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Good point about the splintering.

If the knot is more protruding and you can get a good spot to start the cut, you may try to use a thin Japanese flush cut saw (like the one sold at Harbor Freight Tools).

If necessary, you can continue with a small but sharp whittling knife by carefully whittling away small slivers (please protect your hand because the knife will likely slip on the hard wood of the knots). You can finish with the sand paper.

It will be slow, but will less likely to splinter. Also, don't saw completely through in the same direction, but move the saw around/make a counter cut, because otherwise a tearout or splintering may still occur at the end.

Good luck and please let us know how did you do it.
 
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