My friend David acquired a 1991 Fender Strat with a strange history - someone had covered the entire guitar in white latex house paint. Literally every part of it: body, pickguard, pickups, neck, fingerboard, everything - it was like a "ghost" guitar or something. The guitar's next owner had done a good job removing most of the paint, and when I first saw it there were only a few traces left, deep within the grain of the rosewood fingerboard and in various spots among the bridge saddles. David, however, is a very thorough kind of guy, and when he's done with any project, it's as perfect as possible; when he acquired the Strat, he tore it completely apart and really gave it a good cleaning. Now, there are no traces of its former Sherwin Williams paint job.
While this MIM (made in Mexico) Stratocaster was apart, David also made a lot of improvements to it: he completely shielded the pickup cavities in copper foil, installed a toneful brass tremolo block, replaced the pickguard with a mint-colored Allparts loaded with Squier Classic Vibe alnico pickups, and shaped and fitted a new nut made of some modern super slippery material. On top of that, he did a complete fingerboard setup - leveled and recrowned the frets, beveled and smoothed each fret end, and even rolled the edges of the rosewood fingerboard. The result was nothing short of the finest playing Strat I'd ever had my hands on, and I've played more than a few. David also shined up the original "Beach Boys White" body paint and buffed up the finish on the neck, so the guitar now looked as nice as it played.
I guess it's just in my nature to mess things up. Soon after buying it a few months ago (wait, I forgot to mention that part; well, I did), I took it apart again and started changing things, such as installing a gold anodized pickguard with a couple Duo Sonic pickups, and nickle neck plate and jack cup. That's one of the cool things about Fenders and Fender clones - there's literally thousands of different parts and ways you can mod them to suit your own taste. The first thing I did was to remove the original cast zinc tuning machines (most likely made by Ping and actually quite good quality), and replace them with a set of vintage type gears. Gotoh in Japan makes some nickle plated Kluson style tuners that are probably hands down the finest ever made - smooth, stable, and with immaculate fit and finish.
First step is installing the replacement bushings. The factory drilled holes in this headstock are 10.5mm in diameter, and need adapter / conversion bushings, made to retrofit vintage type tuners with 1/4" shafts into headstocks that have been drilled to the larger size that newer style tuners require. They're the press-fit type, and pieces of 1" width, thin pine lath stock on each side of the headstock (to protect the finish on both the tuners and the headstock) and a C-clamp did the trick to press each bushing in individually, slowly and carefully.
What's not shown here is the next step, which was to drop the new tuners down each hole, and with their posts snuggled into the new bushings, the machines were positioned in a straight line - see the photo below to see what that looks like. While making sure all of the tuners' posts were perpendicular to the back of the headstock and free to turn smoothly without binding in the bushings, I used a small sharp scribing tool as a punch to mark the position of each of the seven mounting screws.