Flatbed trucks are getting popular over time, especially within the farming community. A wooden flatbed is convenient, inexpensive, and is capable of last longer as compared to a stock steel truck bed. The most interesting aspect of a wood flatbed is that it can be designed and built in a very simple way without taking any other person’s assistance. You can install it own your instead of purchasing an expensive, premade steel flatbed. Moreover, if you opt for wooden flatbeds, you can save a lot of money and give your truck a personal touch as well.In this article, we have discussed about the steps elaborately that you can follow on how to build a flat bed truck out of wood? Well, this procedure involves a few simple steps that includes measurement and cutting of the of the foundation, floorboards, building the floorboard, and finally installing the board to the truck.
Steps To Build a Wooden Flat Bed Truck
The first step of installing wooden flat board on your truck bed is to measure and cut the foundation. For this you have to lay three 4×4-inch pieces of lumber across the width of the truck frame, and then you have to mark the desired length using your pencil and square. Once you finish doing this, you can cut the lumber to its required length.
The second step of this process involves cutting of the floorboards to the desired length. For this you are required to measure the 2×6-inch lumber against the length of the truck frame. Then mark the measurements and cut it. Do not forget to measure and mark each piece individually to make sure that you have cut it to the correct length.
Now it’s time to mock up the flatbed. To begin with this procedure, you need to lay the 4-by-4 inch lumber across the frame of the truck; place one each at the front and back and one across the middle, parallel to one another. Now, place the 2-by-6 inch lumber on top of keeping it perpendicular to this foundation, while laying each piece flat, side by side, until you cover the entire area. Once you keep all the pieces in place, you need to check your work. You can adjust the length or width of any of the boards, mark and cut them according to your requirement.
Te next step is to install the foundation. Once you are finished with the final adjustments, you can remove the 2×6-inch floorboards. Check again the positions of the three pieces of 4×4 inch lumber as that we have discussed in the last step. Now, you need to drill through both ends of each piece of 4×4-inch lumber into and through the frame of the truck. Then, place a lag bolt in each hole from the top, secure a nut onto the bolt from the bottom, and tighten it with the help of a wrench.
To install the floor, you need to lay all of your 2×6 inch floorboards in place; you have to drill a hole through the centre of the floorboard into and through the underlying foundation, where each floorboard intersects a foundation board. Make three drill holes for each floorboard and then place a lag bolt in each hole from the top. Now, you have to thread a nut onto each bolt from the bottom, and tighten with a wrench.
A few Tips
If you are concerned about the dents on any metal parts in the truck bed, then you should know that linseed oil will not harm them. The linseed oil will help give it finished look just like it does on the wood.
After you apply the initial coat of linseed oil, you can use your truck in the meantime.
Make sure to wear breathing protection while using the linseed oil as you are working with large volumes of the oil.
What wood is best for flatbed truck?
Usually a truck bed flat bed is made of Pine, and always it takes ‘softwood’. You may find some CCA around it, but basically the current preservatives may react with galvanised fasteners. Pressure treated wood does not provide extreme water-proofing; however, it will prevent decay as long as the preservative remains on it. Honestly, there is hardly any advantage in using it for a truck bed.
Let us discuss the various woods that you can use in a truck bed.
Pine can give some advantages. For example, it will not warp as badly as oak when soaked in rain water. You can use Southern Yellow Pine (SYP); however, Douglas Fir (DF or Doug-Fir) has similar properties, but is comparatively lighter than the previous one. So, you need to check what is available in your area. You can find both of them as structural grades, dimensional lumber, and tongue and groove flooring (T&G) in the market.
The T&G can be found in 1 x3, 1×4, as well 5/4×4 dimensions, which has a finished thickness of just over an inch. If you choose narrower widths, then you can avail the less shrinkage and warping facilities with it. You can use a UV resistant finish, preferably paint, but stain and varnish on the wood to protect it. You need to coat all four sides with a solvent based water repellent or water repellent preservative before you assemble the flat board on the truck.
White Oak is tough and heavy and rot resistant; this can also help in warping. However, it is rarely used for exterior decking. You can also choose Black locust, but this is not available commercially as lumber. If it is available, you need to visit a small mill and have them get some and cut it for you as per your requirements. Black locust is very tough, dense, highly rot resistant and rarely straight grained.
Of the hardwoods, you can use two most popular woods for decking; mahogany and teak. Mahogany is durable and also not very hard. It is available as T&G. You can get it as boards or have rough stock custom cut and surfaced. You may get this type of wood at a reasonable price; more or less equal or less than Doug Fir. You can also think about teak, which can is for boats, and in the past for ships.