[...] so i'm asking oyu guys. is this thing SUCH an antique that it needs to be protected from the iron?
You need to ask yourself!
Some guys go to extraordinary lengths to get an "original" decal for an oil filter (which nobody will ever see) on even semi-vintage cars, while folks like me have no issues completely rewiring it and installing digital instruments.
What's it to you, this Apple, a museum piece or something that you wanna use for some weird purpose?
I have one of the earliest CBM PET's (from before they got sharp edged) and it's so much more a museum piece than your Apple (since it's much more rare), but I have given the dual floppy station and printer away to a needy soul and next time I eyeball the PET, I'm probably gonna give it the axe (literally), as it is no use to me at all - just taking up space. Some people would probably find that unthinkable, but the only thing that has kept it alive is its cute curves and when cute curves gets too old...
So, you should decide the fate of your apple, but if your friends have more say in this than yourself, you can make a 0-modem cable or adapter in 10 minutes.