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Adjustable Sheet Goods Hold Down For Short Bed Pickups

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  • Adjustable Sheet Goods Hold Down For Short Bed Pickups

    How many times have you gone to the lumberyard or big box store to pick up a couple sheets of plywood and then realized you didn't really have what you needed to secure the load in the back of your truck. If you have an 8 foot bed maybe you think it's not a problem. But the wind can still get under a sheet of ply, especially if it's thinner material like 1/4 or 1/2 inch, and send it sailing. No biggie you might say. Well last year it was and I am sure it's happened more than once.

    Here's what I'm talking about.

    So what do you do? Well I have kept in my truck for about 15 years a simple hold down device that makes it easy to keep the sheets from slipping out the back or becoming airborne. I found the plans for it somewhere a long time ago. Might have been in Wood Magazine, ShopNotes, or any one of the Woodworking Magazines, I don't remember which and I searched the web before posting this and couldn't find anything about it anywhere. I know I didn't dream it up but can't remember where I got it from.

    The one I have is falling apart so I decided to make a new one and I recorded some video while I was making it which I will post on YouTube soon and put a link here. But here is a still shot of the plywood hold down device (I don't know what else to call it).

    Here you can see the old and the new hold downs.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_0138.JPG Views:	7 Size:	500.3 KB ID:	741426

    Here is the new one all packed up the way I stow it under the seat in my truck.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_0141.JPG Views:	4 Size:	409.1 KB ID:	741427

    I keep about 12 feet of 3/8 braided nylon rope which is more than enough to secure even 10 foot lengths of plywood.
    The large hole in the clamp will let you use a ratchet strap or other rigging if you choose to.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_0146.JPG Views:	4 Size:	390.7 KB ID:	741428

    The rope gets passed through the large hole and tied off on each side
    to the truck cleats. The pin lets you adjust to the height of the stack of
    plywood or sheetrock or whatever you have to transport.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_0147.JPG Views:	4 Size:	343.1 KB ID:	741429

    On my old hold down I used a scaffold pin but I plan to replace the scaffold pin
    with a 5/16" or 3/8" lock pin next time I am at the hardware store. They cost
    about $2 and it's better than using a bolt or the scaffold pin as I have been doing.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	LockPin.png Views:	17 Size:	62.3 KB ID:	741440

    You can make this with simple tools in about an hour. It could save you a headache and judging from that WPVT News video maybe a lawsuit or fine with points on your license. Not to mention you might save a life. Imagine if that had been a motorcycle.

    I have no plans but it's so simple to make you really don't need any. In the video I am putting together I give all the dimensions. One thing I changed form the original was to use a dovetail joint for the base piece, but you could screw yours together like the first one I made which was the original design. I cut the dovetails on the bandsaw and finished them off by hand. I coated the completed project with urethane but you could use Tung Oil, paint, or your favorite finish. I never applied any finish to the first one and it lasted 15 years so it's really not necessary.

    If you have questions let me know. I should have the video posted by the end of the week. Still need to shoot the closing shot showing the hold down in use. Weather has not been that great the past couple days.
    Last edited by Bob D.; 10-04-2019, 07:38 PM.
    "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006


  • #2
    I've seen that happen a couple or times, although it was always coming upon the scene with the pick-up beside the road and the driver picking up a sheet or two off the roadway. I tell you, it's not a pleasant situation to find oneself behind a truck or car when you see their load lifting in the turbulence.

    So your post it is right-on and the jig itself rather ingenious.

    For, me I have a van, which takes my occasional sheet stock purchase okay and I can keep the rear door securely closed. Problem of course is that for other stock that may be longer, I'm pretty well limited and end up having to buy from someone who delivers.



    • #3
      Here's the link to the video.

      Click image for larger version  Name:	20191004_142200.jpg Views:	3 Size:	2.11 MB ID:	741451

      Last edited by Bob D.; 10-05-2019, 08:02 AM.
      "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



      • BadgerDave
        BadgerDave commented
        Editing a comment
        Is that a Lufkin 966 folding rule that you were using? My company used to sell those by the hundreds years ago.

    • #4
      Yes, but it's an inside reading Lufkin 066F.

      My favorite rule, not easy to find today but they're still out there.

      I found them listed on Amazon but reading the reviews it sounds like the quality is in the toilet.

      All of mine are 20 years or older. I have 3 of them that I still use, and one that was my first rule
      when I started my apprenticeship in the 70s but it's worn out and I keep it for sentimental reasons.
      My Father-in-law gave it to me when I started in the trade.

      Best thing to do is keep the joints lubed other wise they will wear out fast. When I was working and
      using the rule all day long I would oil it about every 6 or 8 weeks. Now not so often but I still keep
      after them.
      Last edited by Bob D.; 10-04-2019, 07:14 PM.
      "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



      • #5
        I just found a link to the hold down on Wood Magazine's site. I am happy to see my memory has
        not completely failed, I was correct in thinking it came from Wood Magazine, but even happier to
        be able to give credit to the originator of this design. Plans with dimensions are available on their
        website. The idea was sent in by Joe Spurlock of North Vernon, IN.

        They call it: Adjustable Hold Down For Short Bed Pickup Trucks

        I'd appreciate a thumbs up on YouTube if you like my video. It took almost a half day to record
        and a full day to edit the 27 GB of video from three cameras I had running down to 34 minutes.
        Last edited by Bob D.; 10-04-2019, 08:38 PM.
        "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006