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Building Flatbed Felix Stage 1: Woodworking

The woodworking stage was the first step in restoring Flatbed Felix, our 1927 Chevrolet flatbed project truck and replica of one of our delivery trucks from the 1930s. This part of the project involved a lot of research, and provided some creative freedom in how we were going to bring back the original look but also refine certain elements to make Felix super special.

Our previous article explained the history of Hare & Forbes MachineryHouse and the significance behind restoring Flatbed Felix to mark our 90th birthday – which by the way will be on the 26th of June. The first stage of Flatbed Felix’s transformation involved creating all the wood pieces to form the driver’s cab and the tray.

Our Master Builder, Sean Hegarty at OG Customs who led this entire project commented, “The only reference points we had to help us design the cab was an illustrated render of what Flatbed Felix could look like, and one scanned image of a grainy photo of the original delivery truck back in the 1930s. It was exciting to have some free rein in how we restored Felix to his original form, as well as find subtle ways to refine certain parts to give him some character and evolve him into more of a show car.”

OG Customs did extensive research on flatbed trucks from the 1920s and 1930s, looking at how all the car brands at the time presented their models. What they found interesting was that each brand used a different type of hardwood for their wood sections, showcasing a unique colour. In Flatbed Felix’s case, OG Customs recommended to use two different types of wood, i.e., plywood for the cab, as it was going to be painted over so it didn’t matter what wood was used there, and merbau hardwood for the tray, as that was going to be the showpiece of the truck.

Building the Driver’s Cab
Drawing on their experience, the research and reference material provided, OG Customs determined the measurements for the cab and tray. Along the way, we also made small adjustments that would add to creating a more refined look for Flatbed Felix. An example of these refinements was introducing curves into the design, including the driver’s seat side panels and the window frames. You’ll notice the seat side panels curve up rather than being sharp right angles and all the corners of the windows have curved edges rather than straight.

OG Customs also suggested we add small doors into the design of the cab to give Felix that nice, finished look. The final touch was adding the roof to the cab. We stretched a black vinyl tonneau cover over a piece of 3mm plywood and fixed it in around the edges.

Building the Tray
Sean stated that he wanted to give this part of Felix more of a modern feel, so using a beautifully polished merbau hardwood felt like the right choice. Given that the cab would be painted cream and that the merbau is a darker timber, both sections would contrast nicely against each other. Another small adjustment we made in trying to refine the look, without taking away from the original design, was using stainless steel screws instead of the traditional cast iron bone headed bolts to secure the wood in place.

We also added a backboard to the tray featuring two panels of the merbau hardwood with a pine wood rim around the edges – that was painted cream – to give Felix more of a show car feel.

Bringing it all Together
The entire woodworking stage for Flatbed Felix took about two weeks to complete. This included cutting and sanding all of the pieces, mocking them up onto Felix ensuring everything fit perfectly, then removing and painting/polishing each section and placing them back on at the end of the project.

Next week we’ll take you through the metal working stage of Flatbed Felix’s restoration, so be sure to give us a follow on Instagram or Facebook to know when we publish our next article.

The Hare & Forbes MachineryHouse tools used in the woodworking stage of Flatbed Felix restoration project
Hafco T-380 thicknesser
Hafco Wood Table Saw ST-254
Hafco Wood Band Saw BP-360

Other tools used in the woodworking stage
● Hand held sanders
Electric Drill
Cut off saw
● Drop saw
● Jig saw

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