1982 Thunder I-A Restore & Blue Trans Finish

Icon Blue Thunder  by Forum member Sgt. Vimes on July 18, 2014

Back from the dead!

Read full Forum discussion here: http://westone.netboarder.com/t5212-back-from-the-dead-t1a-restoration

The body and neck are in great physical shape, just a couple small dinks here n there, but…the finish is worn off in places under the (horrid) paint job so its a total refinish from bare wood, including the neck as it had been re-varnished at some point. The gain circuit functions ok.

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I got all my gear together to start sanding this down. Apart from a few deep seeped stains the body is in great nick, the brasswork has had a first coat of clear too.  Definitely going for an oil finish, the high gloss poly job is just going to be too expensive and time consuming, plus I have the oil here.


It looks like this has had 3 paint jobs over the years, black, blue and that last silver horror show, some was undercoated, some not.  I’m happy to leave the dark remnants in the grain there as it’ll have a black wash and sandback before I colour it, I could keep sanding forever trying to get that out!.

I mixed the black stain with the grain filler, and applied.

Then sanded it back to wood and sprayed on the very last of my sand sealer.

and the same for the headstock

I don’t think I’ll give it a black stain as the stained filler seems to have done the required job.

Sanded back the sanding-sealer and applied blue stain, sanded back again as I missed quite a few patches of sealer!
More blue, waited an hour then one more coat and that’s what you see here. Since these pics they’ve had 3 super thin coats of Tru-Oil which has obviously taken the blue to a vague green hue, almost the teal I was after…almost.

Is there any truly clear linseed based oils on the market like this Tru Oil?

Here after 3 or 4 extremely thin coats of oil, another couple of the same then wire wool.

Headstock so far…

Another coat on the neck drying in the sun…it’s outrageous how good this tru-oil is, self leveling up to a point, dries so fast and feels beautiful, love it.

The bridge and saddles cleaned, polished a bit and lacquered, the knobs are Gretsch copies, same dimensions and look rather good.


Notice the woodworm’s lunch between the pickups here?

And one to show how the Gretsch knobs look

I’m really happy with how this turned out, thanks to all you fellas for your suggestions, help and comments.

Post Script
Stain used: Bolgers water based