Fig. C: For reinforcement, use part of the Crosley’s
shell and screw it back on using the original screws.
Fig. D: Cut holes in the Chatter phone’s cradle so the
plungers can move up and down freely. Fig. E: Make
I put the bell on the outside of the Chatter phone by
pop-riveting its mount across the sound vents in the
back. The 2 wires powering the bell tucked neatly
through one of the vents (Figure F).
I assembled the handset last, after testing the
modded body with a working donor handset. The
Crosley’s handset had delicate wiring that melted
under a soldering iron, so I used an older phone
from a thrift store. I gutted the handset, cutting the
wires to the microphone and speaker. Then I used
a coping saw to cut off the Chatter handset’s caps,
½" from each end.
To add sufficient weight to push down the plungers, I hammered a 4" length of ¼" brass pipe into
shape in a vise, threaded the curved pipe through
the handle, and glued it in place. I cut out a hole for
the jack, then fished the wiring through the pipe.
5" sound holes through the end caps,
following the toy’s existing dimple pattern, then
glued in the microphone and speaker. I resoldered
the wire connections, insulated them with tape,
and glued the jack in place. Finally, I taped the caps
back onto the handset tightly, using precisely cut
156 Make: Volume
brackets for the circuit board, screw them to the
board, and then pop-rivet them to the Chatter phone.
Fig. F: Put the bell on the outside of the Chatter phone
by pop-riveting its mount in the back.
red electrical tape that matched the toy almost
perfectly (Figure F).
That’s how I turned a classic toy into a working telephone. Now call someone! With a phone like this,
you’ll have plenty to talk about.
Frank E. Yost is an amateur artist who lives in Andover, Minn.
He wrote the Retro R/C Racer project in MAKE, Volume 11.
When you're about to glue up a crack repair
or any other job where the glue will have to fill
some gaps and be visible, don’t forget to add
some color to the glue. It’s always better to
have the glue line looking a bit darker than
the surrounding wood, and the closer you match the
color the better. Regular powdered artist’s pigments
work well with most any glue, whether water soluble
or catalyzed. —Frank Ford,
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