Strange how one's mind becomes swayed through the course of actions. When I set out to build Project Get Shorty I had absolutely no intentions, whatsoever, to throw in a wood bed. I was high hung on: "If ain't steel, get real!" However, a little bird from somewhere popped into my head about maybe putting in a wood bed, and, well, the more I started thinking about a wood bed, the more my mind shifted.
When it comes to wood or steel, it's once again a matter of perception-the eye of the beholder. Both, when done right, look just as good as the other; it just depends on what you're into and what look you're after. Well, when I began to think about the look, feel, and persona that I was after, it was pretty clear wood was going to one-up a steel bed any way I looked at it. For one, the wood bed fit more the style and theme of my truck. Trying to set a feel of a late '50s, early '60s custom, especially with a '71 truck, steel just didn't seem to capture that moment in time as well as wood will. Another aspect was the uniqueness of a wood bed in a '71. Sure there are wood beds out there, but take a peek at '71 Chevys at the shows you attend and tally up the number of wood beds, and things are going to start looking like the score at a Patriots game in favor of steel! Lastly, the thought of peeking in the bed and seeing a nice detailed wood bed just seemed to give a feeling of pure class. Well, when all was said and done and plans were put in motion, one place came to mind, Bruce Horkey's Wood and Parts.
If a wood bed is your poison, then Bruce Horkey's Wood and Parts is your antidote. Bruce Horkey's is known for their quality wood bed kits-and when we say kits, we mean kits. Horkey's products aren't planks of wood that you measure, cut, and fit into your bed. Instead, each kit is carefully thought out and designed for a hassle-free installation. Simply remove the wood from the kit, slide it in place for good measure, and then begin the varnishing process. Another key aspect to a Bruce Horkey kit is that the wood is high quality. Whether it's pine, ash, oak, or another sort of exotic species, Bruce can whip up a kit to your taste. Along with the actual wood, Bruce also sells all the necessary accessories and hardware needed to fulfill the job. Things such as skid strips, mounting hardware, latches, varnish, stain, sheetmetal ... you name it. Not to mention they manufacture a kit for pretty much every truck that's ever been introduced to the general public.
Upon reading up on the Bruce Horkey kits we gave 'em a call and put an order in. After talking with Bruce, we decided to go with an ash wood bed kit, due to the hues in the grain and light color. Bruce also set us up with a set of polished stainless-steel skid strips and an Old Masters Spar Marine Varnishing Kit. Bruce sells stains as well, but for the look I'm going for a trip to Home Depot made short work of that. As far as the physical work and knowledge needed to tackle the job goes, it's as simple as 7th grade wood shop. Simply open up the kit, doublecheck to make sure everything fits, and then follow the step-by-step directions on preparation and varnish. The hardest part about the job is the time consumption. This isn't a project to be handled over the weekend, it's going to take the better part of two weeks from start to finish, due to the drying time needed for the stain and the varnish. Other than that, crank the tunes and just go for it.
Upon opening the ash wood...
Upon opening the ash wood from Bruce Horkey's, my first step was to put this wooden puzzle together, however, instead of the guess-and-check method, Horkey's makes it more like a paint-by-numbers puzzle due to the fact they number each board.
Horkey recommends lying all...
Horkey recommends lying all the boards down, from left to right, in their correlating positions as if you were looking at the bed from the tailgate. Once all my boards were down I could then began to place them in the bed.
A few months back I assembled...
A few months back I assembled the new bed from LMC Truck, and upon doing that I installed the braces with some wooden spacers. Therefore, before I could proceed I had to remove the braces and wood spacers, because the new bed wood sits between the braces and the bedside lips.