Here’s an unusual guitar on the workbench.
A Stevens by Fender made by Michael Stevens.
Michael Stevens is a renown Luthier working out of Alpine, Texas. In 1986 he became the Founder and Senior Design Engineer of the Fender Custom Shop along with design engineer John Page. Together they designed and made guitars for many named artists. Read more here
This beauty has taken a tumble and the inevitable has happened, a broken headstock.
As evident from the serial number this guitar was one of the first few in the run. I can’t be exact as to where this guitar was made but the decal suggests it was out of the Fender Custom Shop.
The electrics cavity-cover bears two signatures and a date which adds to the intrigue.
It is decided that an invisible headstock repair should be made. This complicates matters as spraying a headstock with a coloured lacquer, so as to disguise the repair, will obliterate the decal. And the decal is essential to authenticate the instrument.
It will be impossible to save the existing decal as the finish on the back of the headstock will need to be scraped back to the Mahogany. After considered thought it is decided that new decals should be designed and made up.
Firstly the damage to the headstock is repaired, hot hide-glue is used for this. The break is clean with a large gluing area.
The neck and headstock are stripped down using a simple cabinet scraper. This ensures that the finish is removed in a controlled and careful manner.
The guitar body, fingerboard, edge-binding and headstock face are masked off and the guitar prepped for the spray booth.
The first coat is applied – this is the base colour mixed with clear gloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer
Layer upon layer of this mix is sprayed onto the neck to eventually fill the grain and to bring the finish up above the surface.
The lacquer is cut back in preparation of attaching the decals
The water-slide decals are soaked, applied to the surface and left to dry.
The neck has several coats of clear lacquer applied. This gives depth to the finish and also offers protection for the decals
The surface of the neck and headstock are burnished and polished and the tuners reinstated.
All in all a good result and another quality guitar back in action.
More pics available on Flickr