"The phone is a remarkably complex, simple device,
and very rarely ever needs repairs, once you fix them." - Dan/Panther

Main Menu

How to recover suede feet

Started by BDM, March 24, 2009, 01:21:38 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


After getting a nice North Gallion in fine condition other than paint on all 4 feet, I then discovered that the above jig for a 302 could work but was not right for a Gallion. Slightly different side and the North feet are higher, thicker than a 302's feet. As such, came up with this, and am posting this in case any new members may want to read everything above and try this for themselves.

Took a painted foot (1A) and cut a jig with my router into a section of a fir 2x4 (1B). The North foot with its original covering fits nicely (1C). They drew an outline about 3/8" larger around the jig (1D).

Used and "O" ring removal tool (2A) to pry up on the inside part of the foot (2B) to remove it (2C) exposing the original covering (2D) ending up with the 3 foot components (2E).

Cut a piece of clear plastic into the shape of the cover outline (3A) and then made another one (3B) putting painters tape on both which helps hold the suede between them (3C) when cutting out the new cover (3D).

Placed the new cover inside the jig outline (4A). Unlike a 302 foot, the North feet do not have felt padding between the metal foot and the suede. Placed the inside component in the center (4B) and pressed down (4C) checking to see that the amount of suede that came up was even all around the outside component. Bent the excess into the outer component and placed the inside component on top of the curved over suede. Using a small, flat tool, I made sure all of the curved over suede was even all around - no bunching and under the inside component (4D). Then, using a piece of soft wood and a tack hammer (4E), I gently tapped the inside component evenly setting it into place and trapping and tightening the suede around the foot. Once seated, full insertion of the inside component can be done using a vice, vice grips, pliers or clamp by putting the foot between two pieces of wood and applying pressure until the inside component is fully seated. You will note in photo 2E, the original North cover was cut out on the inside edges leaving more room for the inserted piece. Since I did not duplicate that, my new covering had more material inside the foot and as such the inside piece was just a bit higher than the original piece after full compression. Once mounted, the different is near impossible to detect.

I used a short piece of brass tubing with one ended sharpened (5A) to drill through the suede from the inside (5B) to create a hole for the foot screw (5C). The screw was inserted (5D), the foot attached to the North base (5E) and a brush was used to clean sawdust off of the suede and to loosen up the suede that was compressed during the assembly above. Picture 5E shows the newly recovered foot and one to be done, covered with grey paint.

xzzx-Recover Suede Feet-xzzx

Dennis Markham

Very nice, John.  That was a lot of work.  Just documenting each step and setting up the photos must have taken quite a while.  Thank you for sharing this.  The finished product looks awesome.


you can get suede very cheap on ebay- just search suede scraps and there are a ton of listings for odd cut pieces.


Remember, the feet are the same as the 302's... except the screw stays on top, it doesn't mount from underneath.... (no hole through the suede)


Quote from: Babybearjs on September 06, 2014, 04:23:29 PM
Remember, the feet are the same as the 302's... except the screw stays on top, it doesn't mount from underneath.... (no hole through the suede)

Well, that's not what I found out when recovering the Gallion. Same process but not the same shape. I have a different jig for 302 feet. The North Gallion feet are a bit different in size and shape. At least, that's what's I found out.

If you look at the wood jig I use for the 302 feet and the Gallion jig, you can see the difference. Slight, but there is a difference that does not make them interchangeable. The Gallion feet are shaped like a piece of pie with curved sides and round points and the 302 feet are triangular with straight sides and rounded points.

And, yes, no hole through the 302 feet


This is my first post and I'd like to thank the collective group for all the good advice that has helped me to get a couple of phones in working order.
I just finished reconditioning a 1945 Gallon. It worked fine to begin with and was in nice shape, but just needed a good disassembling and cleaning. Particularly the dial needed some cleaning and lubrication. Most of the suede feet were dry rotted, so I found this thread and followed the instructions.
I ran into two major obstacles in my first attempts to recover a Galion foot. The first was finding the leather; the second was that the leather bunches up when you assemble the foot and the leather.
I recommend that you disassemble a foot in good condition and have a good look at the leather. This will not only give a sense of the thickness needed, but also the shape that your template should take.
My first attempts used leather recycled from an old bag, which was too thick. It had a leather liner which was too thin to use. Anyway, neither the bag nor its liner were suede or the right color. Fabric stores were not helpful, and the closest Tandy Leather is 18 miles away. Scraps of .3 to . 4 mm are not available online, so I found that I needed to visually match up to find the right thickness before purchasing. I did find a pair of ladies' chocolate brown suede boots for $7.99 at a a thrift store. This turned out to be a tad thinner than the 70+ year-old original. The results were not perfect but still serviceable.
I attach a scan of the original leather from a disassembled Galion foot. I ironed it flat, scanned it, and used it to create a template. You can see that unlike the templates shown earlier, this design is important. It has evenly spaced tabs and all the extra leather that bunches up has been cut away. However, it seems that this cover has shrunk over time and is smaller than the outlines I had used before. There is no way that I can stretch a cover of this size to fit on the foot, so through trial and error I scaled it to my needs. Basically, drop the JPEG file into Microsoft Word, right click on it and select Format Picture/Size. Deselect the 2 boxes,  "Lock aspect ratio" and "Relative to original picture size". This allows you to stretch the height and width independent of each other. Then I entered the 2.1" H x 2.26" W measurements, which worked for me, and clicked OK. Print it out on photo paper or card stock, cut the outline with an Xacto knife, and you have your template. Proceed with the directions already given, and you should be able to recover your feet.
I will say it takes patience and effort to tuck the leather in and seal the 2 metal halves of the foot. I used a small regular screwdriver, the kind you would use on the terminal screws inside a phone. You have to use the insert to hold the leather in while you tuck in around the edges. It can get frustrating as one side will come undone while you're tucking in another side. Be patient and you'll persevere. Once I was satisfied that my edges were all under the insert, I was able to press down by hand to close up the foot, and I used a small hammer to tap it all the way home
The results are not perfect, but I'm happy overall. I'm attaching a couple of photos. There is still some bunching up around the edges. I think the leather could be just a little bit thicker, but the feet hold together fine.