Adding Removable Studs To
Your Felt Soles
For the third time in as many years I
found it necessary to replace the felt soles on my Simms Guide model
wading shoes. In the streams and rivers of Yellowstone National Park and
Southwest Montana where I fish, felt soles will give you all the traction
on the stream bottom that you need. There are some exceptions and for
those rivers I’ve used rubbers with cleats on them or removable studded
Because I often fish from a drift
boat the idea of permanent studs in my wading shoes just isn’t feasible.
This year I’ve decided to try something different. I’ve decided to add
removable studs to my felt soles.
While removing the old felt soles is
not absolutely necessary it’s a good idea and can be easily accomplished
with a belt sander. Be sure that the surface is clean, dry and free of any
Purchase a pair of replacement felt
sole that are a little larger than your wading boot size.
Place your wading shoe on one of the
replacement felt soles and trace the boot outline onto the new felt sole.
Some minor trimming of the new felt sole may be necessary after it is
firmly glued in place.
Determine the number of studs that
you want on each felt sole. I used ten studs on each shoe. Mark those
areas with a marking pen.
Go to the hardware store and purchase
that number of “T” nuts as shown in the illustration. Also purchase one
machine thread sheet metal screw for each “T” nut that you plan to use.
Use 3/8” long or 1/2” long screws. Length depends on the thickness of the
felt soles that you are using.
Choose a drill bit that is slightly
larger than the outside diameter of the “T” nuts that you plan to use for
the removable studs. Drill one hole at a time and check to be sure that
the “T” nut fits easily into the hole that you have drilled into the felt
sole. Remember that the flat flange of the “T” nut will be inside against
your boot bottom.
Experience has tough me that the
amount of Barge Cement that is supplied with the replacement felt soles is
never enough so I purchased a quart size container at the hardware store
and now have enough for several years. Just be sure to store it in a place
where the temperature will remain above freezing.
After all of the holes for the “T
nuts have been drilled and checked for clearance you are ready to began
the gluing operation.
I’ve found it necessary to make two
applications of the Barge Cement. Start with the replacement felt sole.
Apply a generous coating of Barge Cement to the side that will rest
against your wading boot. Next apply the cement to the wading boot that
will be matched with that replacement felt sole. At this time I also apply
cement to all surfaces of the “T” nuts.
After approximately 30 minutes you
will find the first coat of Barge Cement tacky. At this time insert the
“T” nuts into the predrilled holes. Remember that the flange will rest
against the bottom of the boot sole and there will be no visible signs of
the “T” nut from the exposed portion of the felt bottom. When the “T” nuts
are firmly in place it’s time to begin the second application of Barge
Cement. Apply a generous coating of Barge Cement to the side that will
rest against your wading boot. Next apply the cement to the wading boot
that will be matched with that replacement felt sole. Be sure to cover the
bottom of the “T” nut that will rest against the wading shoe
In approximately 45 minutes the Barge
Cement should be dry enough to begin assembly. Be sure to take the time to
line up the replacement felt sole with the wading shoe as close as you are
able. The Barge Cement is a contact cement and once the two surfaces are
joined they will not come apart. I usually start at the heel and work my
way foreword keeping the sole aligned with the lines drawn onto the
replacement felt sole in step two of the directions. There is no need to
rush this operation as you have several hours of glue life for the
operation to be completed. After the replacement sole is in place take a
small hammer and tap the sole from the center working out to the edges.
While compressing the edges of the replacement felt sole with your
fingers, work your way from front to back and apply Duck Tape to hold the
compressed edges down against the wading shoe bottom as tightly as
possible. Repeat this same procedure with the other wading
After 24 hours of drying time the
Duck Tape can be removed and any excess of the replacement felt sole may
be trimmed. The easiest method that I’ve found to trim the excess felt is
with a razor utility knife. Hold the boot with the bottom of the felt sole
facing you. Using the wading shoe sole as a guide run the utility knife up
through the replacement felt sole and cut along the shoe sole following
the contour of the wading shoe sole from front to back. Any minor
unevenness in the replacement felt sole will soon wear away after a few
outings in your favorite trout stream.
You are now ready to add your
removable studs if you so desire. During the Replacement Felt Sole
installation process it’s possible that some felt fibers have blocked your
“T” nut screw holes. Take a sharp tool like an ice pick and open those
holes to accommodate the sheet metal screws. . Thread your sheet metal
screws into the holes and your ready to go fishing.
Copyright @ 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005,
2006 by Bob Kloskowski