Most photo sensitive woods I've worked do respond to being sanded but there
are variables so no guarantees.
You can use any stripper that works for you. For a nice piece of furniture
I'd prefer a card scraper and reserve the chemicals to soften up finish in
tough to get too places. Things like inside carvings and ornamental areas.
I would try to pin down what you are dealing with. A little alcohol in and
unobtrusive area and see if it softens the finish. If yes, the finish is
alcohol. If no, try lacquer thinner, if yes the finish is lacquer. Since
each is a solvent for the respective finish you can use them to aid in
removing the finish. If neither bothers the finish it is something that will
need, if you are going to use chemicals, a stripper.
Me, I'd use a lacquer. You could also. If you have no spray equipment you
can get Deft in spray cans at most home stores.
However, use what ever you are comfortable with. Just remember that any
finish will have some effect on how the bare wood looks. Not usually a big
problem but in your case you will want to test a finish in an unobtrusive
spot to see how it matches up with the rest of the set you are trying to
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