OT:Longevity of plywood for stake bed rails on truck
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  1. #1
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    Default OT:Longevity of plywood for stake bed rails on truck

    I'm going to finish building some stake bed rails for my truck.I was thinking
    of using 5/8" treated plywood on the stake bed rails that are heavy duty and 4' high.
    I don't plan on abusing the plywood by dumping a bunch of scrap metal and junk in the bed;I just want to keep my tools secure and maybe haul some firewood or mulch.
    Does anyone have any experience on the longevity of treated plywood versus untreated and painted plywood when exposed to the elements?

    Thanks!

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    imo and experience using plywood in a situation like that is a waste of time and money except for very short term throw away setups. Buy some rough cut oak and be done with it....any solid board stock is better than plywood, treated or not. If you have a local sawmill or lumberyard that's the place to go for a cheap effective solution...

    And the garbage chinese and imported plywoods that are the typical stock these days are extraordinarily bad. In 30 yrs. I've never, ever, seen plywood move and deteriorate the way some of the stuff does that I've been buying the last couple years fwiw.

    Quality control on exterior grade plywoods is very difficult to determine anymore

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    I should of mentioned that this is for a steel flatbed,but my intent is determining which type of plywood would work the best and last the longest without coming apart and becoming an eyesore too.I didn't mention marine because I figured that the cost is probably prohibitive.

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    I have to agree with John. Exterior plywood is going to be a poor choice to use for the purpose. The lamination is going to come apart very soon after it gets wet.
    Take a piece of plywood and cut it into a strip the size you want to use. Now look carefully along the length of the strip and count the number of voids (open spaces between the lamination strips) that there are. these spaces are the result of the way the plywood is built. The laminations are laid in there and no attempt is made to butt them tightly together, much less apply any of the Resorcinol glue used in exterior plywood.
    When moisture gets in here, the stuff will come apart quickly. Cut your stakes from solid hardwood or cypress. They will be trouble free and look good too. Using plywood, you are simply wasting your money..........pg

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    Mr B,
    If you are talking about the normal Exterior Ply, then I agree with the above posters.

    However, if you are talking about REAL treated ply, that's GREEN, it's another story. Last trip to my daughter's, (in the Virgin Islands), there were still construction scraps from 15 years ago. Firmly intact, under the weeds.

    DJ

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    Quick note regarding oak. Try to get some white oak. It's much more rot resistant than red oak, nearly as good as teak.

    I don't think plywood would work very well.

    Tools

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    I used some of the earliest waferboard to cover the underside of a house I built in SC. I threw the scraps into a hole on the property, and covered them with dirt. Six years later, a tree fell and the roots lifted the scraps out of the ground. They were still usable after drying for a few days.

    But alas, the last waferboard I bought started coming apart after a couple weeks in the weather.

    I'd be worried about the PT plywood causing the bed to corrode, especially since you're going to penetrate the factory coatings with the fasteners.

    Unless you really need the deep troughs between the rails, I'd suggest going with a non-skid coating you can apply with a brush or a bedmat.

    For looks, nothing beats oak rails, though.

    Roger

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    I've had the green pressure-treated plywood outside exposed to the weather for 10 years and it's just fine. Can't say how it will hold up to any physical abuse. Also, it's the older CCA stuff and the new PT lumber is much worse. Note that you really should use SS fasteners or heavy galvanize with the new PT material. Anything else will rot quickly.

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    You want to use the best quality marine plywood you can afford go to your good local lumber supply house ( no box stores apply here) you may have to special order it. A good marine supply house near a marina may have it in stock so a bit of phone surfing may be the best option.

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    I see some landscapers' trucks here with plywood boxes mounted during fall cleanup season. The boxes have a leaf vacuum mounted and hold a lot of leaves. They all look pretty crappy up close by the end of the season, as they tend to delaminate fastest near the fasteners and at the edges.

    Marine-grade plywood, which has no voids and a more moisture-resistant adhesive, may end up costing as much as decent hardwood if you have to buy an entire sheet. And it's not really made to have the edges, or unprotected fasteners, exposed to the elements. You'd still have to paint it and bed the fasteners in some type of adhesive or caulk, and put some type of edging material on the exposed edges.

    I agree with the previous posters' suggestions to use solid boards. 2 X 6 planking would work fine. I've also seen firewood delivery guys use chain-link fencing. Perforated metal could also work if galvanized and painted.

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    I'm not sure where you guys are buying your plywood but I ran a pickup as an appliance repair truck for nearly 20 years. I built the side boxes, to carry spare parts and tools, side boards and back board from exterior grade A-B 3/4" plywood. My appliance trucks sat out in the weathere year round. I never had a problem with delamination during those years. Although I changed pickups a couple times I just moved the boxes etc. after repainting them, to the new pickup. If you take the time to prep the plywood and paint it it will last for ever. I cut holes in the backboard for the rear window and also for tie downs. All edges were rounded off with a router. I used a good grade paintable caulk to fill the voids then premiered the wood. Once the primer dried I painted the whole thing white.
    I would not use any thing thinner than 3/4" thick.

    Bill

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    If you have a white cap construction supply near you I would look at the phenolic baltic birch they carry. This is a plywood product designed for reuseable concrete forms. It is very strong and has no voids as well as being weater resistant. The surface has a phenolic layer bonded on so it is also very scuff resistant. http://www.whitecapdirect.com/store/plywood.jsp . I beleive that it is about $50 a sheet but that may have changed

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    If you are talking about building some sidewalls for a stake bed truck in order to build a solid walled box then some sort of presure treated ply wood would work but it will need some perimeter and center framing to keep it from twisting.

    If you are talking about a set of rail sides then I can't understnad why you would want to use plywood. Just use some 1x6 pressure treated decking. I built stake body sides for my utility trailer out of 1x6 PT sides and 2x4 PT stakes years ago, stained it gray and have been using it ever since with no problems.

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    You don't have to have the baltic birch ply as Frederick said (although nice). Use MDO. form ply. It's resin paper on a cedar ply interior, and it won't warp all over the place like P.T. plywood. I've had a piece laying on the dirt for over 20 years. I paid 28.00 a sheet last time I bought (four years ago).
    Michael

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    I think that the green treated plywood might be my best bet,but I will do some looking and pricing before I make a final decision.3/4" may be ok if it isn't too heavy.The chain link would be fine if I wasn't concerned with the weather and small parts bouncing out of the bed.I might want to remove the plywood to haul some items.I would like to be able to put a tarp over the top to keep the rain out and I might want to sleep on the flatbed too. I will make it a point to fill the edges of the plywood before painting it.
    My rail frame is being made of 3" channel 4' high to fit in the bed holes and three 11'2" horizontal flats 3"x1/4" welded to the channel.Square tubing braces from one rail to the other on top at the rear and at the headache rack of the side rails.I will have to check my clearances for using my gooseneck trailer before I build the tailgate which needs to be strong enough to serve as a bridge for a pallet jack when picking up stuff at loading docks.
    Thanks for the suggestions!

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    Where does 16 or 18ga sheetmetal come in on the cost-curve? I'd think current metal prices are more competitive although I suppose the same could be said for wood prices too.

    Other than having to paint and keep painted, it would seem to fit your function with possibly some additional square tube supports.
    Last edited by matt_isserstedt; 12-14-2008 at 01:18 PM.

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    I think from what you are wanting but not actually saying you are needing is a boxtruck. Right now you can buy a nice box truck super cheap, and if you are lucky it will have a lift gate on it. Several years ago I bought a 1991 GMC Topkick with a 16ft box on it and a 3000lb Waltco liftgate. It needed some clutch work but otherwise I paid less for it than some people on ebay were wanting for a liftgate alone. Actually my original intention was to just buy the truck and fix the clutch and afew other minor issues and resell it but it has been such a handy thing to have around that I just can't seem to part with it. Now with the resale of anything like a boxtruck being very hard to get good money out of in all likelihood I will find a nice used dump truck bed and put on it. Of course it also makes a nice mobile shed the way it is.
    There is a guy fairly close to me that has had one of these little Fuso or whatever trucks for sale for along time. He has been asking 1500.00 for it and it has about a 14ft body on it. I have thought about buying it just to take the diesel engine out of it though.

    tim

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    I have a set of 5/8 plywood box sideboards for my 72 Chevy 3/4 ton flatbed. These sides were made by the previous owner several years ago and are still in great shape. These are pressure treat and painted for additional waterproofing. They are lightly framed and latch together with hook and ring hardware. I certainly wouldn't try to haul five yards of gravel in it, but it's fantastic for hauling furniture, hay, insulation, or anything light you just need to contain and protect.

    A flat bed with a selection of low rails, full rails and a box is about as useful a vehicle as you will ever find. Throw the sideboards off and haul machinery with forklift access all around and good tiedown points. Put on the low rails and haul a stack of plywood or lumber. Ply sideboards as mentioned above. I have threatened to make a knock down box for it, as well. The best feature of the flatbed over a box truck is the ability to remove any board or rail and access your load from any of three sides.

    I also have a small Step Van, but I have not driven it since I got the flatbed. It's nice to have an enclosed truck, but the limitations on loading and unloading make it less useful than the flatbed.

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    Synthetic "wood" decking, SS button head screws into SS T-nuts, embeded on the inside of the decking?

    Solid for 12" then spaced going up? The stuff is so stable that "pinning", (spline and groove, biscuit, dowel etc.), would not be necessary. Never seen it in T & G, decking is spaced.

    Looks great and puts up with heavy weather and traffic.

    Not real cheap but probably less than Marine grade fancy sheet goods with additional edge and surface treatments and re-treatments....

    Years ago, I came across a guy with a large stack of retrieved Asian crating boards, maybe 1" by 8" or so and 12' long. It looked, smelled and acted like teak, (tough on pre-TC tipped saw blades). Small, nearly invisable nail holes and the clincher for me, cheap. Still got a few boards.

    I used it for flat bed side boards. It looked so good that I wished I'd had it surfaced before building the side boards, lasted forever.

    Bob


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