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Type of wood for vehicle flooring


Meekumslr
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Hi guys,

would anyone know what type of wood is standard for WW2 vehicle and trailer flooring and sides?

I know any wood is ok but is there a generic hard wearing choice?

Many thanks, Neil.

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I have an EMER or some such somewhere that covers the various types of woods used for different applications. Just got to think of the document title & then find it!

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Keruing Hardwood Sapwood is a commercially available greyish-brown, heartwood timber that varies from light red to reddish brown or brown, darkening on exposure. Grain is usually straight but may be interlocked. Keruing is available in sawn sizes or machined to standard half lap profiles for truck flooring.

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We had to fit a new bed and replace cross members on our 1950 civilian Commer, luckily there is a timber yard about 15 miles away that has a large barn where all its offcuts are kept. The offcuts are all fairly big sizes and there are literally thousands of them of many different types of hardwood. 

I managed to by enough offcut Ash to replace the whole bed of the lorry, mostly planks 150mm x 25mm by about 8ft. They do differ in size by up to 20mm in width and can also be shorter, some are 6ft. Anyway the planks were all individually priced and I paid no more that £20 for any single plank.

So, it does cost a bit but its well worth it. I plan on doing the same in the next few months to rebuild the body of our 1942 Commer Q2.

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Thank you all so much for your replies and insight in your own endeavours.

I was also thinking about lorry and commercial breakers yards who stock articulated trailers and what they might want for a bed. I could then skim it through a surface planer.

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Keruing is a good hard wearing timber , a bit interlocked grain , presently the timber for lorry/trailer strip floors.   Imported timber tends to be imported to certain ports, late 1970's I was at a massive import yard for Teak at Silvertown  - this would be typical for Keruing.

                      However , during WW2  I doubt it ,  sourced in the main SE Asia (I think introduced to Africa and S. America)  , that class of timber WW2 - then Iroko (African sort of Teak).   There would be no merchant ships with deck-cargo of Keruing in seas controlled by the Japs.

                        More probably a just as serviceable timber , lifespan of WW2 vehicles not that great don't forget.  I would suggest  Douglas-fir (Oregan Pine)  from North America - shipped to the Clyde & Liverpool.

Singer Sewing Machine Plant at Clydebank was bombed by Luftwaffe & massive timber stocks lost in fire,  IIRC much was valuble hardwood for rifle stocks held in stick.

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Am I correct in thinking that some WW2 vehicles did not have the wood flooring painted? I have been told that the flatbed of say an RAF AEC Matador was 'treated' with preservative but not painted, as it came in or a lot of abuse anyway. So could it be that the sides of vehicles were or could be preserved using different a type of wood?

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Posted (edited)

Well I’m definitely not painting the wood of the floor. It will be destroyed in minutes and look terrible. To me, it would be like painting your living room floorboards.

Edited by Meekumslr
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4 hours ago, Meekumslr said:

Well I’m definitely not painting the wood of the floor. It will be destroyed in minutes and look terrible. To me, it would be like painting your living room floorboards.

That’s what people did before fitted carpets.

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17 hours ago, radiomike7 said:

Keruing is not great for painting as it releases resin, it also has a reputation for causing infections should you get a splinter.

Yes , it bleeds , it is also a bad respiratory dust, it also contains stones & you don't know where they are,  Four-enders converting rough-sawn to say a external door frame sill (one of the common uses) , the cutters are guarded & internals with poured lead approx. 3 to 4" thick !  

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Wow,

This is becoming a hot topic and I’m glad it’s not just me confused.

Several types of Asian, African or Australian hardwood, Douglas Fir or Oak.

It looks like I’m going to use an existing hardwood from a later (breakers yard) flatbed or trailer.

Oak would just be too costly at 20/25mm thick for the whole floor.

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I don't know for certain - but would expect all those  Opel Blitz lorries were just bodied with European Redwood  (unsorted) from  Germany, Sweden,  or Baltic forests.  I doubt if they had access to anything better and it would do the job , renewal - no problem or great cost.

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Fv1609,

Clive you may wish to re post your EMER link here, as all those busy members wont have to read the 2009 post on the go. Thanks for your collection of manuals and orders and the support you give. I hope you have made plans for it when you 'pop your clogs'. The thought of some house clearance person burning it ....!

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We are off to our local timber yard in the next couple of weeks to have a look through their offcuts barns, I am going for Ash for the bed of our truck but with so many other hardwoods that they have we may look at some others if they are a little cheaper.

Lets face it, our trucks won't be doing hard graft or carrying heavy loads anymore so any hardwood would probably do depending upon its availability.

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Larry I have put a small part of EMER GENERAL N 800 in the reference section to make it easier to find & is no longer watermarked with Photobucket : )

Fear not, I have made arrangements for someone to disperse my collection when the time comes. I don't trust leaving it to a club or a museum as I cannot trust them to appreciate what is there. Besides new officers or personnel may not grasp the value or collecting policies may change or the museum may no longer exist.

Despite years of banging on about EMERs there is a poor grasp of their value & what they can contain. Many appreciate the value of EMER WHEELED VEHICLES that may cover their own vehicle but there is a host of interesting stuff buried in fairly mundane sounding sections such as EMER MANAGEMENT, EMER GENERAL, EMER VEHICLES GENERAL, EMER WORKSHOPS, EMER ENGINEERING & MISCELLANEOUS etc.

Even more obviously useful parts of EMER POWER can be misunderstood. I remember seeing someone dismissing an EMER POWER T 114 because it was about bilge pumps, but if he had looked a few pages further on it leads to W 001 etc that covers vehicle AC charging systems, which would have been useful as he owned a Land Rover.

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