Classic Chevy Truck Bed Wood Dimensions

Jake Mayock

Meet Jake

Jake is a founder of 8020 Media and has been creating automotive content online since 2017. He has been the lead writer for Chevy Trucks and has transformed it from the old and outdated site it was into what it is today. Jake creates a ton of GM related content for the 8020 Media YouTube channel and specializes in Duramax and Vortec information but has a wealth of knowledge across all GM cars and engines. Jake believes the L5P is the best diesel on the market today.

1947-1951 (9 boards)

I measured the bed wood for my 1950 Chevy. Remember that 1947 to 1951 Chevy pickups have the 9 board set up.
NOTE: Early 1951 models had 9 boards and late 1951 models had 8 boards. The changeover from 9 to 8 boards took place sometime during 1951.
The following measurements are for a 9 board bed:

Material:  Yellow pine
Thickness: 3/4″
Length: 6 feet, 4-7/8″ +/-
Widths:  2 x 4-1/4″ (the two side pieces, inboard edge is routed)
2 x 5″
4 x 5-1/2″
1 x 6-3/8″

The edges are milled with two 1/4″ slots (correct term?) down each edge, the outer slot 1/16″ in depth, the inner slot 1/8″ in depth (see picture below, but note that dimensions are different).

Order goes from right to left (drivers to pass) 4-1/4″, 5″, 5-1/2″, 5-1/2″, 6-3/8″, 5-1/2″, 5-1/2″, 5″, 4-1/4″ (i.e. axisymmetric about the center with the widest board in the center).
Here’s what someone had for the “slotting” on the sides of the bed wood:
1/8″ deep       _______________
___v__        | 1/4″ deep
|  1/2″  |____|
|            1/4″

However, mine looks like this:
1/16″ deep       _______________
___v__        |  1/8″ deep
|  1/4″  |____|
|            1/4″

I measured original bed wood (I had two salvaged boards) and it’s more like the ones I have now (the later of the two diagrams). The wear iron sticks up a little high for my tastes. However, a local fellow who restores these types of trucks (lots of gray hair) says the wear iron should stick above the wood so when you are scooping grain or gravel (yeah right, like I’m going to be scooping gravel in the back of my newly restored, pristine bed), that the shovel scraped along the wear iron and not the wood (just the thought of that sound makes me shudder). This is confirmed with the “Bed Restoration Manual for Early Chevrolet and GMC Pickup Trucks.” Remember that these trucks were originally designed for work and not play. If your bed is for looks only and you’re cutting your own wood, I’d suggest increasing the deepest cut to 3/16″ or maybe 1/4″ as previously suggested.

I finished the wood by rubbing on an oil based paint (black to go with the bed strips painted black w/ clear coat), and wiping it off within 1 minute. For final finish, if possible, a clear coat would be cool, but with budget in mind, I used a UV resistant outdoor, spar varnish, lightly sanded between coats. It sure looks good. The wood grain is dark yet very visible.

Hope your wood works out. Remember, I ordered my wood precut. However, I think it’s pretty darn close to original because you can measure from outside edge of the bolt hole, to outside edge of the next bolt hole on the cross sills to confirm board width. They match up very close.

1955-1959 (8 boards)

I looked at the wood/sills from an 8 board 55-59 short stepside bed. The width of the planks is:
4-1/4″, 7-1/4″, 5″, 7-1/4″, 7-1/4″, 5″, 7-1/4″, 4-1/4″
The notch shape and dimensions are approximately:

1/8″ deep      _________________________________
________     |
|  1/2″  |____| 1/4″ deep
|         1/4″

1959 Fleetside

Don’t know if this will help but here goes. I just spent the last
six months looking for the correct measurements for a 59 fleetside pick-up, it
appears no one has them or those that do don’t want to share. After getting a
person known only to me as wonder truck at to measure his bed wood
I have deducted that these are the measurements. Wonder truck measured from
center bolt to center bolt. They are as follows 4 1/2, 5 1/2, 5 1/2, 7 1/2, 5
1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 5 1/2, 7 1/2, 5 1/2, 5 1/2, 4 1/2 which totals the bed width
72 in. I deducted 3/8 in between each bed wood plank and came up with these
measurements. 4 5/16 before and behind the wheel tub, 5 1/8 before and behind
the wheel tub, 5 1/8, 7 1/8, 5 1/8, 7 1/8, 7 1/8, 5 1/8, 7 1/8, 5 1/8, 5 1/8
before and behind the wheel tub, 4 5/15 before and behind wheel tub. I am told
that this is considered a 16 board setup. I have had several people that
advertised bed wood for sale everything from 10, 12, 14 board kits that will fit
but since I want the bed wood correct I kept searching for the correct
measurements. I believe that these are the correct measurements. If you can use
this information please feel free to share it.

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    I am trying to use 6 pieces of wood instead of 9 for my 49 chevy truck. What would be the width of each pieces? dont forget the space for the bolts to go between. Thanks in advance.

  2. This is very helpful. I have a 1955 Chev. 1st Series, shortbox.
    I am guessing that buying and having my wood routed would be cheaper that buying the boards. I would use dimensions for 8 boards then, right? I plan on buying polished strips, and then buying the hardware at our local hardware store. Sound good?

  3. I have a 1959 chevy apache shortened that uses 8 boards can you tell me the hole placement in them

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