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Stripping/sanding Advice Needed! Firebird!

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So, i'm stripping the finish off a project Firebird and i'm coming up on the most difficult part. As many of you are aware, Gibson Firebirds (the reverse kind) are of neck-through construction and have a slight thickness difference between the neck stock going through the body, and the wing pieces attached to it. It winds up leaving about a 1/8" step there. I've very crudely referenced the area in this pic:


Anyway.......the difficult part is going to be sanding this area out clean while still preserving the edge of the wood there. I've been sanding the rest of the guitar by hand (a *bit* of random orbital on the flat spots). Do you think there's any good way to sand the finish out of this area??

One thought i had was to use a nice, long, squared off sanding block as to not jump the edge and sand it down.

The other thought in my head was that maybe it would be a good idea to consider stripping that area with heat. I had been resistant to go the heat route for the entire guitar because i've been doing the work on my roof (BROOKLYN!) and didnt want hot paint flakes flying everywhere. But at this point there's so little to strip that i'm not as worried.

The finish i'm removing is that nasty poly candy-coating that they keep putting on new guitars nowadays, if it matters.

Any thoughts?? Thanks.

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