Shave Stake Holes In Your Truck Bed

    So you finally decided you want to shave stake holes in your truck bed.  You can create a very clean and finished look for the bed in your truck by completing this relatively simple modification.  I'm sure those stake holes are useful for hauling ladder racks, or what not, but big bed rail holes don't belong on show trucks or trucks whose owner wants smooth styling for their truck.  
     I suppose you could take the easy way out and just install some plastic bed rail covers, but you will always have a seam between the plastic cap/cover and the body.  Besides the ugly seam and sun faded look of the plastic rail cover, dirt and grime will  always find a way to get under the rail cover and will scratch every inch of paint that is under them leaving you with a mess should you ever remove the covers.

     Read along below as I show you how I shave stake holes in my 2004 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD.  Click on any picture to enlarge for easier viewing.

before truck bed stake hole shave
Before



before truck bed stake hole shave
Closer view of before shaving the stake pockets in  the company truck.

before truck bed stake hole shave Look at those scratches from my original plastic bed rail covers!
before truck bed stake hole shave
Lets concentrate on the back left hole. The process will be the same for the remaining holes
bed stake hole shave, grinder
Use a grinder with a 60 grit disc to remove all paint around the hole and expose the metal for welding
how to truck bed shave
This shows the paint removed and clean metal for welding in the filler plates
how to truck bed shave
Remove paint at least 1" around the entire hole


shaved truck bed
If youur truck has hidden wires for trailer hook up, be sure to pull those out of an access hole for future use
truck bed stake hole shave, filler plates
Place a strip of 2 inch wide masking tape over the hole in order to make a template
truck bed stake hole shave, filler plates
Use a pencil or crayon to runb on the tape to find your edges

truck bed stake hole shave, filler plates
Then use a marker to outline the edges you found with the pencil/crayon

truck bed stake hole shave, filler plates
I picked up a sheet of 16 gauge steel to use for the plates to shave the holes for about 10 bucks at Lowes Home Improvement
truck bed stake hole shave, filler plates
I purchased a 2 foot piece that was 8 inches wide.  I will have plenty to spare for future needs.
truck bed stake hole shave, filler plates
Peel your masking tape off of the truck and trim it to the exact size of the stake hole. Stick the tape to the new metal, in the corner
truck bed stake hole shave, make filler plates
Using an electric or air grinder with a cut off wheel, cut the metal out along the edge of your tape template.
truck bed stake hole shave, make filler plates
This is the metal I cut out with te tape still applied
truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, make filler plates
Test fit your new piece in the stake hole you are shaving
truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, make filler plates
Once your sure it fits well, remove the tape
truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, make filler plates
At first, this plate was still just a hair too big, so I continued to grind the edges until it fit nicely
truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, make filler plates
Remember that it does not have to be a perfect fit to shave stake holes. You will be welding this in place and the weld will fill the gap(s)
truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, make filler plates
Happy with the way this plate fit, I used it as a template to create the rest of the filler plates
truck bed stake hole shave
Use your nice fitting filler plate as a template to trace onto the 16 ga. steel
truck bed stake hole shave, make bed filler plates
I traced the filler plate to make three additional outlines of the remaing plates
truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, make filler plates
I then rough cut out the additional plates and marked each with a "bottom" 
truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, make filler plates
clean up the edges of the  remaining filler plates with your grinder/cut off wheel


before truck bed stake hole shavetruck bed stake hole shave, make filler plates
I created an angled edge on the bottom edge of each filler plate so that it would sit nicely in the bed stake holes.
before truck bed stake hole shavetruck bed stake hole shave, make filler plates
Now all four plates are ready to be instaled/welded in place


truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, weld filler plates
I use a Hobart welder for projects like this.  This a 140 amp model and is a great welder for the money
truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, weld filler plates
I set up my welder to properly penetrate the size metal of my truck be and filler plate steel
truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, weld filler plates
Tape one of the filler plates in place over the stake hole that you are shaving

truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, weld filler plates
The tape will hold the filler plate in place while you weld a few tacks



truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, weld filler plates
Tack weld each corner of the filler plate before removing the tape



truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, weld filler plates
Sheet metal tends to warp with the high heat from welding.  I always keep a water soaked rag to place over the weld area to cool it down quickly.
truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, weld filler plates
Continue to spot weld around the plate, but take breaks between tacks to prevent the metal from getting too hot.



truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, spot weld filler plates
Tack/Spot weld around the entire plate until  it is fully welded and you have officially shave stake hole in this corner of your bed.  Dont lay bead welds, ONLY TACK WELD.




truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, grind filler plates
Get your grinder back out and grind down all of the tack welds until the panel is as smooth as possible.  Don't forget that grinding will make the metal get hot too.  Keep it cool with your water rag.
truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, grind filler plates
Here you can see that all of the tack welds high spots are ground smooth.







truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, grind filler plates
Rear view showing all of the tack weld high spots are  smooth. Also grind down any weld splatter that has landed around the welded filler plate




truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, bondo filler plates
After you clean up your weld area, sand down the paint for another three inches beyond your filler plate. Clean it up with laquer thinner or paint prep.  Mix up some bondo and spread it evenly over the shave stake holes area with a plastic spreader.
truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, bondo filler plates
To shave stake holes in the front of the bed is done the same way, but be sure to tape some paper to your rear glass to prevent cutting/welding  fragements from scratching or breaking your glass. A little prevention can save you some headaches at a time like this
truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, bondo filler plates
I got a little sloppy on this corner with my Bondo, but it will sand smooth without much effort.








truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, bondo filler plates
By the time the Bondo had dried enough to sand, it hads gotton dark, but after sanding and washing, the bondo was smooth enough for another skim coat of Bondo, then primer followed by paint.




prep truck bed for rhino liner
I decided to have my entire bed Rhino-Lined and proceeded to clean up the rest of the bed



prep truck bed for rhino liner
Fortunately, Rhino Liner has excellent fill capabilities so I didn't have to worry asbout sanding all of the scratches smooth in my bed floor

truck bed stake hole, shave truck bed, stake hole shave, bondo filler plates
All four Stake Holes Shaved  Bondo'd, and sanded.





truck bed stake hole shave, rhino liner truck bed
After having the truck bed painted, or Rhino Lined in my case, the smooth and clean look of your bed rails with the shave stake hole swill make your truck look much better!
truck bed stake hole shave, rhino liner truck bed
Finished view of the left  bed rail




truck bed stake hole shave, rhino liner truck bed
Bed Floor after Rhino Lining





truck bed stake hole shave, rhino liner truck bed
Smooth Right side Bed Rail
truck bed stake hole shave, rhino liner truck bed
Rhino Lined Tail Gate
truck bed stake hole shave, rhino liner truck bed, shop dog
My Shop Dog, Newman, has approved the work
truck bed stake hole shave, rhino liner truck bed, stack through bed cover
Reinstalled my Extang Tanneu Cover to complete the job
truck bed stake hole shave, rhino liner truck bed, stack through bed cover
Yes it is possible to have a bed cover AND an exhaust stack
truck bed stake hole shave, rhino liner truck bed, stack through bed cover
All Done with the shave steak holes project!



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