Brothers Trucks 1947-1972 Bed Wood Prep and Finish


Brothers Trucks 1947-1972 Bed Wood Prep and Finish


It’s a good idea to pre-fit a wood kit before varnishing. This ensures that each piece will fit, and any adjustments or modifications can be made without damaging the finish. You also get a preview of the assembly process before all of the parts are in the final finish.

Assemble all of the materials needed to perform the task before beginning. As always, SAFETY FIRST!. Use eye, lung, and hand protection.

It’s a good idea to prepare a work surface at a comfortable height for sanding and filing the parts to be finished.

In order to minimize any contamination from dust fall-out, prepare a thoroughly clean and separate area for varnish application. Make sure to include all overhead items in your cleaning list.

These level sawhorses are for drying the varnish. The reason they must be level is to guarantee and even coat on the bed wood. Varnish in its liquid form has the characteristics of water and will run downhill and puddle.

Machining the wood produces very sharp edges, which need to be rounded over for the finish to adhere.

A file is used to bevel the edges about 1/16-inch. Then the edges are rounded off to create a radius on the ends and side of each board.

A sanding block wrapped with 120-grit sandpaper smooths the filed edges. It’s best to use a worn sanding pad to round over the edges of any holes or edges. Round edges allow the finish to properly adhere to the wood.

Here we’re using an ultra-fine Scotchbrite pad to give the boards a final smoothing before the varnish is applied. DO NOT USE STEEL WOOL! The tannic acid in the wood will re-act with the steel and cause black spots which can be removed with Oxalic acid if needed.

Vacuum any loose particles from the surface, top and bottom as well as the worktable.

Here we use a fluffed-up tack cloth to lightly carry away any remaining dust. Go easy because the waxes from commercial tack cloths can transfer to the wood’s surface, possibly causing problems with finish adhesion.

Use a quality fast-drying solvent to remove any surface contamination.

Dry spots and imperfections will be noticeable by catching the reflection of light in the finish. Give the finish coat a thorough inspection to be sure you didn’t miss any of the surfaces.

The bed wood is set up on the drying sawhorses for about four hours. A low-speed fan should be used to blow away the evaporating solvents. Failure to do so extends the drying time considerably.

When the finish has dried enough, it will powder and not roll up on the sandpaper. Wipe off the finish and sandpaper often to avoid loading the sandpaper. Press lightly when sanding the finish, you just want to take off the dust and high spots. You do not want to cut into the finish, especially along the edges.

After lightly sanding with 280-grit paper, you can buff the gloss off the surfaces. This will make the finish smoother and create a good tooth for the next coat to attach to.

For the last finish coat (usually the fifth) use a fresh can of varnish and freshly cleaned brush of your choice.

A good finishing job enhances your truck and will give you good service. Treat the wood like a piece of fine furniture by removing dust with a soft cloth. After the finish has been cured for about 30 days, apply a good coat of carnauba paste floor wax to seal and preserve your beautifully finished bed wood.


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