This section is from the book "The Boy Mechanic Vol. 2 1000 Things for Boys to Do", by Popular Mechanics Co.. Also available from Amazon: The Boy Mechanic, Vol2: 1000 Things for Boys to Do.
A good heel or toe plate can be made by driving ordinary thumb tacks into the leather of the shoe heel or sole. The shape can be varied by using tacks the Heads of the Tacks Form a Wearing Surface Equal to an Ordinary Heel Plate having different-sized heads. - Contributed by James T. Gaffney, Chicago, Ill.