Truck Side Rails for Under $20




My boys and I needed some rails for the sides of the truck in a hurry so we ran to Lowe's and picked up a few supply 's. We built this in an hour.

We used it and then painted and sanded it another day.

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Step 1: ​List of Tools and Supply's

  1. Hammer
  2. Saw
  3. Drill (You could just use a screw driver)
  4. Chisel
  5. Tape Measure

List of Supply's

  1. 4 1x3x8 ($1.96 ea) ($7.84)
  2. 2 - 2x3x96'($1.98 ea) ($3.96)
  3. 1 pkg outdoor wood screws 8x1-3/4 ($6.58)
  4. Paint (optional)
  5. Total ($18.38+tax)

Step 2: Measure and Cut

1. We measured the distance from the depth of the stake pockets to the top of the cab of the truck so we would know how long to cut the posts
2. We measured the length of the truck bed.
3. We measured the depth of the stake pocket

Here is what we decided to use:
29 inches for the height
81 inches for the length
6 inches for the depth of the stake pockets

We measured and cut the posts for the stake pockets and then measured 6 inches from the bottom and marked off the area that we would eventually use a chisel to taper. If you have band saw or something it would be faster but we didn't.

We used the chisel to taper the ends so they would fit in the stake pockets.

Step 3: Assembly

We set the posts in the stake pockets and marked the rail height that we wanted to use.

We used the bit that came with the screws and assembled the rails and posts.

Step 4: Finishing Up

Finally a few weeks later we decided to make it look a little prettier.

We sanded and painted it.

I know this is a very basic project but it was something we needed quick and we will probably use it for years to come.

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    8 Discussions


    5 years ago

    If you slip the rails on the inside of the posts they will be less inclined to pop off at the wrong moment. As they would be pushed into the posts.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    That was my first thought when I saw this too.

    But the rails are great; cheap, quick, Nice job.


    Reply 5 years ago

    Perhaps they could simply switch sides with the rails. Very good point! Wouldnt want a mess on the highway.


    5 years ago

    switching sides should do it. Probably won't be able to rotate though. As most trucks have front and rear pocket placement spaced differently. One more thought is to have a crossmember front and back to keep the sides from bowing out.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I am thinking about doing this exact same project when it gets a little warmer out. The only difference I am planning on doing is notching out where the cross bars meet to make it a little neater looking.

    Also I would use nail filler in the screw holes to make it nice and flat.