Wooden Tailgate for our '56 Ford F-150

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Forum topic by Hawgnutz posted 09-06-2007 05:04 AM 8149 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4755 days

09-06-2007 05:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: exterior finish tailgate

We are restoring our old ‘56 F-150 and my mechanic was lamenting the rusted out edges of the tailgate. I noticed that it was just the size for some 4/4 wood.

The $64,000 question is…. What type of wood would be the best? The truck belongs to my wife, who would like a lighter wood, like our maple table top. I figure to use a weather-resistant wood, such as cypress, which would fulfill that requirement. White oak would be another choice. I am p[lanning to route out the Ford name, or our pet name for the truck, “Stumpy.” (It’s geared to pull stumps, not go fast….LOL)

Also, what type of finish is best? We plan to painting the routed letters with the same color as the rest of the truck, and I am thinking I should use an epoxy finish? But where do I find that and what brand is best… and any tips for application?

Any advice is apreciated. I am new to using epoxy finish. We hope to enter it in a car show on 10-15.

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

14 replies so far

View Karson's profile


35216 posts in 5079 days

#1 posted 09-06-2007 05:08 AM

I don’t know what the old woodie’s used for wood. But that would be atypical of the normal wood.

But I’d also possably go with Oak. if Cypress was not available.

Some exterior finish.. I can’t give a brand name.

But possably some Automotive paint covered with a clear coat.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Buckskin's profile


486 posts in 4666 days

#2 posted 09-06-2007 05:15 AM

Some red cedar would look cool to me or even pine. I would go to a boat dealer or one of the wooden boat building sites to find a clear epoxy finish. It will be pricey though.

View Buckskin's profile


486 posts in 4666 days

#3 posted 09-06-2007 05:24 AM

Here is a boat site to get you started…

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4755 days

#4 posted 09-06-2007 05:45 AM

Thanks, buckskin. It gave me a source. A kit costs around 40.00.

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View Buckskin's profile


486 posts in 4666 days

#5 posted 09-06-2007 05:48 AM

Yep, and there are other places but now you know what to look for. With that stuff you could just about use any wood you wanted too.

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4764 days

#6 posted 09-06-2007 08:17 AM

You’ll still need to cover any epoxy with a UV protective varnish.

-- Bob

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4641 days

#7 posted 09-06-2007 03:48 PM

Hey, Marc, if you fiberglassed it like a boat it wouldn’t matter what wood you used and it should last for ever. I don’t know anything about boats, either.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View mot's profile


4927 posts in 4715 days

#8 posted 09-06-2007 04:25 PM

I spent summers repairing fiberglass yachts. The wood that is used in them is typically teak treated with only oil. If you are going to glass it, don’t use an oily wood or it will delaminate and disappoint you. Cypress is another great wood, as Karson mentioned for a product that will see the weather. I’d be inclined to use oak, and laminate it with glass and an epoxy resin. It will take a delicate touch to make sure it comes out with a flat finish, then get some power polish (similar to rubbing compound) and make it glow!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4803 days

#9 posted 09-06-2007 06:27 PM

I’m with mot, teak and oil sounds like it’d be beautiful and hold up well.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4755 days

#10 posted 09-07-2007 06:53 AM

Thganks, all. I found some epoxy finish at Woodcraft that you pour out and it is self-levelling. I found another that is just a sealer, about 3 mils per coat, and you cover either with spar varnish to protect against UV.

Sorry, Mot, but I just cannot afford the cost of teak. It would be a very nice choice, but my wife desires a lighter color, like pine or maple, and it IS her truck. (I have an early ‘57—I was born early in ‘57, myself!)

I think I will just make a prototype out of extra white pine and coat it with spar varnish. Not long lasting, but inexpensive lesson for me, and I will maybe get tghe mistakes ironed out before I use the real good stuff. I am leaning on using white oak, but will also check out the cypress.

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View abusyman's profile


2 posts in 3350 days

#11 posted 02-01-2011 06:31 AM

I too have a ‘56 ford, and have been planning on making a wooden tailgate because the original is rusted and bent. I was wondering what you ended up doing.

I plan to use white oak (I have a bunch left from when I did the bed), but I was curious how you actually made yours.

I know my way around the shop, but I’m no expert, so I was hoping to find someone who’s already done it to get some ideas.

Would love it if you could share!

View newwoodbutcher's profile


801 posts in 3528 days

#12 posted 02-01-2011 07:57 AM

For the most durabl;e finnish use two part epoxy with a spar varnish top coat. The epoxy protects from everytjing but the UV and the spar varnish does the rest

-- Ken

View abusyman's profile


2 posts in 3350 days

#13 posted 02-01-2011 08:27 AM

I’m not so much worried about the finish as the particulars of the tailgate construction, myself.

I figure on using the same type of finish as for the wooden bed, I used a marine coating I’m pretty happy with.

I was wondering how the edges of the tailgate, for instance, are done, as well as the hinges.

View jmichaeldesign's profile


66 posts in 3461 days

#14 posted 02-02-2011 04:50 AM

I wouldn’t use the “self leveling” pour on epoxy. It doesn’t level very well and it always seems to cure a bit rubbery. Marine quality spar varnish should do the job fairly well. I’m guessing that this truck is going to spend more time in a garage than it will sitting in the driveway or on the road so I wouldn’t worry too much about UV. You might end up refinishing it every 5 years, but I’d pick a finish based on what would looks best vs. extreme durability.

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