I'm making progress on my very rough pickup bed refurb job. I'm starting to think about the bed floor boards. Has anyone made their own? The vendors sell very pricey, but nice oak boards, but for this jalopy project I don't want to spend that much and I don't need fancy oak. I'd like to make my own from commonly available pine boards and plan to paint them black. I found this good dimensional drawing. But it does not show the spacing and size of the grooves for the metal strips. Can anyone provide this?
Oh, dummy me. The drawing DOES show the grooves for the metal strips.
I made a set out of clear birch. I used an 8 inch thin kerf blade (Dewalt) on my table saw and it fits the bed strips fine. The full size 10 inch blade would leave a kerf that is too wide. Best of luck with your project.
Thanks for the tip Gary. Do the kerf slots need to be on both sides (top and bottom) of the boards? Not sure why they would be needed on the bottom.
Steve, nope, just the top, for the bed rails to set in.
I used cedar because it is naturally bug and rot resistant but no slots and cut them to size myself on our 1950 Ford F1. No you do not need slots on the bottom.
Cedar is still pine and not as strong, yet I use it as a work truck and crawl in the back of it, hauling scrap and stuff. I feared that cutting slots would make the pine to susceptible to splitting. Make sure your cross supports are in good order.
Ok, that makes sense. That cedar is nice. thanks guys.
I cut mine from local ash from the sawmill. I planed the boards to just over 3/4 thickness, and cut the groves in on the table saw. Correct, only the top needs the grooves for the steel strips. The drawing above looks correct regarding the widths. As it says on the drawing, cut to fit battery box as this may vary.
Do note that the boards are really 3/4" thick--not 11/16" or smaller, like modern 3/4" thick lumber is!
I think it depends on what you intend to do with the bed. Seems to me it always gets used harder than initially thought. Easy to throw stuff in and lug it away. Pine or Cedar are both very soft and will dent or scratch easily. All the effort you are going to go thru making the pieces and fitting them would seem to suggest using a harder wood. Hard pine, ash or oak will not be much more expensive to buy. I used hard pine in my '25 rdst pu which is a first cousin to your '26-'27.
According to this, standard 1" lumber in the US is actually 3/4".
So for my purpose, that will work. I'll check Lowes and Home Depot to see what other woods they have. I'm not too concerned about scratches and dents. The rest of the bed has dents, welds, patches and dings which will remain. My intent is not a restoration, but to make it serviceable.
I imagine the purists will cringe at this, but here is a patch panel I'm making for one of the lower bed sides. Some old splash aprons I picked up at Luray for $15 will work very well. After final trimming and fitting, I'll lap weld it in place.
EXCELLENT solution Steve!
I would have to check, but as I recall the Southern Pine boards are 13/16 thick, but this is for a 1925. I had to cut a rabbet on the left and right boards, but the bed strips just lay on top of the rest of them. I got Gator to buy the wood for me. I got 4/4 rough cut lumber, and milled it myself to 13/16". I got the square washers from Mack products in Missouri, and they are exactly like the originals. The square nuts are available from RV Anderson.
Thanks for the info Larry. I've purchased the bed strip bolts/nut kit from Langs. Whether the boards were 13/16" or 3/4" makes little difference on this beat up bed. I think the 1" lumber from Lowes (real measurement 3/4") will be ok. the .064" difference is hardly noticeable. Still looking for some old bed strips to use. Last resort will be to buy new ones.
These guys sell old wood:
Habitat For Humanity Restore
Home Improvement Store
Thanks Vern. There is one of those in Fredericksburg, I'll check it out.
Steve,I have some old bed strips. I restored a 26 pickup about 15 years ago and used new strips. Send me a message if you are interested.
Jim - sent you a PM, thanks.