How to install wooden sides on a pickup bed

Written by mark morris
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How to install wooden sides on a pickup bed
Any truck with stake pockets in the bed rails can have wooden sides added. (old truck image by jimcox40 from

Extending the height of the bed sides on your truck allows for increased cargo room and added security for the things you haul. Standard 2-by-2 lumber fits snugly in the stake pockets of most beds, and is stout enough to use as corner posts for the wooden sides. Treated exterior plywood panels are the strongest material for creating the wooden sides. They are simple to cut and inexpensive, and can be painted or stained to add a decorative touch.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Treated 2-by-2 lumber
  • Circular saw
  • Tape measure
  • 3/4-inch treated plywood
  • Power sander
  • 100 grit sandpaper
  • Framing square
  • Wood glue
  • C clamps
  • 1 1/4-inch treated deck screws
  • Paint or stain optional

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  1. 1

    Cut six pieces of 2-by-2 treated lumber to the height of the wooden sides you want, plus 12 inches to insert in the bed rail pockets. Use a circular saw to make the cuts.

  2. 2

    Measure and cut a 3/4-inch thick, treated, exterior plywood panel for each side. Cut the panels to the height of your 2-by-2 corner posts, minus 12 inches, and the length of the bed from the back of the cab to the back corner of the bed side. Use a circular saw with a fine tooth plywood blade.

  3. 3

    Sand the corner posts and panels with a power sander and 100 grit sandpaper. Lay one panel out on a pair of saw horses. Measure in from each end of the truck bed to the corner of the nearest corner pocket. Do this at the front and back. Mark the plywood with the measurements you just took to align the corner posts. Use a framing square to draw a line across the plywood to mark the position of the corner post.

  4. 4

    Apply a bead of wood glue to one face of each corner post, starting 12 inches from one end. Align the post on the panel, with the line on what will be the outside edge of the post. Position the post with 12 inches hanging off the bottom end. Clamp the post in place with C-clamps.

  5. 5

    Flip the panel over and drive 1 1/4-inch treated deck screws through the plywood into the 2-by-2 posts, one every 20 inches. Remove the clamps. Repeat the assembly process with the second side panel and fit the posts into the corner pockets of the truck bed.

Tips and warnings

  • Allow the panels to set for at least six weeks before applying stain or paint with a soft brush in the direction of the grain.

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