Last month, we worked on the sheetmetal portion of our F-1 truck project, fixing the stake pockets and bedsides. This issue, we're wrapping it up by installing a wood floor kit from Bed Wood and Parts and finishing up the rear end with a new tailgate from National Parts Depot (NPD). Obviously the bed section is one of the most prominent aspects of a truck, and with all the work that one puts into other areas of their project, it only makes sense to give the box and its earthly flooring that same amount of attention. Unfortunately, that wasn't always the case, partly due to the fact that unless one was fairly talented in the ways of the carpenter (of which I'm not) and able to fashion their own wood kit, oak was basically the only wood available in kit form. And whether your truck was gloss black, bright pink, or bone white, you were stuck with an oak bed.
Bed Wood and Parts in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, manufactures some of the finest wood floorin
But nowadays, companies like Bed Wood and Parts offer upwards of 40 wood kits from domestic species such as ash, cherry, and poplar, to exotic woods like canary wood, teak, and purple heart. This array of choices allows the customer to pick a wood that matches their truck in both color and application. The difference in appearance between a hard maple and a black walnut bed wood kit, for example, can vastly change the overall aesthetic of a truck. As far as the application goes, each wood has different characteristics that might make one more preferential over the other. In a wet, rainy region, a wood such as cocobolo, with its high oil content that acts as a moisture barrier, might be a better option than a wood that's more prone to water absorption and decay. Of course different woods also have different levels of hardness, so if you're planning on hauling anything in the back of that pickup, you may want to consider a more dense wood such as hickory to better handle the wear and tear.
When it came time to order up a bed wood kit for our F-1 project, we called Jeff Major at Bed Wood and Parts and told him what we were looking for and what we expected out of our kit. The appearance of the wood wasn't of utmost importance to us. What was, however, was a getting an extremely durable and hard wood since we were planning to actually use our truck-as intended! Jeff and his crew came up with a relatively rare wood that's native to the Midwest and South Eastern portion of the United States, robinia pseudoacacia, more commonly referred to as black locust. Also known as iron wood, black locust is extremely hard, resistant to rot, and long lasting, making it sought after for fence posts. That's also the reason why it's a relatively rare wood, as it's often harvested in sizes not conducive to a long, wide bed slat. One of the toughest, heaviest, and hardest woods in North America, its pale yellowish brown coloring and close-grain pattern will complement the dark blue hue the F-1 will soon wear.
After taking some measurements of the stock bed and sending a few photos Jeff's way, Bed Wood and Parts CAD designed a kit specifically to match our bed, something they do for each and every kit sold to ensure perfect fit.
When the kit arrived, we laid each sanded and prepped board in the bed, and once the last plank was installed, everything fit perfectly with a nice consistent gap between each slat. With the initial fitment complete, the wood was sealed using McCloskey Man O' War Spar Marine Varnish to prevent cracking, peeling, and water damage and to give it a luster that will be matched by the paint. Typically, it requires three solid coats of varnish for a proper seal, so that's what we did. Once dry and buffed, the results were beyond expectation.
Damaged areas such as this broached hole on the bedside are a common problem on older truc
To repair the broached hole, it was welded up, drilled undersized, and filed to match the
The wood kit did not come drilled for the stock crossmember mounting bolts, so we decided
With the bed sheetmetal work complete and the crossmembers in place, it's time to start th
If you remember our story last month, you'll recall that when we installed the new rear st
Note the larger groove that is cut on the left side of the board. This is the portion that