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wood pick up bed

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    I am restoring a 55 Chevy one ton stake body. I am trying to figure out what would be best for the bed. Some say southern yellow pine, some say oak. I made rail sides using oak last year, finished them with spar varnish. The weather really got to them. Any ideas?

  • #2
    Re: wood pick up bed

    What type of oak (white, red, live)? Red or black oaks will not hold up as well as other types.

    Teak or mahogany other such wood, thought expensive will probably last much longer.
    Last edited by Bob D.; 07-05-2008, 11:37 AM.
    "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006


    1/20/2017 - The Beginning of a new Error


    • #3
      Re: wood pick up bed

      I am not an expert, but my barn beams and fences are made of locust... Over 70 years old
      and it is still hard driving nails in this wood !
      I also did sleep at a Holiday Express one time..

      Got any Locust Wood at any lumber yards in your area?
      Tough stuff, really good for outdoor use.
      I will warn that you must predrill .....its hard stuff!
      but will out last just about any wood outside or for that matter
      buried in the ground.

      Two types of Locust trees are found on the East Coast: Black and Honey Locust. The Black is the more common in the Northeast; the Honey Locust in the South. Very hard, beautiful golden color grain. Used in boat building, fence posts, railroad ties, and poles.

      Below as finished for flooring.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Davet; 07-05-2008, 01:13 PM.


      • #4
        Re: wood pick up bed

        my 1978 truck southern pine bed was rotting in less than 10 years, I replaced it with treated green lumber. and it has been good now for 10 years or so, (in the in-term I was patching it),
        my 1953 truck has a oak bed (I do not know if it red or white),in it and has spent it time out side now for 55 years and is jsut now starting to get bad, still no patches tho,

        Locust probly would be a great wood as well, if one could find it.
        Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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        • #5
          Re: wood pick up bed

          Around here White Oak is the only thing the loggers and farmers would consider using for truck and trailer beds.
          Poplar Branch Wood Crafts


          • #6
            Re: wood pick up bed

            Out here in Arizona, we see a lot of Oak or Ash. Long term moisture is not a big issue due to the heat and lack of humidity.



            • #7
              Re: wood pick up bed

              For a restoration, white oak would be the correct choice. The capillaries in white oak are not continuous like in red or black oak, so it lasts much longer, and is a stronger wood. I believe it is also the original type wood used for woody type vehicles.
              Any clear finish will go away quickly due to UV deterioration from the sunlight. Beings it is a vehicle that will also probably get washed/waxed occasionally, I would use a good quality oil finish (ie General Finishes Outdoor oil, etc). Reapply occasionally, just like you would wax and Armorall on a modern vehicle. (when water soaks into the wood, its time to re-apply). A hard finish like poly or varnish will be harder, but will break down and start to peel, making it a harder job to refinish.
              To clean up any mildew, etc, I have found Lysol sanitizing wipes work very well on oiled wood finishes. I use them on my wooden rocking chairs on my deck.

              Locust may be hard to find in a size large enough to make clean boards. Another choice would be Ipe, Very heavy and hard to work with tho.


              Practicing at practical wood working


              • #8
                Re: wood pick up bed

                You should be able to pick up a kit for that truck. There are several vendors out there that sell the wood and hardware that was original for your pickup.