Westone Rebuild

Westone Thunder 1-T Rebuild pt 4…Painting

As I said in part 3, I have decided on a Volvo car colour for the body, a dark blueish grey metallic colour from an aerosol can.  ( I can’t remember the colour name!) I bought grey primer, 2 cans of blue and 2 cans of clear lacquer from my local Halford car parts shop as well as some 600 grit and 1500 grit wet and dry paper.

The body was filled, sanded, filled, primed and sanded as described in the last post, until I had an even base of grey primer. I didn’t get the body immaculate…there are still a few small dings, mainly on the edges, but it’s a whole lot better than it was, and perfection wasn’t what I was aiming for…just a decent looking usable guitar bought back from the dead!

Finally, I started laying down the base colour. I hung the body on my washing line in the garden and heated the cans of paint in hot water until they were warm. This raises the pressure in the can, allowing the paint to flow faster anD to cover more evenly. ( A trick I learned from my model car building buddies).

I laid down a couple of light “mist” coats to begin with, until the whole body had an even covering of the metallic blue, then built up layer by layer, allowing the paint time to dry in the warm (indoors) for a few hours between each coat. This allows the paint to “gas out” which lets the solvents used to propel the paint from the can evaporate between coats, which in turn helps the whole drying and paint hardening process.

I gradually built up the paint layers, getting a wetter, heavier coat on each time, but also making sure i didn’t get any runs in the paint. Eventually I had used two full cans of blue on the body, and I had a pretty even, semi-gloss finish.

As the paint is metallic it needs a clear lacquer coat to bring out the shine, so after a day or two of drying in my warm office, I repeated the whole process with the clear coats. After the first can I did give the whole body a light sanding with 600 grit wet and dry to flat the surface back, taking out the worst of the unevenness from the finish. This can be a scary process, as the paint goes totally matt again, but if you are careful enough not to go through to the colour coats, it will add to the smoothness of the final paint job.


The painted and polished body
The painted and polished body

 After the two full cans of clear had been used up, I left the body to dry and gas out for a few days while I started gathering the new parts needed. The next part will be about the new bits, but to finish up the body, after the drying process I polished the clear layers with my special polishing kit…again, another model car item.

A polishing kit is a series of small pieces of glass paper, going from 1500 grit right up to 12,000 grit. (which feels like velvet). The process is to sand the body (with water) removing any high spots in the cleat coat. This again will make the paint look matt, but will leave a very smooth finish. After the initial sanding with the 1500 grit, you move to the next finer paper (1800), and repeat the sanding process (always wet, dipping the glass paper in water and using the supplied rubber sanding block to wrap the paper around).

This process polishes the clear coat with finer and finer grades, making the finish super smooth and bringing back the shine. You work through the grades, 2400, 3200, 4000, 6000, 8000 and 12,000 until the final grade doesn’t appear to be doing anything at all. After drying the body and giving it a going over  with guitar polish the results can be pretty spectacular…A glassy shiny smooth paint finish, which should be just as hard wearing as the original.


Ready for rebuilding...
Ready for rebuilding...

As previously mentioned, the finish isn’t perfect, but I’m pretty happy with the results.

The paint cost me about £15, and I already had the other supplies so I’m ready to begin rebuilding in the next post.

Thanks for reading!

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