Thunder 1 Restauration

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Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by GeoffG on Sun Dec 13, 2015 6:45 am


  • I bought a Thunder 1 on EBay recently as a Restauration project. The poor thing looked very sorry for its self!

It had been painted in what looks like black Hamerite almost all over including pickups, control knobs and bridge and saddles.
I have been in touch with Damian (westbone) who has kindly agreed to post the photos of it in the state it was when I bought  it.
I thought that people may be interested in my experience of restoring it.
Everything was very corroded and the saddle adjustment screws were unmovable so I have bought a new Gotoh saddle from Axcaster but in chrome and some chrome control knobs.
I have stripped the paint off body and neck and sanded it back to bare wood.
I believe that the original finish was natural so have gone for the same and have used two products. I have used Osmo Polyx Oil on the body and Burntwood Casy Tru Oil on the neck and headstock. I have used Polyx Oil on my Oak floor and found it very effective and easy to use - it only needs two coats. I am very impressed with the Tru Oil having not used it before.
I have a problem with the electrics in that the bridge pickup did not work when in humbucker mode but when coil tapped was, at first, silent. it seems to be getting louder the more I use it!
Westbone suggested that it could be a faulty coil tap switch or the humbucker
I am a dummie when it comes to electronics but in an attempt at a process of elimination I swapped the red wires from the two humbuckers around on the coil tap switch and it made no difference so I thought that that might show that it was not the coil tap switch that was faulty. I have noticed that it I tap the pickup pole pieces with a screwdriver ithe bridge seems to be as loud  as the neck pickup. I have also noticed that I the volume on the bridge pickup in humbucker mode reduces as I turn the bridge volume knob down so I suspecting that tone pot.
Anyway, I would  be interested to read comments.
Happy winter solstice to all.
Geoff


Last edited by GeoffG on Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:40 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by GeoffG on Sun Dec 13, 2015 6:49 am

I knew I would get something wrong!
It is a Thunder 1 not 1A
(Have edited title now)


Last edited by GeoffG on Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:11 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Westbone on Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:50 am






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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by challpa on Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:51 am

Poor Baby Sad 

Look forward to seeing how she turns out

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Barry on Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:48 pm

Good grief! What is going on with the back of the headstock?!
Looks like it was attacked by a woodpecker with a dull pecker. (And yes, that's exactly what she said clown )

Hey Geoff, your in good hands with Damian advising you. Stick with it and you'll soon have a machine that goes more than "ping!".

If you need a little guidance with the wiring CLICK HERE for a diagram. Best of luck with the resto.

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Sun Dec 13, 2015 6:36 pm

Fun times ahead, these are a nice easy guitar to work on, they also punch well above their weight, good luck!

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Westbone on Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:35 am

Sgt. Vimes wrote: these are a nice easy guitar to work on 
Especially when painted with Hammerite ... Sad

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by corsair on Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:27 am

Holy snapping ducksh1t!! That looks awful, man... I don't know much about Hammerite; is it as hard to remove as the original Westone finish?

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by GeoffG on Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:24 am

Thanks to you all for the encouragement.
Yes, I think the paint was Hammerite hammered finish hence the pitted look. Good paint but not for guitars!
Compared to the time I spent scrapping paint off my windows from the top of a ladder to get a stained look that was all the rage in the 80's this was easy!

Re electrics, Westbone is supplying me with a replacement pickup for the bridge as he diagnosed the existing on as very poorly indeed.
I am waiting for three chrome control knobs to arrive and when I have fitted those and the replacement 
pickup I will take a photo and ask Damian to post it.
I already have a Thunder1A that I bought new in 1982, (see my profile picture).
I have a holiday home in South West France and intend to leave this guitar there.
A Thunder here and in France - paradise in two countries!

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Adey on Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:36 am

Can you salvage the original knobs? They look like the right ones under all the paint....

It looks like someone has just tried to turn it into a Thunder Jet.

Looks like a nice project though, and you'll have a great guitar at the end of it.

Good Luck!!

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Crumplezone on Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:37 am

Where did you get the chrome knobs from? I need at least one for mine, but not bothered about originality.

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by GeoffG on Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:57 am

Got the chromed knobs from here

http://www.tomtop.com/3pcs-chromed-metal-dome-knobs-knurled-barrel-for-electric-guitar-parts-silver-i165.html

Looks like they are coming from China so could be some time before they arrive!
Cheap though - £4.47 including postage.
Will post what they are like when they arrive.

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Westbone on Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:27 pm

Good quality knobs indeed. When fitting them get the set screw to line up with the slit in the pot shaft otherwise they crimp up the splined shaft and wobble when you turn them. There's no spline in them.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/271095232156?ssPageName=STRK:MESINDXX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1436.l2649

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Crumplezone on Mon Dec 14, 2015 1:52 pm

Brilliant. Thanks Geoff & Westbone.

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Shaky fingers on Tue Dec 15, 2015 5:04 am

I spotted that guitar on evilbay (I like to keep an eye on the Westones and a few others), glad its gone to a good home!

And for those who are unfamiliar, Hammerite is supposedly anti rust paint for things like bare metal railings and gates. Definitely not guitars....

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by GeoffG on Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:22 am

Chrome knobs arrived today. Seem good value.
It took 12 days to arrive from China.
Photos will appear soon - when my wife stops finding me xmasy jobs to do!

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Westbone on Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:17 am




What a difference. Looks a million times better....Smile

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:21 am

Well ain't a beauty!  Good job well done! 
Now get back in the kitchen and prep those sprouts!

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by mortarman120gang11c on Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:28 am

Love the wood grain on that one. Great job.

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by iep on Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:21 am

I've just bought a a thunder A1 that is basically sound but the finish has gone very Yellow over the years.

I am considering refinishing and was encourages by the results you posted. Could you describe the process you used to remove the paint and (presumably) original finish beneath?

Thanks,

iep

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Westbone on Tue Jan 26, 2016 7:27 am

Personally I'd leave as is, it's taken 30 odd years to get that patina.
Unless it's got paint or dings all over it...Cool

I've a few just like you describe and would never touch them.

Get a beat up one and do it up by all means.

Just my opinion..Smile

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by iep on Tue Jan 26, 2016 8:59 am

It's a fair comment. The guitar is in pretty good condition overall. It does genuinely need to be dismantled, properly cleaned and reassembled but I could leave the finish as is.

However, it is (despite me looking for a long while) not one of the 'pretty' Thunders that you see. The wood grain is not particularly nice and the ash 'wings' either side of the central portion of the body are themselves laminates of miss-matched ash.

The upshot is that I am considering doing something radical like this:

http://forum.westoneguitars.net/t5212p80-back-from-the-dead-t1a-restoration?highlight=restoration

That said, I have only seen photos so far (a good load though) so will maybe take a softer line when I see it in the flesh.

Either way, I'd be very grateful for any advice on how best to strip the existing finish should I want to take that path.

Cheers,

iep

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by GeoffG on Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:34 am

Hi iep,
The stripping process was pretty easy.
I used Nitromors paint stripper and one of those three sided scrapers with one side flat, one side concave and the other side convex. It was not very sharp which is a good thing because it was less likely to put gouges in the wood than a sharp tool.
You cand find Nitomore pretty easily and the scrapper too. I got mine from the local B & Q.
You need to keep putting the Nitromors on and then scrapping them more Nitromors etc.
Once most of the paint or original varnish is of it was then lots of hand sanding. I could have made life easier by using a power sander for some of it but I think you have more control by hand.
Hope that helps.
Geoff

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by iep on Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:11 am

Thanks, really helpful.

As an aside and partly in answer to Westbone. Where do people even find this beat up examples? All the ones on eBay etc seem to be being sold on by collectors or re-sellers so none are cheap (or particularly beat up).

Cheers,

iep

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by GeoffG on Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:26 am

Not wishing to gloat but I got mine for £74 from eBay and recently bought a Matsumoku made Aria Pro 2 Laser bass for £102. So they are about.

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by iep on Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:40 am

That is just gloating!

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Westbone on Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:30 pm

Whatever you do to it? staining ect. will only highlight missmatched grain/timbers...Sad

Any photos?

Have a peep at this grain.



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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Meadows on Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:43 pm

Please let me know if you ever get bored of that fine beast Wink

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by iep on Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:02 pm

That too is gloating Smile

Here's mine. I shouldn't complain, the neck is good, fret wear minimal and all the electronics work fine. However, the appearance is just not as nice as others I have seen. In particular the mismatch between the two pieces of ash that form the left wing make it look a bit less musical instrument and a bit more 'breadboard'. Possibly I just need to ignore it but I was thinking that a dark stain on the wings might improve the appearance.




What do people think?

Cheers,

iep

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by corsair on Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:42 pm

First up, stating the obvious, it looks in very nice nick indeed and while the grain is a little plain, it is still quite pretty!

That said, it is yours and you can do whatever you like to it, eh, and if you'd like to stain it, then have at it.... bearing in mind that staining is a lot harder to reverse if you don't like it than paint when it's done!

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by iep on Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:08 pm

Ta Corsair.

If I'm honest I have not taken delivery yet so I could still cancel. I'm a bit torn because the condition is great (and very little play) but the appearance is not as nice as some I have seen.

My guess though is that few come up in this condition and may be I should get over myself (after all it is for playing). I also paid a fair price.

With a refinish t could maybe be beautiful......

Cheers,

iep

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Westbone on Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:49 pm

Best way to hide that grain is with a  Ash Black colour.

You'd need a black tinted lacquer for best results.

http://i2.wp.com/www.westoneguitars.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/051.jpg

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:25 pm

Personally I would leave that as is, a good honest guitar that's been looked after.
But..I would clean out the grain below/between the pickups and rub in some tru oil to protect from more corrosion.

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Barry on Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:14 pm

Well since it has become a Thunder festival... Smile

 

They're all so different eh?

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by iep on Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:37 am

Barry, that is another nice one!

I'm not sure if I'll go for a full re-finish but if I do I'll probably go for a dark blue or red stain on the wings. Black is a bit too dark I reckon (though I know the Thunder 2s (or was it threes) came with a black finish on the wings).

Cheers,

iep

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Westbone on Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:17 am

Both the Thunder I + IA's came in a black trans finish.
Look at the bottom of the page on the link.
http://i2.wp.com/www.westoneguitars.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/051.jpg

Red or blue stain is gonna make that odd grain jump out at ya! beleive me but it's yours so stain away...Cool

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by iep on Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:23 am

Thanks for the link. I'd not seen any black ones.

I would have thought that a dark red stain (with some black grain filler across both wings) might have gone some way to balancing the overall appearance. I figured this as the area of mismatched grain is quite red itself. So, rather than trying to mute it, bring the rest of the body up to match it. Just a thought though.

Black would obviously work better but it looks a bit severe.

I'll hopefully have the guitar in the flesh next week so we'll see how I feel about it then.

Cheers,

iep

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Westbone on Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:27 am

Sgt. Vimes wrote:Personally I would leave that as is, a good honest guitar that's been looked after.

Agreed.

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by iep on Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:03 am

Hah! You purists. Well, I'll see how it looks and plays in the flesh next week. No decisions until then.

I blame Sgt. Vimes anyway. If it wasn't for his blue Blue Thunder thread none of this would even have occurred to me Smile

iep

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:53 am

Oh great, thanks!  Just don't blame me if you balls it up Smile 

Btw did you see my green T1 refinish?

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by iep on Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:01 am

I did. It is also beautiful but I have to say it's the Blue one that really grabbed me. The whole blue, brass, maple look is really sweet.

iep

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by Westbone on Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:10 am

I'm no purist but you have to have a decent grain to start with.

Just for the record here's a factory trans black.



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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

Post by iep on Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:17 am

Nice actually.

I've decided to stop hi-jacking this thread and start my own. More pics of my own Thunder here:

http://forum.westoneguitars.net/t5868-new-thunder-1a-new-to-me

Cheers,

iep

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Re: Thunder 1 Restauration

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