Old hardwood filing cabinet to renovate

I acquired an old 4-drawer hardwood filing cabinet which could use a facelift, as I'm thinking of using it in my living room.I guess it was made in 1950s. Nice brass fittings. Could be oak, although the wood does look a bit more orangey than typical oak. I saw one of these things in an antique makll in California for $400. So I was delighted when I was offered this one free from a relative here in England.
The woodwork is rather attractive, so I'd like to bring out the beauty of it as much as possible. I'm really not sure what sort of finish it has had. Should I sand the whole thing down to bare wood and refinish? Or should I use a less drastic approach?
Anyone got any tips on renovating the piece? (materials, techniques?)
Thank you,
Jake
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jake asks:

Use some alcohol to see if the finish dissolves. If so, it's shellac which might account for the orange look.

Clean it first. Remove the hardware and clean well to see what really needs doing.
If it's shellacked, cleaning is a start. You may then only need to recoat to restore it.
Charlie Self
"Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft." Theodore Roosevelt
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 23 Sep 2003 08:31:02 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

Charlie, I'll try to obtain some alcohol. Thanks.
Jake
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
DON"T SAND. I often rub with paint thinner to get all the old grunge off. Sometimes remarkable colors emerge. Even if they don't, it's a better place to start than freshly sanded wood. Wilson

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 23 Sep 2003 11:51:43 GMT, "Wilson Lamb"

Wilson, Thanks for the tip. Any particular type of paint thinner?
Jake
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
www.homesteadfinishing.com has a forum dedicated to this. Might have something thought provoking.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.