How to Install a Wooden Bed on a 1966 Chevrolet Truck

by Mark Morris
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socket wrench image by Jim Mills from

Older pickup trucks, such as a 1966 Chevrolet, often came with wooden, rather than metal, bed plates. This is to the advantage of collectors, as replacing the wooden bed parts is a much simpler process than repairing or replacing a metal bed. Bed kits are available, including pre-cut and machined wood bed boards and steel rails with bolts. The installation process is easier if an old bed is already installed, as this will help you to locate the bolt holes and give a template for any adjustments in length.

Step 1

Lay out the boards of your truck-bed kit on a pair of saw horses. Your kit should contain four wide boards, two medium-sized boards and two narrow boards. The two narrowest boards run along the outer edges, with two of the largest boards inside of them, the two medium boards inside of those and the remaining wide boards in the center.

Step 2

Check the fit of the seven steel bolt strips, one of which will be in every joint between the boards. Fit the boards into the bed of the truck, lining up the gaps between boards with the bolt holes in the bed frame. Slip the outer two boards under the lip of the outer trim strip on the bed sides of the truck.

Step 3

Check for any wooden pieces that need to be cut to length or width. Mark them to size.

Step 4

Push the bolts down through the holes in the bolt strips into the holes in the frame of the truck bed. Mark the bed frame with a center punch and hammer through any bolt-strip hole that does not line up. Remove the boards from the bed, make any needed cuts in the boards with a jigsaw and sand wood with 100-grit sandpaper.

Step 5

Drill 5/16-inch holes in any spots that you marked for a missing bolt hole. Use a new bit for a clean hole.

Step 6

Apply two coats of natural, boiled linseed oil. This will give the bed UV and water protection without the need to completely refinish to hide every scratch. Use a fine bristle brush and apply the oil with the grain in long straight strokes, allowing it to dry thoroughly before proceeding.

Step 7

Refit the boards into the bed. Thread the bolts through, thread nuts and washers onto each bolt and snug them down with a socket wrench.

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