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Forum topic by TongueAndTeak posted 08-16-2018 04:40 PM 491 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TongueAndTeak

4 posts in 1577 days


08-16-2018 04:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: truck bed resin epoxy restoration wood truck bed design help novice classic car

Hello Woodworking World Web!

I am about to try my hand at restoring an old Piaggio Ape truck bed (similar to photo attached) and I was wondering if anyone has ever made the bed out of epoxy and wood before? I was thinking of doing something similar to a resin river table and thought it would be awesome as a truck bed.

Being a novice at anything automotive, I wanted to get your ideas and thoughts before I invested too much into the idea. I know that typical restoration uses the metal fastener strips for expansion so would I need to still incorporate those or has anyone ever had success making a solid bed? This truck bed would to be used to carry more than the typical day to day items on occasion and will also be exposed to ocean air since it resides near the beach.

-- Daniel, www.tntwoodshop.com


12 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1442 posts in 337 days


#1 posted 08-16-2018 05:16 PM

wow – nice little project !!
if you decide to use any epoxy on the bed at all, just know it is not UV tolerable
and must be top coated with several coats of a good quality Marine Spar Varnish.
looking forward to following your journey on this one !!
I don’t know the expansion/contraction rate of epoxy in large quantities like that.
but, in the Florida heat, I would imagine it is quite a bit.
personally – I like the stainless bed strips. it would tie in some of the originality.
I made a bed out of red oak for my BIL’s ‘53 Chevy and it turned out awesome.
my daughter lives in Orange Park and after you get going on this project,
I would like to drop by your shop and see it. I have not seen one since the ‘70s.

.

.

-- I started out with nothing in life ~ and still have most of it left.

View Steve's profile

Steve

668 posts in 757 days


#2 posted 08-16-2018 05:18 PM

How flexible is the epoxy? I feel like it would crack due to stresses in the bed while driving around?

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

2559 posts in 1562 days


#3 posted 08-16-2018 06:19 PM

I wonder if a marine epoxy can be used to fill voids like that. If so, that would probably hold up better to the sun and surf.

If the current bed is wood and attached with metal retaining strips like most vintage pickup trucks, note that you have to allow for the wood shrinking and expansion. That is the reason that they are attached that way. If you join (epoxy) the wood into a single piece deck, unless you can somehow seal the wood to permanently keep the moisture out of it, it you could get gaps on the sides or it could buckle. Even worse, it could mildew under the epoxy.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1105 posts in 990 days


#4 posted 08-16-2018 06:50 PM

Marine epoxy is not any different than any other kind. UV radiation will destroy it quite rapidly unless it is protected like John says. Epoxy is used to hold plywood boat hulls together. A little jolt in the back of a truck won’t hurt it if it is built right.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

528 posts in 1668 days


#5 posted 08-16-2018 07:52 PM

Wow, big project? :)

While I have never worked with epoxy casting objects that large, I have some professional background. Hardest thing to share is here in post is enough information to actually help you succeed. Entire books have been written on topic of epoxy resin casting! Suggest you need to do some research and learn some basics, like here or one of many other online resources if you ask google.

Is it possible?
Yes, prototype automotive light lenses are sometimes epoxy cast, and show no problems if protected from UV (usually a special vacuum vapor deposited silicone compound). Movie industry also makes cast interior car parts for one off vehicles.
Biggest issue is lifetime, as these special vehicles are never parked outside when stored long term. Standard epoxy will yellow with age, due heat and/or UV chemical reactions. There are special curatives and fillers used for ‘optically clear’ systems that age much better (but still yellow eventually).

Side note: Many years ago I had a 5” round outdoor picnic table and 4 benches made from solid cast epoxy. One of the formulators I worked with used to cast picnic tables as safe way to dispose of a few tons of scrap resin that failed QC tests for electronic applications, as disposing the liquid was hazmat waste. Coat of white paint and it looked like just concrete version commonly seen in state parks (used the same molds), only it weighed less. :)

There are 1000’s of different casting epoxy systems available (here, here, here, etc. Truth be told, most are similar, with differences being end use requirements (temp, optical, abrasion) or processing requirements. There are some newer hybrid epoxy/urethane casting systems that overcome some limitations of epoxy as well. Large castings present a significant challenge to prevent thermal run away while curing. Keeping section thickness as low as practical will help a lot.

Hope you are able to comprehend cost of this project? Epoxy casting systems cost $7-$10 lb in bulk, much more if you buy at retail prices. I’d estimate 4×8 foot solid panel 1.5 inch thick to need ~250 pounds of resin. At ~7lbs a gallon that is 35 gallons! Even if you fill it 60% with wood, still going to spend $1000+ on 15 gallons of casting resin. Oh, and that does not include shipping costs. :(

Biggest suggestion I can offer is:
find a local epoxy systems distributor and ask for recommendation based on your design. They love to create new markets for epoxy (epoxy is the generally most expensive resin available when compared to other systems), and any project that could use 20 gallons generates enough revenue to make a hobby project interesting enough to help.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View GrantA's profile

GrantA

523 posts in 1582 days


#6 posted 08-16-2018 08:03 PM

Adtech 820 epoxy resin- all of their hardeners are UN stable. With the popular West Systems only one hardener is UV stable. I use and recommend the Adtech (824 hardener) and I recommend these folks to buy from https://www.sollercomposites.com/Epoxy.html
I’m not sure about making it solid though, in theory you start with dry wood, let it become saturated with resin and it shouldn’t move. It could be a costly experiment though

Have fun and keep us posted!

View TongueAndTeak's profile

TongueAndTeak

4 posts in 1577 days


#7 posted 08-16-2018 08:51 PM

Thank you for all the info!! I will definitely post some update photos once I finish the design.

A little more insight into my though process… I was probably going to add some color pigments to the epoxy to lessen the yellowing effects but will definitely coat with plenty of UV spar varnish. I imagine it will be parked outside at the beach in FL so UV protection is definitely something to keep in mind when deciding between my options. I hope that with the recent influx in river table popularity (about 99% of my instagram feed nowadays lol), that more large volume epoxies will flood the market to help cut costs a bit. Fingers crossed haha!

-- Daniel, www.tntwoodshop.com

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

2559 posts in 1562 days


#8 posted 08-16-2018 09:20 PM



Adtech 820 epoxy resin- all of their hardeners are UN stable.

- GrantA

Hah! I assume you meant UV stable not unstable?!

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View GrantA's profile

GrantA

523 posts in 1582 days


#9 posted 08-16-2018 09:24 PM

D’OH yeah autocorrect needs to shut up and let me drive… Daniel I suggest caring Soller and talking to them, great family run company and they will let you bend their ears then help you with the right products. No affiliation just a happy customer

View TongueAndTeak's profile

TongueAndTeak

4 posts in 1577 days


#10 posted 08-17-2018 12:18 PM



D OH yeah autocorrect needs to shut up and let me drive… Daniel I suggest caring Soller and talking to them, great family run company and they will let you bend their ears then help you with the right products. No affiliation just a happy customer

- GrantA

I think spell check got you again on “Caring Soller” lol. can you post a link?

-- Daniel, www.tntwoodshop.com

View GrantA's profile

GrantA

523 posts in 1582 days


#11 posted 08-17-2018 01:19 PM

Dang it I quit
Link is a few posts up

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

2559 posts in 1562 days


#12 posted 08-17-2018 04:26 PM

LOL. DYAC! If you want a good laugh, the http://www.damnyouautocorrect.com has some really funny ones and some that really make you squirm as well.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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