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Bed Wood Dimensions 

 

The original bed wood for Chevy & GMC trucks was Southern Yellow Pine.  This wood however is no longer readily available do to a federal ban placed on the commercial harvest of the limited number of these trees left in the environment.  However there are several great alternatives to choose from, anything from red oak to mahogany, it just depends on your taste.  This page is dedicated to anyone out there who wants to mill their own wood for their truck.

Earlier model trucks (pre 1967) had a mix of linseed oil and lampblack to treat the wood and give it that dull black color.  The boards were held down with metal strips that were also painted black to match.  For 1967 and later models the wood and metal strips were painted to match the truck.  Great alternatives to these choices are a variety of clear marine varnishes or polyurethanes.  These finishes enhance the natural wood grains and provide excellent protection against light scuffing and UV rays.

The following is the width and layout of the boards for the different year groups.

(* Signifies one board in front and back of the wheel wells.) 

1947 to Early 1951 - 9 Boards
4 1/4" 5" 5 1/2" 5 1/2" 6 3/8" 5 1/2" 5 1/2" 5" 4 1/4"

 
Late 1951 to 1953   - 8 Boards 
4 1/4" 7 1/4" 5" 7 1/4" 7 1/4" 5" 7 1/4" 4 1/4"

 
Late 1954 to 1957  - 8 Boards 
4 1/4" 7 1/4" 5" 7 1/4" 7 1/4" 5" 7 1/4" 4 1/4"

 

Late 1958 to 1959  - 8 Boards Stepside
4 1/4" 7 1/4" 5" 7 1/4" 7 1/4" 5" 7 1/4" 4 1/4"

 

Late 1958 to 1959 Fleetside - 12 Boards
"*                 "*

 

Late 1960 to 1972 Stepside - 8 Boards
3 1/8" 7 7/16" 7 7/16" 5 7/16" 5 7/16" 7 7/16" 7 7/16" 3 1/8"

 

Late 1960 to 1972 Fleetside - 12 Boards
2- 6 3/8"*  7 7/16 7 7/16 7 7/16 5 7/16 5 7/16 7 7/16 7 7/16 7 7/16 2- 6 3/8"*

 

The following is the board lengths from 1947 to 1972.  These vary depending on the ton rating and length of wheelbase.  

Board Lengths
1947-1953 1/2 T Short Bed 77"
1947-1953 3/4,1 T Long Bed 85 3/4"
1954-1959  1/2 T Short Bed 77 1/8"
1954-1957  1/2,3/4 T Long Bed 89"
1957-1959 2nd Series 1/2, 3/4 T Long Bed 97"
1954-1959  1 T 97"
1960-1966 1/2, 3/4 T Short Bed Step Side 77 1/8"
1960-1966 1/2, 3/4 T Long Bed Step Side 97"
1960-1966 1/2, 3/4 T Short Bed Fleet Side 77 1/8"
1960-1966 1/2, 3/4 T Long Bed Fleet Side 97"
1967-1972 1/2, 3/4 T Short Bed Step Side 77 1/8"
1967-1972 1/2, 3/4 T Long Bed Step Side 97"
1967-1972 1/2, 3/4 T Short Bed Fleet Side 77 1/8"
1967-1972 1/2, 3/4 T Long Bed Fleet Side 97"
1967-1972 1/2, 3/4 T Longhorn Bed Fleet Side 103"

 

The following is a picture of the cross section and dimensions of the groove pattern that GM used when milling the boards.  

                                                                                                 (A= 3/4"),  (B= 1/4"), (C=1/4"), (D=1/2"), (E= 1/8")

All but the outer boards have grooves milled down both sides to allow for the wear strips.  The outer boards only have the groove on the inside edge.  The outside edge is left alone for the angle strip to rest on

 

(Short Bed Fleetside Wood Pattern)

(Long Bed Fleetside Wood Pattern)

The reason the wood is milled in this fashion, is to allow for the expansion and contraction of the wood during climactic changes. This also allows the wood to do so without buckling or warping.  A six inch board can expand and contract a full 1/4 inch during humidity changes throughout the year.  It is important to leave a space between the bolts that hold the wood in place to allow the expansion also.  If you are assembling the wood in warm dry conditions you need to allow more space than you would if you were assembling in a cooler, more humid climate.  Varnish and Urethanes, if used on all sides of the wood, to include the ends will slow this process, and help keep the wood from cupping.  Unfinished wood will expand and contract so fast that the wood will cup and crack, opening up the wood for early decay. It is not necessary to allow for that much movement lengthwise, because wood does not expand much in that direction.  Another way to lesson the chances of cupping is to mill your wood out of heartwood.  Heartwood is wood that is milled from the center of the log.  If you are unable to find heartwood you want to lay out your boards in such a way that the growth rings are facing upward.  This way when it cups, it will cup upward and allow the wood to shed the water and not form pools and cause excess water retention.

Toll Free 888-338-2502 / Fax 360-570-1860 / WEHEPP@comcast.net

335 93 rd. Ave. S.W. / Olympia, Wash. 98512