Stripping black lacquered bamboo

A friend has a 60 year old table made in the Philippines. It isn't very well made, but is his only remembrance of his father. It is in sad condition and he would like me to refinish it.
The top is easy. It is flat lauan with no discernable finish; I can just sand and varnish it. The bottom is bamboo with a black lacquer. The lacquer has flaked off a quarter of it, and is loose on much of the rest. If I can get it all off cleanly I would like to just varnish it. If it doesn't all come off, or leaves a bad surface, I would paint it black.
So, how do I get 60 year old black varnish off bamboo?
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Well... if it is lacquer you can use lacquer thinner or acetone and if it's just paint you could just use a stripper. Do some disolve tests if that's the way you want to try and go. However, if the black was applied to unfiinsihed bamboo stripping will probably never give you a clean enough surface to refinish it in a natural tone. So I would just start with the concept of redoing the black varnish\lacquer.
Sand out any chips, rough sand the whole thing and clean up any areas of bad adhesion of the original finish. If the surface is really bad then use some spackle or the like to smooth it out or just a heavy primer. Then paint.

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