. The clamping joint may be configured to provide a restriction that deforms or flexes upon another part being inserted into the joint. In addition, upon such a part being removed from the clamping joint, the restriction may or may not return to its original position (i.e. depending on its flexibility or deformability). While some embodiments depict tapered flukes in which a space is provided within the body portion to permit the flukes to flex or deform, such a space may not be required depending on the material and/or application. For example, some materials may have an inherent deformability that permits the restriction to be provided without such a space. In some embodiments, different materials or structures may be provided in order to provide the restriction.

It will be appreciated that the exact configuration of the joint system may be specific to each application. Thus, depending on the desired properties of the joint system based on the application, variations to dimensions, clamping strength (or no clamping required), material type, number of materials, and/or the like may be permitted in order to fulfil a design specification.

The shape, form and/or properties of the joint system may therefore vary by application.

It will further be appreciated that while some embodiments described herein refer to furniture parts, the joint systems and parts described herein may be modified according to application in order to fulfil a design specification.

It should be understood that the embodiments described herein are merely exemplary and that various modifications may be made thereto without departing from the scope of the invention.