How To Install A Wood Bed On A 1928 Ford Model A Closed Cab Pickup

You’ve Made Your Own Bed, Now You Can Choose to Use it or Show it Off

By Brian Brennan – Photography by the Author

Well, I have “unearthed” my 1928 Ford Model A extended-closed-cab pickup (originally built by the Roadster Ute Company out of Australia and now sold by Brookville Roadster here in the U.S.). While rummaging through my various projects rat-holed away at Hot Rods by Dean (Phoenix) we figured it was about time to get this oldie but goodie on the road. I’ve always liked trucks, especially roadster pickups, but figuring I would need a bit more cover from the elements  I thought a Model A closed cab pickup would get the job I needed gettin’ done much better.

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02 How To Install Wood Bed On A 1928 Ford Model A
Before ordering your wood kit, make sure to get all of the pertinent measurements. This ensures that your BedWood® kit will drop into place.

Read More: Classic Car Restoration: 1931 Model A Ford

Closed cab or open cab, all pickups have one thing in common—the bed portion of the truck. In my case it’s a Brookville Roadster Model A bed that’s been shortened a good bit. To finish out the bed portion of this build we opted to contact Jeff Major of Bed Wood and Parts located in Kentucky. Rather than go with a traditional look we spoke with Major and asked if there was something new that might fit our build. Major told us about their latest addition to the Bed Wood and Parts product line, a Carbon Series H2X Limited Edition BedWood® Kit. It has a distinctive look with its black satin finish over American Ash wood, which immediately raised my level of curiosity given the finished look of the truck would be subdued.

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It should be noted that while Bed Wood and Parts specializes in pickup bed kits they are by no means locked into just “pickup truck beds.” In speaking with Major of Bed Wood and Parts, he tells us that his skilled craftsmen have also designed and manufactured custom-fit wood for hot rods, panels, flatbeds, or almost any project you can imagine. (It was a number of years ago but he and his staff made flooring and a toeboard for a roadster pickup project. So, I believe them when they say they can make anything out of wood for your hot rod.)

04 Carbon Series H2X limited edition BedWood Kit comes with everything you need to fit the wooden bed on the 1932 Ford
The Carbon Series H2X Limited Edition BedWood® Kit comes with all of the necessary wooden planks, bed strips, and hardware. True to Bed Wood and Parts’ code, our measurements yielded us a perfectly fitting kit.

BedWood® from Bed Wood and Parts

Bed Wood and Parts produces two product lines to cover the early and later-model truck markets. There’s the BedWood® line for the classic truck hot rodder and the RetroLiner® real wood bedliner for late-model pickup trucks or any truck with a metal bed floor. Either product line comes with an impressive list of available domestic and exotic woods.

05 Carbon Series H2X wood bed strips with perfect fitment
The Carbon Series H2X wood is based on American Ash (particularly hard) and covered with a proprietary coating. Note there’s a difference between the outside boards and the center boards. All are grooved to accept the bed strips, which maintain alignment and fitment.

In our current project, we sent exact dimensions (and a picture) of our shortened Model A pickup bed, as it varies greatly from a stock configuration. The bed’s dimensions that we provided were the overall length and width followed by the overall length, width, and height of the area that would absorb the wood. (See photo for added clarification.) The bed included fore and aft mounting points for the bed strips as well as two cross members that also provided two additional bed strip mounting points. It would be at these four points that each of the four bed strips with their four hidden T-bolts would attach. We would also use a dozen carriage bolts to affix the outside planks to the metal of the bed as well.

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06 The wooden bed kit came with stainless steel that fastens the bed strips
I opted for the unfinished plain stainless steel bed strips with the appropriate number of T-bolt fasteners. These fasteners are captured and slide appropriately on the underside of the provided bed strips.

Read Morel: Hot Rod Model T: 1926 Ford Tudor Sedan

Remember, we provided Bed Wood and Parts with our dimensions and they then prepared the five planks precut and ready to install along with four bed strips and all of the necessary hardware to hold everything in place. We were especially pleased since we threw a bit of a curve at the Bed Wood and Parts staff by noting that while we were using a shortened Model A Truck bed the cab and bed would be mounted to a Speedway Motors 1932 Ford chassis. Everything Bed Wood and Parts provided worked very well and the installation took little more than 90 minutes.

07 The Bed Wood and Parts kit fitment is nice between the bed strips and fasteners
From the topside you cannot see the T-bolt fasteners. Note how the bed strips fit the notched provided within the edges of the wooden planks.

Carbon Series

In speaking with Major, we must admit that we were fascinated with the latest offering of pickup bed wood in the Carbon Series H2X Limited Edition BedWood® Kit. We asked him to tell us about the bed wood used in this application as well as something about the wood coating. It’s a limited-edition kit in a proprietary black satin finish with its exclusive H2X coating that provides weatherproofing and UV protection. The kits come prefinished and ready to install.

08 Speedway Motors frame with mounting towers
You’re looking at one of two “mounting towers” that hold the bed in its proper location (height and distance) onto the Speedway Motors frame and away from the Roadster Ute cab.

Major told us: “The wood used with the Carbon Series H2X is American Ash. A known dense hardwood used historically for baseball bats, shovel handles, and even for wooden spoke wheels (from back in the day). The durability and scratch-resistance of the finish are properties resulting from the proprietary chemistry in the finish that we use.”

09 Taping off the measurements to drill the hole for the bed mounting towers
The yellow tape marks measurement spots so that we know exactly where to drill the holes into two individual planks so that the mounting holes line up with the bed mounting towers.

Bed Strips & Hardware

The intention of the 1-1/2-inch-wide bed strips is to hold the wood planks firmly in place and properly aligned within the bed. These strips are designed to fit into the grooves visible from the topside of the planks, attaching between the boards, securing each of the boards to the truck bed. These American-made bed strips are offered in carbon rolled cold steel or 430 BA magnetic stainless steel and are pre-punched to OEM factory specifications. Or, if you feel that your application is custom you can receive the strips unpunched or with hidden fasteners and then attach them as you see fit for your application.

10 Measuring the holes for the mounting tower for the 1932 Model A
Once the outer planks are fitted into their positions you can see how important it is to carefully mark where the center of the bed mounting tower is so that you can drill the appropriate hole.

In our project, we had the option of ordering our bed strips in a clear anodized aluminum in a SpeedBumpTM-style (these polished and anodized extruded aluminum bed strips have a “speed bump” appearance and use a completely hidden fastening system), polished or unpolished stainless steel (roll formed out of a 430 BA magnetic stainless steel), aluminum FlatTopTM (these polished and anodized extruded aluminum bed strips are “flat” in appearance and use a completely hidden fastening system), and plain steel (these show-quality bed strips are roll-formed out of mild cold rolled steel and use a completely hidden fastening system). We opted to do this route as we are unsure of the paint color we wanted at the time we assembled the bed. The bed strips are held in position with 1-1/4-inch T-bolt fasteners and come polished or extruded aluminum.

11 test fitting the wooden bed from the Carbon Series H2X limited edition Bedwood Kit
Here’s a view of all of the Carbon Series H2X Limited Edition BedWood® Kit planks positioned prior to any mounting holes drilled or bed strips bolted into position.

Carriage Bolts

We also found ourselves using 12 carriage bolts, six per side (driver and passenger) on the metal bed. The carriage bolts passed through the metal of the bed and then through the wooden planks that are hidden under the metal portion of the bed.

Read More: 1933 Ford Woodie Station Wagon That’s Truly Memorable

If you are unfamiliar with a “carriage bolt” it’s ideal for fastening wood to metal. They are meant to be tightened from the bottom side (where the washer/nut is located). The smooth head of the bolt is decorative in appearance and not meant to be held with any type of tool. The carriage bolt resists turning by having a square step under the head that presses into the wood (or the bed metal in our case) the first time you tighten it. Make sure to not allow the square hole to become rounded otherwise it will be impossible to tighten (or loosen) the nut. (The carriage bolt came into being in 1818 and was ideal for the carriage industry where wood was a primary building material.)

12 Fitment is great on these Bed Wood and Parts kit
Again, before attaching and tightening any hardware take a close look at all of the planks and make sure they fit as recommended. In our case, all is “as advertised.” Great fit.

Hidden Fuel Filler Door & Other Goodies

Should you find yourself mounting your gas tank under the wooden bed, Bed Wood and Parts offers a hidden fuel filler door that’s accessible by lifting one of the planks that’s operated via an electronic hinge.

Although you will see by our application that we chose to have a Tanks universal gas tank mounted in the bed with a Frank Wallic riveted cover to dress things up a bit, of course, we couldn’t stop there. We sought out interior trim specialist supreme Glenn Kramer of Hot Rod Interiors by Glenn to stitch us a custom material snap-on bed cover.

13 Brookville pickup bed truck drilling out holes for the wooden bed
This is the “header” (forward portion of the bed just behind the cab) of the Brookville pickup bed. Here we enlarged the holes that were already there for our T-bolt’s drop through.

A Word About Bed Wood and Parts

Further along in our conversation with Major he gave us some worthwhile information to ponder:

“As a manufacturer of natural resource-based products, it is imperative at Bed Wood and Parts to exemplify resource leadership, thinking strategically about the natural resources from the moment the tree is cut all the way to reforestation. It involves the ability to see the complex interdependence of the natural resources system; to engage key stakeholders upstream, downstream, and across sectors; and to promote innovation with economic and ecological benefits within the resource system. Resource leadership represents a shift from short-term thinking to stewarding resources for the long term.”

14 Bed Wood and Parts comes with T-Bolt fasteners
Look closely at these two Bed Wood and Parts–provided T-bolt fasteners. The one on the right we had to trim back the “flange” so that these T-bolt fasteners would fit flush against the “header” of the Brookville Roadster bed.

It’s this type of thinking that will keep our industry prospering for decades to come. MR

Sources
Bed Wood and Parts
(877) 206-9663
bedwood.com

Hot Rods by Dean
(800) 362-9709
hotrodsbydean.com

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