Another method for removing a lot of old paint, if you've really got a mess is heat. You can purchase a heat gun for about 20-50 bucks. Apply the heat to only the areas you want the paint to lift. I recommend using a piece of 1/4" plywood, or a small piece of pine shim for a scraper, it won't damage the wood, but it'll burn, but not as quick as plastic melts. You'll have to get the heat gun trick down, but it is relatively fast, albeit a bit smelly, but it doesn't require caustic chemicals. I have tried stripper, and well, it isn't nearly as effective, trust me. If you use heat on wood varnish for bright work use extra extra caution, burns are tough to sand out. Finally, one last note, have a fire extinguisher ready, or a buck with water in case you catch anything on fire. The scraper can catch fire, and the water will also serve to cool it down. Wear gloves and eye protection, and open the room to outside air as well. It sounds dangerous, but it is a great way to move alot of paint.