Thunder 1-A restoration

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Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Fri May 22, 2015 9:45 am

Well I finally got around to starting the restoration job. I bought this from someone who started a restore job but never quite got into into. She looked rough but solid and a fair few missing parts. There is beautiful grain in it so I wanted to highlight and darken this. I've never done a restoration of a guitar before although I do restore other things. This might get picture heavy as I can't resist! Here's what she was like when I got her, and a few after she began to come back to life. I was a bit concerned with the fret wear so I tackled this first. I made my own levelling bar from a uni strut and some 600 grit wet and dry. I had to take quite a bit off to get out the divots but had nothing to lose! It went pretty good. Any tips or comments along the way are appreciated and respected. Cheers

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Fri May 22, 2015 9:46 am

Hmm, photos didn't upload?

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Barry on Fri May 22, 2015 9:33 pm

Shumer wrote:Hmm, photos didn't upload?
Have a look at THIS POST for some help.

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Sat May 23, 2015 1:40 am

You need a minimum of ten forum posts iirc,

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Sat May 23, 2015 5:44 am


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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Barry on Sat May 23, 2015 1:59 pm

That would be a 10 day wait.

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Fri May 29, 2015 5:25 pm


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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Fri May 29, 2015 5:31 pm

Nice!

what colours are you thinking? also what finish?

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Fri May 29, 2015 5:51 pm

Right, I can now post photos!!So here she is in the conditon I got her in.  Since then I have sanded both body and neck down to 320 grit and got her baby smooth.  I wanted the grain to really stand out softer much deliberation I decided to dye the wings in colron medium oak (wish i'd been bolder and gone blue!). I wanted to fill the grain but couldn't find any grain filler so i made my own. I was in the man shed and found my orbital sander tray was full of really fine oak sawdust so i made a paste with the sawdust and some clear varnish and some dye. It was a nice consistency and went on well.  First tip here, dont be too eager to sand it off!!! I made this mistake and dragged it all back out of the grain.







Going a bit nuts with the pre photos here! she was a bit rough when i got her but solid.  I was worried about that fret wear though! look at the grooves worn in them.  they were one of the first things i wanted to sort out as i thought a refret was in order. so with nothing to lose, i decided to tackle them and give them a full level and crown. I had used a steel strut bar that i had and stuck 400 grit wet&dry to it.  I masked up the board and got the sharpie out, 


and here she is after the first few passes of the new homemade file.  no going back!

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Fri May 29, 2015 6:01 pm

Excellent, plenty to do but it'll fly by!
don't worry about the amount of pics, keep em coming
Thumb Up

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by corsair on Fri May 29, 2015 6:46 pm

That'll buff right out!! :-) You've just put the pickups bridge and neck back on for these photos, eh?!

Looking forward to seeing how this turns out!

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Sun May 31, 2015 9:44 am

corsair wrote:That'll buff right out!! :-) You've just put the pickups bridge and neck back on for these photos, eh?!

Looking forward to seeing how this turns out!
All those pics are how I got the guitar. Someone had mostly sanded it back and all the missing bits you don't see, never came with with it. I have the frets levelled, crowned and polished. Pics on the way shortly. Came out good.

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Sun May 31, 2015 9:58 am

Right gents, out of all the missing parts I need, I want to get the brass nut made. I have found someone locally who will make one for €30. Is this a good price? I've seen his work and he does fine work and even scallops the nuts if you want ( I don't want) unless anyone has Someone in mind, or someone has a spare nut ( like you do!) I will get him to make one. I will need all the specs though, are they listed on this site somewhere, I can't find it through searching. I will need the specs below if someone is kind enough to measure their nuts ( and I don't ask many men that!!

The thickness of the nut from front to back

The height of the nut

The height of the string groove from the bottom of the nut to the bottom of the string groove. (both front and back measurements)


String spacing 


Fretboard radius

Thanks in advance 

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by gittarasaurus on Sun May 31, 2015 11:32 am

you might have a look at ebay, there are loads of part sellers.
a brass nut is easy to find, likely for less than 30 euros too.
here in the US, i can find one for 10 bucks.

don't know if it is the size you need, but just for example check here

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Sun May 31, 2015 11:50 am

43 x 6.5(front to back) x 6 (height)
35mm string spacing E to E
the string grooves entirely depend on the height of your frets in relation to the nut channel.
Iirc its a standard LP size nut, but the rest will have to be tweaked in relation to your guitar.

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Sun May 31, 2015 3:06 pm

gittarasaurus wrote:you might have a look at ebay, there are loads of part sellers.
a brass nut is easy to find, likely for less than 30 euros too.
here in the US, i can find one for 10 bucks.

don't know if it is the size you need, but just for example check here
Thanks for the info.  I may have to adapt my thinking

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Sun May 31, 2015 3:11 pm

Sgt. Vimes wrote:43 x 6.5(front to back) x 6 (height)
35mm string spacing E to E
the string grooves entirely depend on the height of your frets in relation to the nut channel.
Iirc its a standard LP size nut, but the rest will have to be tweaked in relation to your guitar.

Thanks for the detail. Having never had to replace a nut before i never thought of the finer points.  Knowing now that it is a standard les paul size, it might be better to buy a slotted les paul nut and then adjust to size my self.  Can i file out the bottom to adjust the slot height as i don't have slot files.  I can file the bottom dead square though.  You're really quick with the replies guys

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Sun May 31, 2015 3:12 pm

Yes, yes you can  Smile

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Sun May 31, 2015 3:23 pm




The frets polished up good. They are super smooth and nicely shaped.  This came out pretty good for a first time.  I used mineral oil to revive the dry fret board and after letting it soak in and buffed off it looks good. It's a satisfying job to complete

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Sun May 31, 2015 3:25 pm

Sgt. Vimes wrote:Yes, yes you can  Smile

Brilliant, thanks.  I'd kinda prefer to do it myself.  It's becoming personal this resto!

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Sun May 31, 2015 3:34 pm

Very nice indeed! 
Did you use a crowning file or a regular flat file?

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by corsair on Sun May 31, 2015 4:59 pm

Shumer wrote:
corsair wrote:That'll buff right out!! :-) You've just put the pickups bridge and neck back on for these photos, eh?!

Looking forward to seeing how this turns out!
All those pics are how I got the guitar. Someone had mostly sanded it back and all the missing bits you don't see, never came with with it. I have the frets levelled, crowned and polished. Pics on the way shortly. Came out good.

Ahh; righto!! Gee, those frets look good and yeah; isn't it satisfying to do this stuff yourself?? ;-)

You know, the re-finish of this could be ultra-personal, like Sgt. Vimes green one - which I like lots - so before committing to a standard clear finish, consider a custom finish.... I've had a ball custom finishing one or two here, eh!! Got one bubbling under presently....

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Sun May 31, 2015 5:05 pm

That's for sure John,  I'll bond with a guitar much more if I've had a ruddy good muck about with it. 

Shumer do I see a hint of new headstock finish there?  Smile

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Sun May 31, 2015 5:47 pm

Sgt. Vimes wrote:That's for sure John,  I'll bond with a guitar much more if I've had a ruddy good muck about with it. 

Shumer do I see a hint of new headstock finish there?  Smile
Great attention to detail there! Yes the headstock has been dyed in oak and had grainfiller and then I've applied some wipe on poly I made by mixing 50/50 clear gloss varnish and white spirit. It was a test bed for the body. I love the natural look when the grain is good and all my other guitars are coloured so I went straight in. Wish it was green though. Or blue. I was keen to start. The back of the neck has had some loving too. Clear wipe on. I was doing 3 thin coats then wet and dry 400 with soapy water. I've now moved on to 600 grit. A lot of time went into that neck so far. And it was a crowning file I got from Chris Alsop custom guitars. Brilliant tool, easy to use and half the price of every other one I've seen. Delivered in 2 days too

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Sun May 31, 2015 5:52 pm

corsair wrote:
Shumer wrote:
All those pics are how I got the guitar. Someone had mostly sanded it back and all the missing bits you don't see, never came with with it. I have the frets levelled, crowned and polished. Pics on the way shortly. Came out good.

Ahh; righto!! Gee, those frets look good and yeah; isn't it satisfying to do this stuff yourself?? ;-)

You know, the re-finish of this could be ultra-personal, like Sgt. Vimes green one - which I like lots - so before committing to a standard clear finish, consider a custom finish.... I've had a ball custom finishing one or two here, eh!! Got one bubbling under presently....
I wanted it natural as I have plenty of coloured guitars around and the grain is so nice. It's the safe (boring) choice but as a first restoration I didn't want to have regrets ( which ironically I Do anyway now!!)I'm committed to the clear finish now, but I do love that green one too. Next time, that's the way I'm going. There will be a next time

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Sun May 31, 2015 6:10 pm

A good idea for the next one you do is to buy some ash veneer sheets,  I think I got 20 8x6" sheets for under £5. Great to test colour/finish ideas on.

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by corsair on Sun May 31, 2015 7:37 pm

Yep; veneer is a great choice - I used a sheet I got from Damian on my APII U-60 which had been snapped in two through the body and had all kinds of fun with green spirirt based stain and many, many coats of clear!!

http://forum.westoneguitars.net/t2458-and-so-it-begins

Don't get wrong; there's nothing wrong with a natural finish and the Thunders generally were interesting to look at so yeah; it's a safe choice but one in keeping with the guitar.

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:42 pm

I see what you mean Corsair about the custom paint. That's an amazing job from something most people would not attempt. I'm loving green guitars. I also ordered a les Paul brass nut today for €9 ready slotted, so thanks to Sgt Vimes for the advice.  Should have it Thursday.

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:40 pm


Here's the file that I bought and used on those frets. Great tool and polishing kit. 

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:13 pm

And here's the neck, sanded to 320 grit, grain filled and coated with the first coats of wipe on poly. I was doing two or three coats, then sanding back with 400 grit wet and dry and soapy water. She's really smooth and looking good. I need to get a logo sorted now if anyone can help. Mine needs just the word Westone. Let me know your thoughts, I'm loving this restoration. 

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:27 pm

Looks really nice!  
I don't think I could use that file, I like to be able to see the fret as it's being filed, just so I know I'm going true, did you have any issues with it?

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:36 pm

The body got the same treatment as the neck and I found that when sanding the curves, it's a lot easier to tape your sandpaper around a 9inch paint roller ( without handle!) after grain filling and sanding I decided to leave the stripe natural and due the wings with colon oak dye. I finished the final grain fill with some mahogany stain as it was thick, the right colour and was there when I need something! 

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:41 pm

Sgt. Vimes wrote:Looks really nice!  
I don't think I could use that file, I like to be able to see the fret as it's being filed, just so I know I'm going true, did you have any issues with it?
Thanks! Having never used a file to dress frets before I found this a dream to use. It fitted the hand perfect and with my finger aligned on the top it kept it true. To be sure I used two fingers on the side of the fret as a guide. What I really liked about it though was no chatter while filing just nice cutting and it was only taking a small amount off so with constant checking and marking with the sharpie they all came out good.

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:46 pm

If you don't mind me asking, where did you find the wipe on poly?

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:56 pm

Sgt. Vimes wrote:If you don't mind me asking, where did you find the wipe on poly?

Do I mind? It's my pleasure to give something back. I made the wipe on poly using clear gloss varnish mixed with white spirit to a 50/50 ratio. I just made half a jam jar full at a time so it didn't evaporate and change viscosity. I just wet the rag and squeezed out the excess so it wasn't dripping, and wiped on with circular motion, and then applied three coats and sanded back with wet and dry. You can't go wrong. It's a tough finish too

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:59 pm

In your last pic, is thatjust stain or poly too?

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:10 pm

No that's just the stain.

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:12 pm

Ok, I was just wondering why you still had the masking tape on Rolling Eyes ignore me Smile

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:15 pm

Haha, it would have been a disaster if I coated over the tape! That would be a custom job too far!!

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:40 pm

I was just rereading this resto and realised you asked for a decal,  I can send you one of mine Smile

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Shumer on Tue Jul 07, 2015 3:30 pm

Sgt. Vimes wrote:I was just rereading this resto and realised you asked for a decal,  I can send you one of mine Smile
that would be brilliant, thanks. That's all she needs to finish the hardware. Just getting around to wiring her up now. She's looking good. I'll post some pics when she's bolted together

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Tue Jul 07, 2015 3:34 pm

Cool,  I look forward to it. 
Pm me your address and I'll send one out when I get a chance.

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:15 am

Sorry, completely forgot about the decal,  I'll try and sort it this week!

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Re: Thunder 1-A restoration

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