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Old 04-08-2013, 07:37 PM
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Default Suggestions for wood bed and sealer

I'm building a 64 Chevy 4x4 short bed, step side pick up. I am doing a full frame off resto-mod and I am now working towards the bed part of the project. I won't be using the bed for anything that should damage it, that's what the $19 truck rental at Home Depot is for. At the same time, I am not building a show truck either, it will be my daily and occasional tow rig for the 40. I want something that has a deep wood grain and I will be using polished 'rub strips' and the inside/front of the bed sides will be clad in bright (polished) aluminum diamond plate....so lots of shine/reflection going on back there.
First question, southern yellow pine or oak floor? All the bed kits available are one or the other. The pine is substantially less in cost than the oak. When I think pine, I think of a pretty soft wood that could be easily damaged/marred. When I think oak, I think furniture and not really suited for exterior use....so there's my quandary.
Next question, no matter which wood I use, what is the best product to seal it with? I want something that will last, be Colorado uv protected and will be ok parked outside. There's lots of products out there but I don't want any regrets by cutting corners here.
There maybe other forums to ask this but I keep recalling what Nakman said at a meeting earlier this year about utilizing the knowledge and expertise within our club....so here I am!
Thanks for any input!
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:58 PM
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Oak without question. You're right regarding the pine being soft. In addition oak has more grain. Unfortunately there isn't a product out there that will hold up to the CO environment. You & I will be refinishing our California beds every two years. Stripping & refinishing wood slats isn't really that big of a deal. Personally I wouldn't buy the wood kit but rather rip the slats myself for 1/3 the cost.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:06 PM
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Yep, Oak for durability. If your ripping, Teak would be ideal IMO.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:34 PM
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Oak if your buying a kit. Pine will dent/scratch just looking at it.

Teak or any hardwood for that matter if your doing it yourself.

Not much is going to hold up here long term but I'd probably start with some sort of marine product.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:37 PM
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If I were up to and capeable of ripping/drilling/countersinking my own deck, there are a lot of very pretty woods out there to pick from but doing some research and that is beyond my abilities and patience level. I did consider doing a pine/oak floor now and using it as a template for an upscale option in the future. I just think a precut kit is my best option at this point.
Disappointing news on the wood finish though. What about rubbing in some oil every year or something? Not so much worried about warping or cupping, the rub strips hold it down pretty good.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:57 PM
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Default Suggestions for wood bed and sealer

How soon are you wanting this done? I'll be doing mine (1969 GMC) in a year or so. Back in the day i did custom woodworking & I've got everything to put in a bed. I honestly believe that it will be the easiest part of your build, especially if you're doing a frame off. I'd be glad to help you out after Cruise Moab or sometime this summer. 72o-987-42o2 Travis
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Last edited by baja1d; 09-02-2013 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:59 PM
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Oak. Spar varnish. Reapply every year as needed. If it works for a sailboat, it should work for you! You could also use several coats of epoxy with a uv inhibitor to reduce discoloration.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:36 PM
SteveH SteveH is offline
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If there's any way you could store the truck indoors or a least tarp the bed (with a tarp suspended above the slats), the varnish will last much longer.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:42 PM
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Travis, I don't think I can wait a year but let's talk about it over a cold one in Moab. I'm still working on the rear fenders but may have it in paint by then. This is just after I shaved the door handles a few months ago.
Sasha, I think a yearly maintenance plan is unavoidable!
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:43 PM
L43dean L43dean is offline
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Quarter sawn salvaged oak from a British ship in the Jamestown river would be ideal. Brush on linseed oil to all surfaces and sides. Re-apply regularly. Seriously, just buy the tightest grain oak you can, white oak is traditional when water and weather are factors. It holds up better than red oak. I wouldn't baby the bed, a little wear shows honest use and gives character to your hard working truck. Just like back in the day. I'll be on the lookout for a vintage metal cooler and tackle box.
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