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Dealing with binding

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So I've decided to go ahead and refinish the top on my Martin D-16 GT which has the top coat separating from the sealer. As it has plastic binding it is sanding only. (Chemicals will dissolve the binding.) The question is, how will the binding stand up to sanding? And, I assume the top coat is on top of the binding as well? So gently around the edges and the binding will be thick enough to remove the top coat off it and then sand it smooth with the top itself? What grit for the binding and immediate area? I was going to take the top down to 320, will that leave marks in the binding that won't fill? Or will they? Some experience here would be helpful. Thanks.

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Plastic binding usually is cleaned with a scraper, or rather a razor blade or something as thin.

You can use your fingers as a depth guide, but I've also seen a scraper modified to have a binding size notch filed at one end. The smoothness depends on how you sharpen your scraper and the file used for doing that.

Sanding with relatively fine paper won't hurt the binding more than the wood assuming your sanding technique is up to the task. I mean, the novice mistake is to apply too much pressure on the paper while the right amount should be such that the tips of the "sand" grains act as microscopic blades gathering microscopic shavings in between. Or, like I said elsewhere, it's like mowing your lawn either with a roller or with the mower blades hovering at the desired cutting level.

You can also use a scraper or a one-sided razor blade for removing the top coat from the entire guitar and finish it with the 320 paper. That might be both the fastest and safest method.

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