The plans and instructions given here will allow most C-34
owners with access to a modest wood shop to make their own
cockpit sole inserts. The cockpit sole we built is shown in Fig.
The cockpit sole consists of a set of 4 inserts: (1) a bow
section, (2) a stern section, (3) a starboard section and (4)
a port section. Plans shown here are for both the
"standard" and "walk-through" transom
versions of the Mark I (pre-1995) C-34. The "bow
section" is identical for both transom versions. (Fig.
1. Standard Transom: The stern, starboard and port
sections of the standard transom version have
"notches" over the scuppers (drain) holes in the
cockpit. In addition, a large notch is present in the back
edge of the stern section to accommodate the "emergency
tiller housing" in the transom that protrudes into the
cockpit (Fig. 3A & Fig. 4).
2. Walk-through Transom: Two options for the
walk-through transom version are show here. These differ only
in the length of the stern section. The planking of the
"short" type stern section stops at the slotted
brackets that hold the plastic splash-board (Fig. A &
3B). The planking of the "long" type stern
section extends all the way to the edge of the step down to
the swim platform (Fig. 3C).
We elected to use mahogany rather than teak because of cost
and our preference for the appearance of mahogany. The sole
"planks" were made from 3/8" thick mahogany.
Almost all of the planking was made from 1 7/8" wide
pieces. The exceptions were the 2 planks used on outside of
the stern section that measured 2 5/8" in width. The
"stringers" (cross pieces) were made from ¾" x
1 ¾" pieces of mahogany. The lengths varied, the longest
being ~26"(stern section).
Measurements & Making Patterns
The plans shown here were drawn using measurements that
were made from the sections after they were assembled. While
they are accurate, they should be used as a guide to make the
paper and plywood "patterns" required to build the
jigs for your particular boat (described below).
Making paper patterns:
Step 1 Using the "pattern" drawings shown in Fig.
5A - 5E, make a paper pattern of each of the sole sections
from sheets heavy paper (e.g. heavy brown wrapping paper works
Step 2 - Take the patterns to your boat and lay them out in
the cockpit. Make any needed adjustments in the patterns to
fit your cockpit. There should be a gap of at least ¼"
between the bulkheads of the cockpit and the edges of the
pattern. You do not want the sole sections to be too tight.
Making plywood patterns:
You will use 1/8" plywood patterns to (1) double-check
that the sole sections will fit in the cockpit, and (2) to
make the "jigs" required to assemble the 4 sections.
Step 1 Using the "corrected" paper patterns,
trace the pattern of each section onto a sheet of 1/8"
plywood. Note that the starboard and port sole sections are
mirror images of one another. Thus, only one pattern is
Step 2 - Take your plywood patterns to the your boat and
test fit. These plywood patterns are used to make the
"jigs" used in assembling the sole sections.
Therefore, be sure they fit exactly as you expect. You may
even want to put "stringers" on the downside of the
patterns for the test fit.
Planking, Stringers & Spacers:
All planking was precut and their upper surfaces and edges
sanded before assembling. Its a good idea to start with the
bow section since this section requires the longest planks (Fig.
2). Then, if you make an error in measuring or cutting,
you can always use "shorter" planks for the stern or
port / starboard sections.
Using your plywood patterns, lay your stock planking on the
patterns then mark and cut the planks. Be sure to number
the downside of each plank to prevent a mix up during
Use the plywood patterns to cut the stringers in the same
manner as described for the planking. The number and
positioning of stringers (which need not be exact) is shown in
Fig. 7A-7F. NOTE Our stringers were ¾" thick,
but ½" thick stringers would work just as well.
To keep the gap between the planks equal while the
stringers are being attached during assembly, 3/16"
scrap-wood "spacers" are inserted between the
planks. Since spacers are removed and reused as each stringer
is attached, youll only need to make about 30.
Jigs are used to hold planks of the sole sections in place
during assembly. A diagram of the jig used to assemble the Bow
Section is shown in Fig. 6. This jig is made by laying
your plywood "pattern" of the Bow Section on a
4x8 sheet of ½" plywood and then nailing 1" x
½" strips of scrap wood around the outside of the
pattern to form an outline of the Bow Section insert. The
pattern is removed and the planks are then inserted for
assembly (described below).
Assembly & Finishing
All sections of the cockpit sole inserts are assembled in
jigs in the same manner. Thus, only the steps used to assemble
the Bow Section are described here.
Bow Section Insert:
Step 1 - Place precut numbered planks inside the assembly
jig "finished side" down.
Step 2 - Using a tape measure and pencil, draw a line
across the planks where each stringer is to be attached (Fig.
Step 3 - Stringers are now attached starting at the
"bow end" of the insert. To keep the gap between the
planks equal while the stringers are being attached, wooden
spacers are inserted between the planks. Two rows of
3/16" spacers are placed between the planks parallel to
the "bow-end" of the jig. The first row should be
about 6" from the bow-end of the jig. The second row
should be 10"-12" from the bow-end of the jig.
NOTE Planks should lay "flat" inside the jig
and "snug" against its sides without buckling. If
the planks buckle, make and use a few additional spacers
slightly thinner than 3/16". If the planks are not snug
against the sides of the jig, make a few spacers slightly
thicker than 3/ 16"
remember, the 3/16"gap
between planks is approximate, not exact.
Step 4 - Put a spot of good quality waterproof glue on each
plank between the penciled lines where the first stringer is
to be attached.
Step 5 - Staple the stringers in place using a power
stapler. You can drill holes and add screws later if desired.
We used staples only.
Step 6 - Move the spacers to the next stringer location and
repeat steps 4 and 5 above.
Step 7 - When the glue has dried, use a router to cut
several 1/4"-deep grooves in each stringer to permit
water to drain to the scuppers or out the stern in boats with
a walk-through transom (Fig. 7A and photo Fig. B)
Step 8 Lightly re-sand exposed surfaces and apply
(spray preferred) 5 or 6 coats of good quality marine
polyurethane or varnish.
Step 9 - To prevent abrasion to the gel coat of the cockpit
sole by the stringers, strips of self-adhesive felt pads are
applied to the underside of the stringers (Fig. B).
Dan Harrington, Weal Sea #1289
Ben Holland, ChriSea #832