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Stripping/refinishing Question

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a customer brough me a great sounding old 70's gibson flat top with some finish issues..the neck and headstock have serious lacquer cracks and the body sports a truly botched refinish attempt. the top was partially stripped then sanded then i'm not sure what. the sides were shot with what appears to be poly over the existing lacquer and has a lot of runs. anyway, i'm going to completely strip it and start over. so the question..is there any way in the world to strip or partially strip the headstock without removing the original gibson decal? it's probably going to be easier to strip it and then make another decal but i was just wondering if any of you had a trick up your sleeve.

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Is there a problem specifically with the headstock face that it needs to be sanded completely back down again?

I mean, can you tape the face off to preserve the decal and just refin the rest of it, including the face when you shoot the new lac coats?

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thanks al..that's probably what i'm going to end up doing.

drak, it's a 70's instrument and the headstock has darkened a lot and has major lacquer cracking. i'm actually going to french polish the whole guitar and i think the headstock needs to match the rest of it.

i think what i'll try first, without any great expectation of sucess is to very lightly sand the finish over the decal and see if i can smooth it down til there's just a bit left covering the decal and then sand around it to bare wood. then try to buff out the finish left over the decal without burning through it and blend the shellac to the edges of what's left over the decal.

hey, it's worth a try, right? :D if that doesn't work i'll just make another decal.

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