Wood Truck Bed: A Nostalgic Touch to Modern Vehicles

Wood truck bed– a symbol of timeless craftsmanship and quality. In today’s market, these classic pieces of hard maple, African mahogany, and white oak, stand out for their distinctive appeal. They serve as more than just a product; they represent a legacy of love for classic aesthetics and functionality.

As a seller, each wood truck bed isn’t just a stock item; it’s a meticulously crafted project. The transformation of heartwood and sapwood into a durable, custom-fit bed for your pickup truck is an art. It’s a blend of craftsmanship and architectural millwork that results in a timeless piece.

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Leveraging my knowledge, experience, and expertise, I am poised to guide you through this journey. Whether it’s DIY wood truck bed ideas, understanding grain structures, or choosing the right wood pieces, this article equips you with all the necessary information. Richs Auto Body Shop will explore everything about a wood truck bed, its maintenance, and much more.

Wood Truck Bed – The Nostalgic Choice

There’s something timeless about a wood truck bed. As you admire the fine grain of white oak or the rich tone of African mahogany beneath your fingertips, it’s almost as if you’re transported back to a simpler time. A time when craftsmanship was not just about function but also about form and beauty.

In the realm of vintage vehicles, a wooden bed isn’t merely a nod to the past; it’s a bold statement of style and character. It speaks volumes about the owner’s appreciation for the classic, the unique, and the enduring. Drawing from my personal experience, I sense that it’s a celebration of tradition merged with the practical needs of the present.

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Whether you’re restoring a classic truck, seeking to infuse a touch of nostalgia into a modern vehicle, or simply love the warmth and charm that only real wood can provide a wood truck bed is a remarkable choice. The amalgamation of artistry, durability, and utility that it offers is truly unparalleled.

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A wood truck bed is more than just a part of your vehicle; it’s a symbol of your individuality, a testament to your taste, and a clear reflection of your love for timeless appeal. Indeed, when it comes to choosing a truck bed that combines both aesthetics and functionality, a wood truck bed is a nostalgic yet enduring choice.

The Benefits of a Wood Truck Bed

Wood truck beds, harking back to the age of horse-drawn wagons, epitomize a blend of tradition, craftsmanship, and practicality. This nostalgia-evoking choice packs a punch when it comes to functionality and aesthetics, making it a timeless favorite. Below, we explore the numerous advantages that wood truck beds offer over their metal counterparts.


Wood is a remarkably resilient and forgiving material, making it an excellent choice for truck beds. Thanks to its innate sturdiness, wood stands up well to heavy-duty use. It’s more than capable of carrying substantial loads, such as steel, engine parts, and machinery, without sustaining significant damage.


When a wood truck bed gets damaged or wears out beyond its usefulness, the affected part can be easily replaced. This feature not only extends the lifespan of the truck bed but also eliminates the need for a complete bed replacement, leading to cost savings in the long run.


The vast array of wood types, finishes, and accessories available today paves the way for virtually unlimited customization possibilities. Whether you prefer the rich tones of walnut or the light hues of maple, a glossy finish, or a matte one, your wood truck bed can be tailored to reflect your unique taste and style.


Drawing inspiration from old horse-drawn wagons, the wood truck bed has adapted to modern needs without losing its traditional charm. It’s ideal for carrying a diverse range of loads, from hefty machinery parts to delicate items, providing flexibility in its use.

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The table below summarizes the key benefits of a wood truck bed:

Benefit Description
Durability Wood is a sturdy material that can withstand heavy loads and resist damage.
Replaceability Damaged or worn-out sections of a wood truck bed can be easily replaced, extending its lifespan and reducing costs.
Customizability There’s a broad range of wood types, finishes, and accessories to choose from, allowing for extensive customization.
Adaptability Wood truck beds are versatile, suitable for carrying a variety of loads, and adaptable to various use cases.

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In conclusion, a wood truck bed is not just about invoking nostalgia or making a style statement; it’s a testament to the time-tested practicality and versatility of wood as a material. Whether it’s durability, replaceability, customizability, or adaptability, a wood truck bed ticks all the boxes, making it a fantastic choice for your vehicle.

What Is Best for Your Bed?

A significant factor contributing to the performance and durability of your wood truck bed is the type of wood you choose. Picking the right kind of wood involves taking into consideration elements like hardness, durability, grain pattern, and weather resistance. In this section, we’ll delve into some popular wood choices like Ash, Black Walnut, and Oak, along with their respective benefits and features.


Ashwood is a highly robust and resilient material, known for its incredible shock resistance. This characteristic makes it an excellent choice for a wood truck bed, as it can efficiently withstand the heavy loads and regular wear that truck beds are subjected to. Ash is also popular due to its straight grain and light color, which add to the aesthetic appeal of the truck bed.

Black Walnut

Black Walnut is renowned for its rich, dark color, and strong, dense structure. Its grain patterns range from straight to irregular and curly, offering unique visual interest. Beyond its good looks, Black Walnut is naturally resistant to decay and rot, making it highly durable when exposed to the elements. These traits render it an attractive option for a wood truck bed.

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Oak is one of the most popular choices for a wood truck bed. This preference dates back to the launch of the first C/K trucks in 1963 when oak wooden beds were designed for their robustness and endurance. Oak is well-regarded for its superior strength and durability, as well as its visually appealing grain patterns.

However, other wood types like Hickory and Maple are also worth considering, as they offer high strength and resilience, making them ideal for truck bed applications. Tight-grained softwood like Douglas fir or old-growth southern yellow pine is another excellent option. These types of wood are durable and hard-wearing, making them suitable for the demands of a truck bed.

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Here’s a brief table summarizing these wood types’ key characteristics:

Wood Type Description
Ash Known for its shock resistance, straight grain, and light color
Black Walnut Renowned for its rich, dark color and resistance to decay
Oak Popular for its strength, durability, and appealing grain patterns

In conclusion, selecting the best wood for your bed depends on your specific needs and preferences. Each type of wood offers its own unique set of benefits and characteristics. With the right information at hand, you can choose the perfect wood for your wood truck bed that combines durability, functionality, and aesthetics.

What Kind of Strips Do You Need?

When planning your wood truck bed project, an often overlooked but crucial part is determining the type of strips you need. These strips serve a dual purpose: holding your wooden pieces in place and adding a touch of style to the bed’s overall appearance. There are a few options to consider including Speed Bump Aluminum Bed Strips, Flat Top Aluminum Bed Strips, Steel Bed Strips, and Stainless Bed Strips.

Speed Bump Aluminum Bed Strips

Speed Bump Aluminum Bed Strips are characterized by a distinctive raised center, reminiscent of a speed bump. This design element helps enhance the friction between the cargo and the bed. In addition to providing this functional benefit, these strips are also robust and rust-resistant, offering longevity despite regular wear and tear.

Flat Top Aluminum Bed Strips

Flat Top Aluminum Bed Strips provide a smooth, sleek surface, perfect for those who prefer a clean, minimalistic look. But these strips don’t just look good; they also provide the strength to support significant weight, ensuring your truck bed withstands the pressures of heavy cargo.

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Steel Bed Strips

If your truck often carries heavy loads, Steel Bed Strips might be the best choice. While they may be more susceptible to rust compared to their aluminum counterparts, their durability is unmatched. Regular maintenance can help keep these strips in top condition and prolong their lifespan.

Stainless Bed Strips

Stainless Bed Strips are the epitome of the fusion between aesthetics and function. These strips resist corrosion while sporting a shiny, polished finish, thereby enhancing the overall look of your truck bed.

Remember that the installation method matters too. For a clean finish, consider using a hidden fastening system developed by MAR-K. It uses special bolts that slide into the metal strips, securing your wood pieces without leaving any visible screws.

Strip Type Description
Speed Bump Aluminum Bed Strips Enhanced friction, durable, rust-resistant
Flat Top Aluminum Bed Strips Streamlined appearance, robust
Steel Bed Strips Highly durable, ideal for heavy-duty use
Stainless Bed Strips Corrosion-resistant, polished look

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Both the wood and the metal strips play pivotal roles in your wood truck bed project. The choice of strips depends on your specific requirements, aesthetic preferences, and the type of wood you are using.

Other Considerations

Embarking on a journey to construct your wood truck bed involves more than just choosing the type of wood. There are several other important considerations to keep in mind for your project. Among these are understanding the thermal expansion of wood, aiming for a custom fit, and being open to expert advice.

Thermal Expansion of Wood

All types of wood undergo thermal expansion due to temperature changes, and certain climates can be particularly challenging for some species like oak. If your vehicle does not have a garage with a controlled climate, drastic temperature variations can lead to warping or splitting. Thus, it’s crucial to consider your local climate when choosing the wood type.

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A company named Bed Wood and Parts, for instance, offers no less than 33 different wood types for your pickup bed, including 16 domestic kinds of wood and 17 exotic kinds of wood. One of the recommended choices is Alaska Yellow Cedar. Known for its rot resistance and weathering ability, this wood type requires the use of corrosion-resistant fasteners for optimal results.

Custom Fit

Achieving a custom fit for your wood truck bed is just as essential as selecting the appropriate wood type. Your wood bed kit should be designed and cut to the exact dimensions of your truck’s frame, incorporating all specifics such as tailgate, wheel arches, and storage areas. This ensures a seamless fit and a professional finish, enhancing both the functionality and aesthetic appeal of your vehicle.

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Expert Advice

Don’t overlook the value of expert advice when taking on such a substantial DIY project. Professionals have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can prove invaluable. They can guide you through the selection process, recommend the right tools, and help troubleshoot any problems you may encounter. For instance, if your ’56 Chevy step-side requires a new wood bed kit, experts can suggest suitable wood types and reliable sellers.

Consideration Importance
Thermal Expansion of Wood Understand how temperature changes can affect wood, and select suitable types for your local climate
Custom Fit Achieve a seamless fit and professional finish for your wood truck bed
Expert Advice Leverage professional insights to ensure optimal results for your DIY project

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In conclusion, crafting a wood truck bed is not just about choosing the right type of wood. Factors such as thermal expansion, custom fitting, and expert guidance all play crucial roles in the project’s outcome. Keep these considerations at the forefront of your planning process to ensure your wood truck bed is of high quality, durable, and aesthetically pleasing.

Installing a Wood Truck Bed: Step-by-Step Guide

The installation of a wood truck bed might seem like a daunting task, but with the right information and tools, it can be a rewarding DIY project. Based on my firsthand knowledge, I perceive this as a creative endeavor that brings personal satisfaction and a touch of customization to your truck.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Materials

To start, you’ll need your custom-fit wood pieces (oak, ash, or whichever you’ve chosen), metal bed strips, wood screws, and all the necessary tools like a drill, saw tape measure, and sander. Remember to ensure your tools are in good working condition before you start.

Tools and Materials Purpose
Custom-fit Wood Pieces To form the truck bed
Metal Bed Strips To secure the wood pieces
Wood Screws To secure the wood and strips
Drill, Saw, Tape Measure, Sander Various steps of the installation process

Step 2: Prepare Your Truck

Next, remove the old bed from your truck. This step might require additional tools like a wrench or ratchet set. Once the old bed is removed, clean and inspect the area. Address any rust or damage before installing the new bed.

Step 3: Arrange Your Wood Planks

Place your wood planks in the correct arrangement on a flat surface. This is where your custom fit comes in handy, as each piece should align perfectly. Remember to consider the location of the wheel wells.

Step 4: Install the Bed Strips

Fit the metal bed strips in between each plank of wood. These strips are important as they secure the wood planks to the frame of the truck and prevent them from moving or warping.

Step 5: Secure the Wood Planks

Using your drill, secure each wood plank and metal strip to the truck frame with the screws. Make sure each piece is tightly secured to prevent any movement while driving.

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Step 6: Sand and Finish

Lastly, sand down your new wood truck bed to ensure it’s smooth and free from any potential splinters. Apply a suitable wood finish to protect it from the elements and give it a polished look. This is an essential step for prolonging the lifespan of your wood truck bed.

Remember, safety is paramount when undertaking such a project. Always use personal protective equipment, and don’t hesitate to ask for professional advice if needed. By following this guide, you’ll have a beautiful and durable wood truck bed that’s worth the effort. In the next section, we will discuss how to choose the right wood for your truck bed.

Maintenance and Care of Wood Truck Beds

Taking into account my past encounters, I believe a wood truck bed is an investment, requiring dedicated maintenance and care. This ensures its durability and functionality for an extended period.

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning forms the first line of defense in maintaining your wood truck bed. Debris removal and surface cleaning with mild soap and warm water should be part of your routine care. This simple step avoids damage to the wood and finish caused by harsh chemicals.

Inspection and Repair

Inspection and repair is a crucial aspect of truck bed maintenance. I recommend periodic inspections to identify signs of damage such as cracks, splintering, or warping early on. Prompt attention to minor issues can prevent extensive damage and costly repairs in the future.

Re-Sealing the Wood

To ensure the longevity of your wood truck bed, re-sealing the wood plays a pivotal role. Over time, sealers can wear off, exposing the wood to weather elements. Hence, you should consider re-sealing the wood at least once a year or more frequently, depending on usage and climate conditions.

Protection from Excessive Sun Exposure

Protection from sun exposure is another key factor in maintaining the aesthetics and functionality of your truck bed. Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause the wood to fade and degrade the sealer. Where possible, try to park your truck in the shade or use a truck cover.

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Maintenance Tips Description
Regular Cleaning Use mild soap and warm water for routine cleaning.
Inspection and Repair Regularly inspect for damages and repair promptly.
Re-Sealing the Wood Re-apply the sealer as required to shield the wood.
Sun Protection Limit sun exposure to avoid fading and sealer degradation.

By adhering to these maintenance tips, you can prolong the life of your wood truck bed and keep it looking stylish and functional. In the upcoming sections, we will explore the pros and cons of wood truck beds to help you make an informed decision about your truck bed choice.

Pros and Cons of Wood Truck Beds

In light of my previous involvement, I have a feeling that every aspect of a vehicle, including a wood truck bed, comes with its share of benefits and drawbacks. Here are some pros and cons you should consider before making your decision.


  • Aesthetic Appeal: Wood truck beds offer a unique, classic, and appealing look that can set your vehicle apart from others.
  • Customizability: With a variety of wood species and finishes available, you can tailor the look and functionality of your truck bed to suit your needs and preferences.
  • Absorb Vibrations: Wood truck beds are known to absorb vibrations better than their metal counterparts, offering a smoother ride.
  • Easy Repairs: In case of damage, individual boards can be easily replaced without the need to replace the entire truck bed.


  • Maintenance: Wood truck beds require more maintenance than metal ones. They need to be cleaned, inspected, re-sealed, and protected from excessive sun exposure regularly.
  • Susceptible to Weather: Wood truck beds are susceptible to weather conditions. Excessive moisture can cause the wood to warp or rot, while extreme sun exposure can fade the wood.
  • Weight: Wood truck beds can be heavier than aluminum or steel ones, potentially impacting fuel efficiency.

Pros and Cons of Wood Truck Beds

Here’s a table summarizing these factors:

Pros Cons
Aesthetic Appeal High Maintenance
Customizability Susceptible to Weather
Absorbs Vibrations Increased Weight
Easy Repairs

Though wood truck beds come with their set of challenges, many truck owners find the benefits and unique appeal well worth the extra care and attention they require. In the next sections, we will delve deeper into the types of woods for truck beds, preparing for the build, and more.

FAQs about Wood Truck Bed

Can a wood truck bed handle heavy loads?

From my experience and expertise, I feel confident in saying that a wood truck bed can indeed handle substantial loads. However, the exact weight capacity may depend on the type of wood and the truck’s overall build. Always consider the manufacturer’s weight guidelines and your vehicle’s capacity.

How do I protect my wood truck bed from the weather?

Protecting your wood truck bed from the elements is critical to ensuring its longevity. One way to do this is by applying a high-quality protective finish, designed to shield your truck bed from extreme weather conditions. Regular maintenance also plays a significant role in weatherproofing your wood truck bed.

What type of finish should I use for my wood truck bed?

There are several types of finishes that you can use on your wood truck bed, depending on your aesthetic preference and the level of protection you want. A common choice is an exterior urethane varnish or a penetrating oil.

Source: https://www.mar-k.com/PDFs/Instructions/suggestionsforfinishingbedwood.pdf

How often should I treat or seal my wood truck bed?

Treatments or sealing should be done at least every six months to one year. The purpose is to maintain a rich, glossy finish and protect the wood from damage.

Can I install a wood truck bed myself?

Yes, installing a wood truck bed is a feasible DIY project. However, professional installation is recommended if you lack experience or time.

Source: https://www.streettrucksmag.com/diy-wood-bed-floors/#:~:text=YES%2C%20YOU%20CAN%20DO%20IT,WHEN%20THEY%20LOOK%20AT%20IT.

Can a wood truck bed be repaired if damaged?

Absolutely, one of the significant advantages of a wood truck bed is its reparability. Individual wood panels can be replaced without having to replace the entire bed.

Does a wood truck bed add value to my truck?

While a well-maintained wood truck bed can certainly add a unique appeal, its impact on the resale value of your truck can vary.

Can I paint a wood truck bed?

Yes, painting a wood truck bed is a popular way of adding a personal touch. Use an oil base primer followed by high-quality exterior latex paint.

Source: https://www.rustoleum.com/pages/homeowner/faqs/truck-bed-faqs#:~:text=What%20types%20of%20surfaces%20can,metal%2C%20concrete%20and%20wood%20surfaces.

Is a wood truck bed safe?

A wood truck bed, when properly installed and maintained, is safe for use. Overloading or improper installation can lead to safety risks.

What type of wood is best for truck beds?

The choice of wood can greatly influence the durability and look of your truck bed. Apitong is one of the most popular choices due to its strength, hardness, and stiffness.

Conclusion for Wood Truck Bed

The wood truck bed offers a unique mix of practicality and visual appeal. Based on my experience and expertise, I feel it’s a wise decision, especially considering its durability and customization options. This choice represents not only a preference for style but also a commitment to quality.

Maintenance is crucial with a wood truck bed. The selection of the right wood type, finish, and regular upkeep significantly impact its longevity and functionality.

So, if you’re a truck owner mulling over a wooden bed, remember that adequate information can guide you toward an optimal decision. Found this article enlightening? Share this post with your friends, car enthusiasts, drivers, vehicle owners, and neighbors. Let’s spread the word on the enduring charm of wood truck beds!

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