A couple recent inquiries prompt this quick post about a wooden truck topper. The question that came up a few weeks ago was “why would you make a topper instead of just buying one?” Well, I’m not wealthy and making something costs a lot less than buying it. Also, if you are a woodworker, it’s easy to end up with surplus wood from projects. Often, the next project is virtually free. That’s what happened here.
Sorry for the grime in this photo but I live on the southern Plains. What can you do? I tried to streamline it and match the curves of the pick-up but honestly, I didn’t put too much effort into any aspect of the topper. I just needed something to get me through last summer but I’ve liked it enough that it is now a fairly permanent fixture. The arc of the roof approximates the arc of the truck, created by eyeball and a pen on a board. There is no better tool than the human eye in the creative process.
While making the shell, it became apparent that the Toyota bed tapers to the back. I decided, upon reflection, to be lazy and just ignore this inconvenient truth and keep the shell square. I did, however, match the front of the shell to the slope of the cab and allowed the back of the roof to overhang slightly.
Here’s the basic part list that I used: 2x4s for side and front sills, 2×4 frames, tongue and groove yellow pine for sides, front, and hatch, western red cedar roof. Lexan front and rear windows, hinges, closures, and various fasteners to hold it all together. For the roof exterior, 30# tar paper and a canvas truck tarp. The whole thing is varnished with exterior spar varnish. I think the whole thing can be made for a couple hundred dollars as opposed to a couple thousand from the store.
Good luck! Hope this helps somebody out there.