I am in a real bind trying to find 2"x 10"x 116" (could be as narrow as 9" if it is clean) white oak planks for the rear bed of my new project... I am trying to match my other 39 (VB) with a 54" wide bed. The new truck will have a 70" wide bed approximately...
Original planks on the (VB) model are 1-3/4" thick and mounted with 5 wear strips with the following dimensions:
You may need to locate someone with a portable band saw. They can custom cut boards to any dimensions you want. The biggest problem is that you are out of the natural range of white oak so you would need to travel to at least Georgia. Perhaps if you talked to a local cabinet shop, they may know of a source.
Last edited by Paul_WNC; Sat Jul 11 2020 12:21 PM.
I would have never expected to be such a huge problem... I am even looking into something called rough cut oak used for tractor trailer beds. I will know something by next Tuesday....
It's not a problem, just a challenge.
If your truck is ever going to be sitting outside, especially in your wet and humid climate I think your choice to go with white oak is good. That species is fairly decay resistant and very durable. Avoid red oak, while it is also very durable, it is much less decay resistant. As I stated before, you are located outside of the natural range of white oak so none of the local sawmills in your area are likely to have that species. You may have to have the boards shipped which will add a considerable cost, but can be done. I found this link to a company I bought lumber from long ago in the past. They list 8/4 white oak, but it looks wicked expensive to me. BTW, hardwood lumber goes by quarter measurements so a 8/4 board equals 2 inches thick.
Are you certain you need 1.75 inch thick lumber? Seems like it would be overkill and add way too much excess weight. The composite bed (late 1942-43) WW2 Chevy G506 trucks didn't use wood planks that thick, and it was used in a similar configuration as your VB. If memory serves correctly, the G506 used 5/4 (1.25 inch) thick boards.
I live within the natural range of white oak trees and we have a couple of local sawmills that deal with that species. I can hunt for some contact information if you want to go that route.
I really appreciate your help here and you're right, it is a challenge of sorts... BTW, if I read the chart right Wall Lumber wants $5.35 per foot for 8/4 lumber, here they want $15.25 per foot, just in case you think that is big money your way...
In fact, I am crawling under my other 39 (VB) to confirm that the cross sills or stringers (as I call them) are made out of 1/8" thick steel, 1.5" tall and 3" wide C channel, sitting over 1/8" small square pieces of metal and the bed planks are 1-3/4" thick...
Now my (VC) truck ex fire truck, had a 500 gallon water tank and the 6 cross sills were white oak instead of metal, 3" wide and 1-3/4" thick... I am on the waiting list with a wood supplier in Ft. Lauderdale to cut a 10" (8/4) white oak plank and get (2x) 73" pieces and (2x) 47" and that will cost about $200 with tax and shop labor... I am wondering if I should cancel the job and just get 3 or 4 pieces of C channel and set up the deck of this one the same way... As much as I like the idea of nice wooden cross sills the price is absolutely ridiculous, and mind you, originally I was going to set up the 6 cross sills, but I will not be carrying any close to that amount of weight... Still, I would like to make it tough. What is your advice here?
Wood was used to allow for frame flexing...steel will rip things apart over time. Find a local hard wood that is cheap to buy, cut to size and paint it with POR-15 on all 6 sides, two coats and it will out late you.
Most truck bodies were custom made so there is no right or wrong way to do it, just build it so it meets your needs...don't overthink it! In the end no one will ever question what species of wood you used.
Being a woodworker and forester, your next best bet, for a decay and rot resistant specie would be teak. The wood has a density factor of 53 versus 47 for white oak. You could do an internet search for hardwood suppliers in your area. More for than likely they will have white oak or teak. Common home supply and lumber yards have a lower chance of supplying these hardwoods. Just sawed up a bunch of white oak on the Woodmizer mill here in New Hampshire. UPS will only ship 96” lengths.
Last edited by tom moore; Sun Jul 12 2020 04:27 PM.
I think I am going to price out the steel first thing tomorrow morning... Teak is beautiful hard wood but, around here is abot $35.00 per foot! I might have to go through a lumber yard or wood supplier for the bed planks since they need to be 116" long... Fastenal could be an option for shipping, but I can see how that would be hard to arrange...
Paul, you mentioned two local sawmills by you besides Wall Lumber... Do you have the info by chance? I will email Wall Lumber for a quote on the planks and see if they would ship to a Fastenal Location by me... Thank you.