Prior to 1941 in GM pickups, the bed wood of choice was oak. The change to yellow pine occurred at this time and it was used until the end of the wood bed floors in 1987. This southern yellow pine is a hard wood and should not be confused with softer white pine. It’s attractive pronounced grain stains and clear coats well. It’s planks, like oak, tends to warp when exposed to dampness, however, once secured in a pickup with bed strips it is there to stay!
For the perfectionist: originally, bed wood planks were not sanded smooth and varnished. Trucks were for work and the idea of bed wood with a furniture quality appearance was out of the question. Prior to 1955, bed wood planks were covered with black paint (excellent protection from water and sun). Beginning with the 1955 second series, they were given a protective weather seal and often sprayed body color over this.