Trucks are one of the hottest segments in street rodding today. It seems like everyone has a truck or is looking for one. The utilitarian side of trucks is attractive to anyone who has to chase parts and haul stuff, but for the most part hot rod trucks have been elevated to the level of soft cargo wrapped in blankets to protect the finish of the bedsides, and of course the bed floor.

While bedsides must be straightened and painted body color, the bed floor lends an opportunity to make a styling statement. While once there was only oak, today there are any number of different woods that can be cut and fabricated to line the floor of virtually any truck. Wood can be stained, sealed, or oiled for the desired finish and many exotic woods have enough natural color to really stand out in the truck crowd.

Speaking of trucks, Editor Brennan seems to have his fair share with one new project truck and his Brookville Roadster extended-cab '31 Model A roadster pickup being refurbished. When it came time to rework the bed he knew it was time to be out with the oak and in with the new, but exactly what kind of wood was the big question.

That brings us to Bed Wood and Parts in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Having admired many bed floors that Jeff Major has supplied to other truck owners, we decided to take a closer look at what type of wood floors and associated strips he had available. As it turns out the options are many and Jeff Major was a big help in selecting the wood for the roadster pickup. After all, this is a big decision for truck owners. Few things are more visible than the bed floor and the wood must complement both the paint and the interior. As a matter of fact, choosing the right wood is as critical as picking the proper interior color and fabric to go with the paint color.

As it turns out Bed Wood and Parts offers no less than 33 different wood types for your pickup bed, 16 domestic woods and 17 exotic woods. Variations in color, grain, and texture all contribute to the final attitude of your hot rod truck, and they carry exotic names like Purple Heart, Bobinga, Leopard Wood, and Canary Wood, to name a few. Major told us many of his customers call in or stop by his booth at street rod events thinking they want "good old oak" but after looking at the other woods available most of them end up ordering something more unique. The concept is real simple, you're building your truck to a much higher level than the factory did 50, 60, or 70 years ago so why not upgrade the bed floor too?

Beyond the good looks of a Hickory or Birdseye Maple there's also the thermal expansion and contraction of wood to consider, along with the dramatically different humidity levels the bed floor is exposed to. Major told us Oak is actually not a very good choice because it expands and contracts more than many other hardwoods. As it turns out Hickory and Maple are better choices for most applications. While wood movement inside your climate-controlled house may be minimal, when you drive your truck out of a relatively cool garage and park it in 95-degree weather in the blazing sun that wood could be moving around a lot. Add an afternoon thunderstorm and your bed wood is really swelling up.

After selecting the wood of your choice, ordering can be handled online at www.bedwoodandparts.com or by simply picking up the phone and placing an order. Bed Wood and Parts have patterns for many of the more popular truck beds or you can send your old wood to be used as patterns for duplication. All of their wood is cut to exacting widths, precision milled to a full 3/4-inch thickness, then grooved, cut to length, and sanded. When you receive your wood it is ready for your final finish, be it urethane sealing and acrylic clearcoat or simply oiling the wood for a natural look. The experts at Bed Wood and Parts can help you choose the proper finish for your wood, but they supply the wood finish sanded and ready for final finish.

Most wood sets come undrilled so you can drill the planks to fit your particular bed. This is recommended because bed manufacturing was not always a precise business, so hole locations can vary. Then when you consider most trucks had some hard work to do for the first 20 years of their life, the bed dimensions may vary even more from truck to truck. However on some of the more popular bed floors, pre-drilling is offered as an option. And, if you are wondering, yes, you can bring your truck or ship the bed direct to them and they will cut, finish, and install the wood turnkey for you.

After you've chosen the wood type your second decision involves the choosing strips that go between the wood, holding it in place. Not long ago the choices were limited to factory-style painted or chrome-plated strips, but today there are improved choices. The factory-style steel strips are still available and they can be painted or powdercoated body color to match your truck or they could be chrome plated. However far and away the most popular choice is, stainless steel strips are available plain or polished. These hold-down strips come in two different styles, one that's pre-drilled for stainless steel fasteners that show this is the traditional look, or there's also a stainless steel strip that has hidden fasteners that slide in lips on the bottom side of the strip. These smoothie-style strips give your truck a very clean look.

But wait, there's more. Beyond those three options on the traditional factory-style strips Bed Wood and Parts also offers their own extruded aluminum bed strips. Both of these incorporate blind fasteners for that smooth look. The first style is called the Speed Bump, and as you might guess it's similar to half-round in polished aluminum. Once again this is a very clean look for those hot rodders wanting something just a bit different. The other custom extruded bed floor strip is called the Double Hump and it too employs hidden fasteners with a clean profile that looks great in between any wood.

If you are working on a custom application or have needs different than the wood originally in your truck, it is best to send patterns or very detailed mechanical drawings. Once again, a call to Jeff Major at Bed Wood and Parts will be time well spent before you begin the wood project, as he can tell you exactly what he needs, to provide you with exactly what you need.

We enjoyed our tour of Bed Wood and Parts and learned a lot about great-looking wood and how these parts are precision-made for street rod trucks. We even witnessed the final cutting and finishing of Editor Brennan's very nice Teak Wood floor. The craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into each piece of wood is impressive and sure to make a big difference in the final finish of any truck bed. When it comes time to wood the bed in my own '40 pickup I now know where to find a great selection and a fine finished product.

SOURCE
Hot Rods By Dean
1 West Lone Cactus Drive
Phoenix
AZ  85027
623-581-1932
http://www.hotrodsbydean.com
Brookville Roadster
937-833-4605
http://www.brookvilleroadster.co
m
Bed Wood and Parts, LLC
8345 Madisonville Road
Hopkinsville
KY  42240
877-206-9663
http://bedwoodandparts.com/
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