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Old 10-22-2018, 09:00 PM   #1
kirkf
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Default Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

Here is a question for someone old enough to see it new:


In 1950 when the Ford pickup trucks started coming with just the wood bed and metal strips, what did the wood look like?


Was it finished somehow? Oiled? Painted? Varnish? tarred?


What color was it back then when it was new? light coloured wood? Dark?




I've never seen a picture of a pickup truck box from back then.




Kirk
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1950 Ford F-47 (F1)
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Old 10-22-2018, 09:12 PM   #2
qmdv
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

I was five years old then.
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Old 10-22-2018, 09:18 PM   #3
GB SISSON
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

I have had two beds with good original wood. A '52 F3 and a '59 F350 9' flareside. The '52 I worked on today, and I only have the bed. It had a camper in it since new. The bed wood still has a light blue paint, same as the bed. The '59 had bed wood painted green, same as the rest of the truck. I have just planed, ripped and edged all the douglas fir bed wood for my current project, a '47 one ton pickup. I have new primed steel 8' strips for it too. Am I gonna paint it red like the rest of the truck? That's my plan, but I may cave and just throw some light marine teak oil on it instead. What it won't have is multiple coats of gloss or semi-gloss varnish on it. And no I don't remember these trucks new. I'm just a kid at 65. Hope this helps.
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'47 1/2 ton pickup next project, '47 one ton panel 99% stock nearing completion, '47 2 ton with 8ba and 9' script stakebed, '46 1/2 ton woodie project,'59 F350 9' flareside pickup with cummins 6at. 'Rusty ol' floorboards, hot on their feet' (Alan Jackson)
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Old 10-22-2018, 09:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

Well I wasn't out the hatch till 1969 so you've got me beat!


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Old 10-22-2018, 09:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

Here's that '59 bed. It was originally 'meadow green' but a PO painted it blue. Under the remains of blue paint on the bed wood and the strips was meadow green. No doubt on that.
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'47 1/2 ton pickup next project, '47 one ton panel 99% stock nearing completion, '47 2 ton with 8ba and 9' script stakebed, '46 1/2 ton woodie project,'59 F350 9' flareside pickup with cummins 6at. 'Rusty ol' floorboards, hot on their feet' (Alan Jackson)
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Old 10-23-2018, 06:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

They were the same color as the truck .
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

My blue '62 1/2 ton, bought new, had the bed floor painted black. My father in laws '64 1/2 ton ,also blue, and bought new had the bed floor body color. The black was almost like a stain, it penetrated quite deep into the boards.
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:31 AM   #8
Gary in La.
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

We had a new 1950 F-2 and the bed was the same color as the truck, wood and all.
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

I remember my dad's 52 F-1 and the bed wood was body color. He bought it in 1958, but it was a nice low mileage original.
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

That's amazing, I had no idea they painted the beds with the same paint as the body.
I wonder if they pre-treated the boards with anything or just layered on the body paint.
It doesn't look like they used the red primer on the boards, judging from the picture above.


Its odd that in all the restorations I've seen I have never seen anyone with bed wood matching the body color.


For you guys who go to the point judging shows, don't they deduct points for having stained wood in the bed instead of the way Henry did it?


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Old 10-23-2018, 11:23 AM   #11
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

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Originally Posted by kirkf View Post
That's amazing, I had no idea they painted the beds with the same paint as the body.
I wonder if they pre-treated the boards with anything or just layered on the body paint.
It doesn't look like they used the red primer on the boards, judging from the picture above.


Its odd that in all the restorations I've seen I have never seen anyone with bed wood matching the body color.


For you guys who go to the point judging shows, don't they deduct points for having stained wood in the bed instead of the way Henry did it?


Kirk

It looks nicer with oak finished in a stain and glossed and stainless strips, but it may not be 100% correct. You're call as the new owner how you'd like it to look.
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Old 10-23-2018, 11:27 AM   #12
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

Weren't the original boards southern yellow pine?
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:09 PM   #13
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Weren't the original boards southern yellow pine?
I'd like to know too.
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Old 10-23-2018, 02:38 PM   #14
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

Henry Ford built cars to the lowest price possible. His Model T and Model A trucks and pickups had the beds assembled first and then either dipped or spray painted the same color as the bodies. He did not bother with the finish on the wood, but it as possible that the wood may have been dipped in some sort of wood preservative prior to painting.
He didn't believe in changing his methods very often, so I'm guessing your later trucks were finished the same as he had done from his early days.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:47 PM   #15
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

Kirk:
My pickup is a bit older and had a metal over wood. When restoring my pickup, I removed the metal and the wood underneath was maple. The wood was tongue and grooved and some of the maple was "bird's eye". Ford used a lot of wood early on with model T's and A's as well as his "woodies". His wood came from his lumber/saw mills in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (the "U P"). The maple on my pickup was dark so I think Ford had put a dark "stain" on the wood.


It is your pickup so do what you want; it appears that by 1950, the wood was painted body color. Good luck and enjoy your project.

Henry
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:17 PM   #16
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

when I tried to research the wood for my stakebed truck, the only reference I could find was "straight grain hardwood" arkansas yellow pine- ash-maple even poplar was considered hardwood
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:02 PM   #17
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

Yellow pine is considered hard wood?
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:06 PM   #18
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

Why would Henry Ford use southern (or Arkansas) yellow pine for truck beds when Ford owned all of that forest land in Northern Michigan. It doesn't make any sense to me.
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:16 PM   #19
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

Quote:
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Yellow pine is considered hard wood?
At one time it was, also called hard pine.

There was a pine called long leaf pine but I think its extinct now
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:16 PM   #20
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Default Re: Question for Oldtimers - Pickup Bed Wood

Poplar IS a hardwood. It is a tree with leaves that come off in the fall. Softwoods have needles. The Southern yellow pine is what I associate with the Ford beds I have worked on. It is not at all like the soft pine in the New England states and the West. It is very resinous (pitchy) and therefore quite rot resistant. It is also known as 'pitch pine', loblolly, and heart pine. It's the stuff they dredge off of river bottoms down south and mill into furniture and flooring. It is tough wood. Red oak is not at all rot resistant. It's structure is like a bundle of drinking straws wicking the water through the boards. White oak is used in boat building because it is far more rot resistant. And more expensive. Henry chose well with the southern pine. Tough, inexpensive and weather resistant. Just what a truck bed needs. Throw some paint on top and keep the line moving, and the customers coming back. That's good business.
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