Photo 1 sows the condition of the yellow pine boards and the groove that the supplier machined it them. Pretty bad shape! Photo 2 shows my groove in a test strip of Ipe wood.
Photo 3 shows the sawdust residue from this strange wood. Note the bright yellow color! That is the color of the dust coming off the wood when it is sawed. That resin is also what makes this stuff bullet proof.
Late 1951 to 1955 1st Series - 8 Boards
4 1/4" 7 1/4" 5" 7 1/4" 7 1/4" 5" 7 1/4" 4 1/4"
First step was to run an edge of each board through the joiner to straighten it (photo 1). Then I ripped them to length on the table saw (photo 2). Finally I squared one end and cut the boards to length on the chop saw (photo 3).
I had a problem deciding what kind of wood to use for the bed. In my 1990 restoration I used yellow southern pine. Tried to keep it varnished but it quickly split, cracked, warped and turned ugly gray. You can see some shots of it in later posts here. Oak is another popular option but it seems to go bad very quickly too, regardless of the car it is given. I finally decided to try Ipe, a Brazilian hardwood used for outdoor decking.
15 years ago this stuff was a nuisance plant that the Brazilians knocked down and buried. These are probably the photos you see of them 'destroying' the rain forest - this stuff grows so fast and so huge it takes over the forest and must be eradicated. It is what the Atlantic City Board Walk is made of. it has in recent years become very popular for patio construction. It is so dense it sinks in water, has the same fire rating as concrete, contains a yellow resin that kills insects and is super stable once cured. It is so heavy, I should have great traction in my old truck! Cost is similar to oak.
Photo 1 is a picture of one of the boards. This board is 13" wide which is common. You can see the yellow stuff in the grain.
This should avoid the degradation that pine or oak experience. Claims are that this stuff will last at least 100 years on an outdoor deck! If left untreated, it will weather to silver gray but not split/splinter and decay like common woods. I am going to try to keep the red/brown color by finishing it with a UV protection oil coating like http://www.penofin.com/products_exotichardwood.shtml Ads say a coat every 6 months or so will maintain fresh color. I'll believe it when I see it!
To prepare for machining the wood to size I first measured the planks of my existing pine and marked them (Photo 2). I also double checked the measurements by measuring between the bolt holes in the bed X-member (photo 3).
These photos show the underside of the front of the bed after shortening. The front bolts to the front bed X-member with a series of 1/4" bolts (1) but after shortening, there is a 1 1/4" gap between the two (2). Photo 3 shows a 1 1/4" thin-walled square tube cut to the length of the x-member and clamped to the flange for marking the bolt holes. They were drilled through with a 5/16" bit on the drill press. this bar will be powder coated chassis black with the bed x-members.