Chuck the Truck's 52 Chevy - Bed Assy

I wanted to use Osage Orange, since pine and oak are quite common, but couldn't find a source of boards long enough. I know little about wood, but chose it using The Wood Picker. It looked to be the toughest, most rot resistant, North American hardwood. If any of you know of source for Osage Orange bedwood, let me know and I'll post it here.
The trans ate more of may budget than planned, so pine it is. If it's going to rot anyway, might as well make it as cheap as possible. I ordered the hard yellow pine from Classic Parts of America (formerly Chevy Duty), along with stainless steel strips for rust prevention. The strips are not polished - no sense in paying extra for something I'll never do. On the wood, I used Minwax Prestain conditioner, a Minwax Golden Oak stain, and Minwax ClearShield polyurethane. Supposed to be their best weathering protection; we'll see. I should have test fit the bed and the outer two boards on each side, so I could drill the holes before finishing, but if there is a way to do it backwards....Surprising I'm making any progress at all.

[11/04 - exposed for a year before I got the tonneau, the finish deteriorated. If it is a driver, black paint and black painted strips would make maintenance easier. Now that the tonneau protects it, the deterioration has slowed, but water still gets in. Refinish = someday]
[20/20 Hindsight department - I should have cut the boards a 1/4" shorter. They butt the rear rail and the front bed panel and due to the rake, water collects in the front of the bed. It is really doing a number on the wood and I imagine the front bed panel (can't see in there). A slight gap would have been imperceptible and the water would have a place to drain. I'm not looking forward to undoing those 56 fasteners. Maybe I'll drill some drain holes instead.]


I did figure out to install the cross sills before setting the bed in place AND to slip the frame clips in place before setting the cross sill.





I didn't need frame clips on the second (from front) cross sill, since it is not mounted to the frame, but decided they would be a handy way to attach exhaust pipe hangers. This is before I figured out that the outer bedwood goes all the way to the wall and has to be drilled for the bolts through the angle strip





My secret weapon for installing the bed. Astute observers will note that she is working - I'm goofing off taking pictures.
Here you can see the space constraints (and no tires yet either)





I finally test assembled, marked, and drilled holes along the edge where the angle strip is and where the hold down bolts go through the blocks and frame. Had to mortise the holes for the offset washers with a chisel since I don't own Forstener bits. Afterward (as usual) I noticed ChevyDuty offers the boards predrilled for $20 extra. I saturated the exposed wood with more polyurethane.
Due to space restrictions, the bed had to be lifted sideways over the frame. It was easier to handle without the wood installed, but hindsight says I should have stood it up on end to put the 56 nuts, washers, and lockwashers in place. On my back, fighting gravity, was a pain in the dupa. If I hadn't already bought the hardware (from ChevyDuty) I would have used nylock nuts, just so I wouldn't have to diddle with lockwashers. I had to lay a 2x4 on the bolts to keep them from pushing back out of the hole while trying to install the nuts. Do a row, climb out to check alignment and move the 2x, then back under to tighten down the first row and install the nuts on the next row. I thought about using a sheet of drywall to hold the bolts down, but that would have been a bigger pain to check the alignment.
No surprise they don't "build 'em like they used to." I can't imagine a modern line doing all these bolts for a bed install.





Hey, it keeps looking more and more like a truck. With the bed installed, Mama can get her minivan back in the garage.





Not too shabby for an amateur.