US 20020170134 A1
A T-handled scraping tool has a thin, razor-like scraping blade securely fastened to a blade holder so that a narrow margin of the scraping blade is exposed. A shaft is mounted to the blade holder and extends therefrom to a distal end. The scraper is provided with a handle fixed in swiveling relation to the distal end of the shaft. The handle is attached to the shaft at a center of the handle and has opposite arms extending from the center of the handle away from the shaft. The handle is free to swivel around the shaft when the handle of the scraping tool is grasped by one hand while the scraping tool is moved in reciprocating motion over a surface to be scraped.
1. A T-handled scraping tool, comprising:
a thin, razor-like scraping blade securely fastened to a blade holder so that a narrow margin of the scraping blade is exposed;
a shaft mounted to the blade holder and extending therefrom to a distal end; and
a handle fixed in swiveling relation to the distal end of the shaft, the handle attached to the shaft at a center of the handle and having opposite arms extending from the center of the handle away from the shaft, whereby the handle is free to swivel around the shaft when the scraping tool is held using one hand to grasp the handle, and moved in reciprocating motion over a surface to be scraped.
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 The present invention provides a hand-held scraper with a more ergonomic, swiveling T-handle. In the detailed description that follows, like reference numerals are used to indicate like elements shown in two or more of the figures.
 The principle components of the T-handled scraper are shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, with a perspective view shown in FIG. 1, and a plan view in FIG. 2. A thin, razor-like blade 28 is securely fastened to blade holder 26, so that only a narrow margin of the blade is exposed. Blade 28 is typically a steel, double-edged blade about three to five inches long, such as are commercially available for prior art scraping tools. Blade holder 26 is typically a die-cast metal piece, which provides a desirable combination of adequate strength and low cost. In the alternative, blade holder 26 may comprise a molded, high-strength plastic or reinforced plastic piece, an assembly of stamped metal pieces, or a machined metal piece.
 A shaft 24 is mounted to, and extends from a bushing that is preferably integral with blade holder 26. Shaft 24 is typically between about six inches and thirty inches long; in a particularly preferred embodiment, shaft 24 is about eighteen inches long. Shaft 24 preferably is made from a piece of metal tubing, such as steel or aluminum tubing, with a smooth exterior wall. It is important that the shaft 24 be smooth and free from projections in the area adjacent to the handle 22, because this area of the shaft will be in contact with the user's hand.
 Handle 22 is a relatively narrow oblong piece of material that may be easily grasped in the hand. Handle 22 is designed to carry the dynamic load of the tool during use. Suitable materials for handle 22 include plastics such as nylon, ABS, and like materials, particularly when reinforced. More durable handles 22 may be provided, comprised of die-cast or machined metals, such as aluminum, that are coated with a rubberized plastic for enhanced grip and comfort. Shaft 24 is mounted perpendicularly and directly to the center of handle 22, using a bearing mount system described in more detail later in the specification. Handle 22 is thus able to swivel freely around shaft 24 in a plane perpendicular to the shaft, to any desired angle of rotation. The mount system is also such that the handle will carry the full thrust load of the tool, both pushing and pulling, and will also withstand incidental twisting out of the plane of the handle.
 Details of an exemplary bearing mount system for use in the T-handle scraper are shown in FIG. 3. It should be appreciated that various other swiveling bearings may be adapted for use with the invention, and may be mounted in various ways. Shaft 24 is prepared with annular grooves for retaining rings 32. Bearing 30 is pressed into a bore in handle 22, and rests against shoulder 36. The bearing is retained by a third retaining ring 32 which is inserted into a retaining groove in the bore of the handle 22, and is pressed against a shoulder of bearing 30. Bearing 30 may be a simple sleeve or journal bearing, or may comprise a ball, roller, or needle bearing that is configured for a thrust load. Cap 34 is optionally snapped, adhered, or threaded into the outer surface of the handle bore, so that the handle presents a smooth outer surface for grasping. Whatever bearing mount system is used, it is preferably mounted in the interior of handle 22 and does not present any protrusions that that may irritate or injure the user's hand. At the same time, the system must be rugged and capable of continuous swiveling action under load.
 Having thus described a preferred embodiment of the T-handled scraper, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that certain advantages of the within system have been achieved. It should also be appreciated that various modifications, adaptations, and alternative embodiments thereof may be made within the scope and spirit of the present invention. For example, a hand-held scraper for the construction trades has been illustrated, but it should be apparent that the inventive concepts described above would be equally applicable to other types of hand tools for similar scraping tasks. The invention is further defined by the following claims.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a T-handled scraper according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a T-handled scraper according to the invention.
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a swiveling scraper handle according to the invention, showing details of an exemplary handle mount assembly.
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to scraping tools used in the construction trades, and more particularly, to hand-held, manual scrapers for removing adhesive and other residue from architectural surfaces, particularly floors.
 2. Description of Related Art
 In certain construction trades involved with installation of floor covering materials, such as carpet and tile, hand-held manual scraping tools are often used to remove adhered residue from floors as part of a final preparatory step. Heavier scraping tools, especially machine-driven scrapers, are often used to prepare large areas by removing old floor coverings and associated residue. However, it is often necessary to remove lesser amounts of residue, especially from relatively small areas such as in corners and under overhangs, that heavier scraping tools are unable to clear effectively. In addition, removal of residue from less rugged surfaces, such as interior walls, sometimes requires a more controllable, lighter and smaller tool.
 To meet demand for lighter, more controllable scraping tools, various hand-held scrapers have been developed. One type of scraping tool, sometimes called a “T-handled scraper,” utilizes a thin, razor-like blade in a scraping position at the end of a shaft, which is typically eighteen inches long, or less. The scraping blade itself typically has a cutting edge about three to five inches long. At the other end of the shaft, an handle is rigidly fixed to the shaft. The handle is configured to be grasped in the palm of one hand, with the shaft of the scraper passing between the fingers of the hand. With this type of scraper, a user can clean surfaces using a single hand, leaving the other hand free. Because of the relatively sharp blade, less pressure is needed than with scrapers using heavy-duty, less sharp blades.
 However, considerable hand pressure may sometimes be required, which may cause hand or arm fatigue when the tool is used repeatedly. In addition, heavy use of a hand-held scraping tool may cause blisters on a user's hand, because of relative movement between the hand and the handle of the scraper. A new type of hand-held scraper is needed, therefore, that is less fatiguing to use, and less likely to cause blisters during heavy use.
 The present invention provides a T-handled scraper with an oblong handle that is mounted directly to the shaft. Unlike prior art scrapers, however, the handle is designed to swivel freely around the shaft during use. This novel and surprising action of the handle, where a fixed handle had always been thought necessary, provides the benefit of relieving strain on the user's arms and wrists without detracting from the usefulness of the scraper. As an additional benefit, the swiveling action reduces relative movement between a user's palm and the handle, thereby reducing the incidence of blistering. The freely swiveling handle is provided using an innovative design that retains all of the proven advantages of popular scrapers in use today. Thus, the invention provides a superior, more ergonomic scraper that will be readily accepted by users in the construction trades, and at an affordable cost.
 A more complete understanding of the T-handled scraper will be afforded to those skilled in the art, as well as a realization of additional advantages and objects thereof, by a consideration of the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment. Reference will be made to the appended sheets of drawings which will first be described briefly.
 This application claims priority pursuant to 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/292,377, filed May 21, 2002, which application is specifically incorporated herein, in its entirety, by reference.