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Wooden Flat Bed?


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#1 OFFLINE   atchafalaya_man

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 06:05 PM

With today's treated woods, has anyone ever considered building a steel grid over a truck's frame, obviously bolted down in all the right places, and building a flatbed out of wood?

Rot would not be an issue, and you could build your own wooden waterproof boxes to go here and there under the wings of your camper.

Any ideas on this? It would seem you could make something pretty light when compared to making one out of steel.


#2 OFFLINE   Kilotango

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 07:19 PM

We used to build the whole flat bed out of wood...

The stringers along the frame and the cross pieces were made of hardwood, two long pieces along the frame and then the cross pieces bolted to those pieces, the whole frame work was then U bolted to the truck frame.

We then used spruce 2x6 for the floor, the head board was held on with two or more large right angle brackets, old grader blades from the DOT worked good.

The two outside decking pieces were notched for stake pockets and had a steel rub rail attached all along the side with various tie down devices, rings in the head board etc...

They made for a really nice flatbed....in some uses they were better than metal...

You could make up one in a weekend if you had the material assembled.

For a truck camper they would be really good for pop up, with a hardside you start to get some height issues with most ordinary flatbed designs...

Our tin boxes are really not very good, no storage, use them for a bit of work and they are all dented and bent up..

Some of the flatbeds are really sharp looking and very versatile.

http://www.forestryf...185/redbed3.jpg

Here is one, they put quite a bit of metal along with the wood.

Edited by Kilotango, 12 August 2010 - 07:30 PM.


#3 OFFLINE   btggraphix

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 03:26 PM

jimandsue60 made a really nice one that way - they used a metal perimeter and frame but a wood deck. Lowered their height and it looked great. Don't think I have any pictures around anymore though.
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#4 OFFLINE   atchafalaya_man

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 05:30 PM

jimandsue60 made a really nice one that way - they used a metal perimeter and frame but a wood deck. Lowered their height and it looked great. Don't think I have any pictures around anymore though.


Brian: I was just thinking out loud here. That was sort of what I was thinking about in terms of 'low' and 'light'. Waterproof boxes can easily be made from plywood with proper joints and caulking. Camper movement would be eliminated because you could chock it in place from all directions. Actually, the 'flat' part of the bed could be only slightly bigger than the 4' bottom of the camper.

The boxes would incorporate the 'fender wells' and could be bolted to the sides of the flatbed like hanging cabinets on the wall. Heck, they could essentially be interchangeable, side to side.

Just some thoughts...Thanks

Dougie


#5 OFFLINE   ralphl

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 06:34 PM

No reason why you shouldn't as far as I know. We built a flat bed from wood on an old 76 Ford F250 4x4 after the original bed rusted out. The only difficulty I had was extending the gas fill port, not a big problem at all. It was set up to use as a flat, flat bed or side rails could be attached when needed. Really a lot handier than a regular bed. I wish you hadn't reminded me. Geez, I loved that truck and wish I still had it today.
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#6 OFFLINE   clydegator

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 04:31 AM

I've been considering converting my 94 dodge dually to a wood flat bed. Seems to me that a wood bed would be a lot more weight. Any idea what the weight difference would be thanks martty

#7 OFFLINE   d3500ram

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 08:46 AM

...Seems to me that a wood bed would be a lot more weight...

I agree that it will weigh more than you think. I assume it would be assembled using PT lumber? That stuff weigh a lot more than the regular stuff.

It could end up weighing more than an aluminum bed and perhaps close to steel one.
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#8 OFFLINE   atchafalaya_man

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 05:18 PM

I agree that it will weigh more than you think. I assume it would be assembled using PT lumber? That stuff weigh a lot more than the regular stuff.

It could end up weighing more than an aluminum bed and perhaps close to steel one.



I would think a wooden flatbed would weigh between 1/3 and 1/2 of what a steel flatbed would weigh, even considering the wood needs to be 4 times the thickness versus the same part made from steel. It's not a weight issue at all though. It's the ability to construct your own custom bed to carry you camper and your 'stuff' in boxes, the size and shape that you decide on during construction.

Steel weighs 490 pounds per cubic foot. Wood weighs on average 35 to 45 pounds per cubic foot. A one-square-foot piece of 1/4 inch steel plate, weighs 10.2 pounds. A one-square-foot piece of 1.5" wood (such as 2 x 12's) weighs 5.6 pounds or about 1/2 that of steel. Make your deck out of 3/4" plywood and that 5.6 pounds becomes closer to 3.


#9 OFFLINE   clydegator

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 04:48 AM

So any idea what the weight difference would be compared to the stock metal bed vs a wood flat bed? I don't want add to much more weight to the truck. Would it be a 100 pounds difference or 300? A little more weight I can live with. I just do not want to add to much weight to the truck. thanks marty

#10 OFFLINE   atchafalaya_man

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 07:57 AM

So any idea what the weight difference would be compared to the stock metal bed vs a wood flat bed? I don't want add to much more weight to the truck. Would it be a 100 pounds difference or 300? A little more weight I can live with. I just do not want to add to much weight to the truck. thanks marty



Marty, in the end, I'd say it's a wash, no matter what you choose to use.

We first REMOVE xxx hundred pounds of weight from our truck in the form of
( a ) a factory-made-truck-bed and its fenders,
( B ) factory-made-bumpers and brackets,
( c ) bed-liners,
( d ) the extra rubber mats and 2x4's or plywood floors we add to them for elevation, slippage, etc...

and replace it with one of wood, metal, stone, fiberglass, moon-rock or whatever your fancy may be. Each will all be minus a, b, c, d, e, etc. I'd like to build one out of TITANIUM, but who can do that?

I can just see myself saying..."Oh, now I can bring the floor jack and the chain hoist and the extra generator because I have new boxes..." without a second thought of how much they weigh, negating the weight saving effects of a lighter platform. Perhaps we should strike 'light' from the original post or responses.

What I really was getting at was that a wooden truck bed could be constructed by many of us using a $29.00 circular saw, a $19.00 electric drill, some wrenches and a bag of bolts found on most anybody's garage workbench. The metal framework could even be bolted together for that matter... without welding required.


#11 OFFLINE   btggraphix

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 03:02 PM

Hi Doug - I'll search the other forum - but he titled his post something like "I lost 2" and 500 pounds!" because that's what he lost when he swicted from a steel flatbed to a wooden deck. Cost him $1300 dollars. It was beautiful, but his picture account changed and they can no longer be seen. I bet I can get him to scrounge them up for me if you really want to see them. but the thread is here
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#12 OFFLINE   farmer

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 03:12 PM

Watching this forum subject, there was one idea I really like, side boxes that were on hangers that you can remove easily.
Then depending on your next outting and possibly the season, you could mix and match box sizes.
Example a box for generator if needed, longer boxes for fishing rods, cooler box for carrying lots of beer, fire wood box, extra water box, extra fuel, out board motor box, etc.
The draw back of flat decks is that you really have to watch your weights, so only carry what you need for this trip.

#13 OFFLINE   btggraphix

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 11:39 AM

Watching this forum subject, there was one idea I really like, side boxes that were on hangers that you can remove easily.
Then depending on your next outting and possibly the season, you could mix and match box sizes.
Example a box for generator if needed, longer boxes for fishing rods, cooler box for carrying lots of beer, fire wood box, extra water box, extra fuel, out board motor box, etc.
The draw back of flat decks is that you really have to watch your weights, so only carry what you need for this trip.


My boxes are reasonably removable. By 'reasonably' I mean that the top ones come off with 6 bolts, and they aren't too hard to get at. The underneath ones are a bit harder. I liked the idea when I bought it. However, in practice, I have never had the urge to remove them, yet. The top ones are connected together, so they are long and I can fit my longest skis (210CM) in.

I agree that if you were building your own flatbed, on a less-than-large truck, it would make sense to have them pretty easy to remove so you could leave portions at home if desired, to save weight. But realisticly, how many people go anywhere without most of their storage space used up? We CHANGE what we take depending on extra-camping plans, such as riding gear and if dirt-biking, skiing gear if skiing, the bigger cooking gear if big cook-out planned etc.....but we pretty much always use all the space in the boxes almost every time.
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#14 OFFLINE   farmer

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 07:58 AM

Your right, and what ever you take out you have to find another place to store that unused gear.

#15 OFFLINE   btggraphix

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 09:16 AM

Your right, and what ever you take out you have to find another place to store that unused gear.


Isn't THAT the truth. I've been working otwards having all of my good stuff, including tools, chainsaw etc. in the boxes. I have the camper off and it is in the shop getting a new Kelderman Air-Ride Suspension :fing32: and emptied the boxes to be safe. I can hardly walk into my garage right now - the floor is littered with crap!
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#16 OFFLINE   farmer

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 03:18 PM

Oh yeah, if you are up this way, I'll show you my messy garage, I could either spend next winter building storage, or camping.( tough choice )

#17 OFFLINE   d3500ram

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 10:25 AM

*bump*

Anyone pursue a wood flat bed any further?

I am rethinking my earlier post about weight being an issue and am thinking of perhaps tackling a wood flatbed. But in lieu of PT dimensional lumber I was thinking of using engineered T&G decking instead of milled deck. It would obviously be stronger than conventional. Cross sections can be seen HERE. I have seen a double T&G for a construction projct we did a a few months ago. I do not know if it was a special order because of the specification that our ngineers required, but it had 2 tongues and grooves on each end. I have a sample at work and will get a photo of it. It was in the 2-7/8" dimension.

I have the basic ideas of how to construct this in sketch form, but a lot of what I want to do will have to be inspect/ design/ build as it would be constructed "on- the- fly." I want to do this for a couple of reasons:

One is to scoot the camper forward for better weight transfer to the front axle. Another is to reduce the rear camper overhang; this can inhibit the type off off roading I like to do. This is how it sits right now:

Posted Image


I use the space between the cab and camper for the Honda eu3000 as shown below:

Posted Image

My flatbed design would have to incorporate the new location for the generator... and I would be able to customize storage boxes (made from diamond plate) to carry stuff. The height of the gen is too tall to fully sit on the same floor plan as the camper bottom and would have to be hung off the side with support that is lower than that which the camper sits. I see this being independent of the wood bed.

Also, I could not tie the camper to the wood so my existing Tork Lift ties downs would still be used.

I am excited to start this project and due to unemployment I have some time to do it... just wish the weather would cooperate.
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#18 OFFLINE   hodag

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 11:50 AM

Here in Pennsylvania a wood flat bed would have to be "certified" by an upfitter to go on the road legally.

#19 OFFLINE   the tc life

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 07:52 PM

as i have just put my camper on a flatbed i must say i love some of the advantages to doing that. yes there are some draw backs but overall...im happy i did. a couple of the first things about your camper to keep in mind....make sure the rear side "wings" dont sit lower than the floor bottom. or else you will have problems with that. also, keep in mind where your drains come out of the camper. as im sure you have thought it out....just make sure the design is strong. as stated before....make sure there are no laws or regulations to make it illegal in your area. heck....ive seen some do it yourselves around that make me wonder. i have not heard of any regulations about them besides size (width, length) but it doesnt mean its not there.
good luck on your venture.

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#20 OFFLINE   d3500ram

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 08:04 PM

....make sure the rear side "wings" dont sit lower than the floor bottom. or else you will have problems with that.
This is the first thing I looked at. There is not an issue on this as it is all the same floor plate level.

also, keep in mind where your drains come out of the camper. as im sure you have thought it out....

This is one item that needs closer inspection when I "dry" fit the camper while still on it's jacks and backing under it when I remove the bed. The camper has the cassette toilet so it's drain is not an issue, but the gray water is under the camper and it looks like it would come down right at the trucks bumper (which i want to leave on.)

When I get to this step, it will "tell" me what to do to get it to work properly. I envision many options to resolve it should there be an issue.


just make sure the design is strong.
I think the engineered T&G (as opposed to the milled T&G) is the better option. The main potion of the camper (approx 4'x8') will be sufficiently supported over new steel stringers on the chassis where the stock bed mounts. I also envision C-channel that will be routed to fit on the whole wood perimeter to add strength and looks.
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