Hauling Plywood

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Forum topic by dvhart posted 03-28-2010 06:14 PM 19353 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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111 posts in 3256 days

03-28-2010 06:14 PM

I’m looking for practical ways to haul 4×8 sheet goods. I’m considering replacing my sedan with a pickup for other reasons (yard debris, home improvement projects, etc). I do all of this as a hobby though and am a software engineer by trade – so a full size truck seems like overkill. I’ve considered a smaller pickup (Tacoma size) but am not sure how to go about hauling sheet goods without a large steel rack.

I’ve considered building an open ended box that matches the height of the wheel wells, thinking I could load stick lumber below and sheet goods above.

What other solutions to hauling sheet goods without a full-size truck are people using?

-- Darren

33 replies so far

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3310 days

#1 posted 03-28-2010 06:21 PM

I’m not familiar with the Tacoma, but GM truck beds have “pockets” stamped into the sidewalls just above the wheelwells. They’re designed to support 2×6 boards and provide a way to haul stuff above the bed bottom.

If the Tacoma’s bed is at least 4’ wide at the top, you could probably do something similar even if you had to make a support system. That would probably be less expensive than buying a lumber rack.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Skalizar's profile


6 posts in 3306 days

#2 posted 03-28-2010 06:44 PM

Many full sized minivans (extended versions) will hold a sheet of plywood with the rear seats removed or folded down. They drive a lot nicer than pickups and can handle lighter loads, they just have a height limit. I’ve brought home 12 foot boards with the rear hatch not fully closed, just used a bungee to hold it down. Plus, they smell like lumber for a few days after as a bonus.

-- Ron -- Bear, DE

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3969 days

#3 posted 03-28-2010 06:50 PM

if you go the minivan route, it does work VERY well, but the ONE caveat I’ve found is you need to be careful loading. you may not care about scratching a pickup bed, but you might care about scratching your interior. a tarp would help a lot.

also, I’ve fit 9 foot boards in my honda civics when i fold the passenger seat flat and fold the back seats down. Trunk closed and all. not great for sheet goods though.

View hazbro's profile


109 posts in 3231 days

#4 posted 03-28-2010 06:51 PM

if you’ve got a 4’ wide bed you can just slide it over top the tailgate. one thing I do (have full size truck) is keep a handful of 2” rigid insulation scraps in the truck for the wood to sit on so there is no damaging of the wood.

-- measure once, keep cuttin' til it fits

View dvhart's profile


111 posts in 3256 days

#5 posted 03-28-2010 07:09 PM

Maybe I can just keep my sedan? Seems to have worked out for this guy.

-- Darren

View KnotWright's profile


258 posts in 3729 days

#6 posted 03-28-2010 07:13 PM

I have own a Tacoma, and a 4×8 sheet of plywood will fit in the bed, it just won’t find between the wheel wells. The main reason I switched to the full sized pickup is carrying capacity. With my Tacoma I’d always bring along, or buy a couple of 8 foot 2×4’s to help support the thinner plywood or sheetrock over the wheel wells, and to make accessing the tie down points easier.

Your other option is just to purchase a small trailer to pull behind your car/truck if you have the space for it. The advantage of the trailer is you don’t necessarily have to unload it right away. Right now I’m looking into the idea of enclosing a small trailer and making it lockable so that I can make multiple stops without fear of some one shopping out of my trailer. (not that, that ever happens)

-- James

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3545 days

#7 posted 03-28-2010 07:26 PM

Those photos are flat out amazing dv!

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View Planeman's profile


97 posts in 3818 days

#8 posted 03-28-2010 07:34 PM

For years I have hauled 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood on top of my car by using an old sleeping bag as a pad on the car roof, then loading the sheets of plywood onto the top of the roof and getting them balanced and aligned.
I then take four C-clamps and clamp down all four corners of the pile of plywood making sure the clamps are tight. The C-clamps are to hold the plywood stack together and to provide an attachment point for the nylon rope lashings. I then lash down each corner of the plywood pile to the corners of the front and back bumper or a good attachment just beneath corners of the bumpers using a good 1/4” braided nylon rope. I use S-hooks to hook into whatever place that might be and make sure to cross the lashings – i.e.: from the left corner of the plywood stack to the right side of the bumper area and the right corner of the plywood stack to the left area of the bumper. The keeps the load from shifting side-to-side.

I always keep these four C-clamps, the old sleeping bag, the nylon rope, and the S-hooks in a nylon bag in my trunk. Obviously this isn’t good for a lot of plywood sheets, but it sure works for getting those two, three, or four sheets home from Home Depot of Lowe’s.


-- Always remember half of the people in this country are below average.

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3566 days

#9 posted 03-28-2010 07:44 PM

We got a trailer with a bed that is larger than a sheet a plywood. It’s a great solution.

View tnwood's profile


263 posts in 3328 days

#10 posted 03-28-2010 07:47 PM

I just bought a Tacoma and it works fine for sheet goods. The Access cab and regular cab models have a 6’ bed length so I just slide the sheet goods over the tail gate and onto the wheel well areas. I do use rigid insulation, old towels, 2×4s, etc. to carry the load evenly and allow access to tie down points. I just hauled two 4×8’ cherry ply and three 5×5’ baltic birch sheets home (25 miles) on Friday from my supplier. No problems with damage to the goods or the truck. The double cab only has a 5’ bed which seems very short to me but I suppose it works. They do sell a bed extender that brings the total length to near 8’ with the gate down but those things look like a pain to me during normal operation.

View JasonIndy's profile


187 posts in 3676 days

#11 posted 03-28-2010 07:51 PM

My in-laws have a Honda Odyssey which is within a half inch of 48” across with the back seats taken out. We usually put something down, but this is nice because it protects everything from the elements. When they’re not here, I take my wife’s Grand Am, put a tarp down on the roof, and lay a few sheets on top of that. We never take that many, and just use the free twine they supply to lash it down. If you do go this route, however, I recommend you open the car doors before you start looping the twine. I usually forget to and end up having to climb in through the window or trunk.

DV, those pictures are great. I wonder how far they got, haha

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

556 posts in 3297 days

#12 posted 03-28-2010 08:03 PM

I’ve owned 2 pick-ups and now drive a toyota hilghlander. I miss having a pickup every once in a while, but I really don’t want to own a 3rd car. I have something better than a pick up of my own, it’s a friend with a pick up. Since he’ll probably ready this…thanks Bakerman. Uhaul will rent a pickup for $20/day. Even if you need a pick up every month, the Uhaul price is much cheaper than the cost, taxes, and insurance for a pickup. It’s also muich less than the $75 my lumberyard charges for delivery.

-- Glen

View spamfilterman's profile


149 posts in 3263 days

#13 posted 03-28-2010 08:04 PM

I have a Nissan Frontier, and I’ve hauled sheet goods in it. The inside of the bed is a little more than 4’, and the sheets hang a little bit over the bed extender. The bed of the Frontier is already coated, and they have a really handy tie-down system.

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3545 days

#14 posted 03-28-2010 08:17 PM

Hmm, I think I would umm…

Go the truck route ;)

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

800 posts in 4074 days

#15 posted 03-28-2010 08:24 PM

That orange 56 is a real beaut, is it 4wd? Did you replace the 292 or is it original?

I had a 55 that I put a 390 into. fast but not quick, real heavy.

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

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