chest. posted by Diana on February 15, 2000 at 20:00:34:
Hi, Diana. First, start with a good safe and environmentally responsible stripper like Citristrip. Apply the stripper with a cheap, natural bistle, wood handled brush and just glob it on. Trying to brush back over it to make a nice smooth coat allows the chemicals that do the work to escape.
After the surface has wrinkled, you can remove the old finish with a putty knife but you will probably damage the soft cedar. You can get stripping pads, made by 3M, Citristrip and others at the same place you get the stripper. These will probably be the safest to use. Work in small areas, say one side at a time, so it does not get ahead of you. After you have stripped, wash off the surface with denatured alcohol on a rag. Other things like paint thinner/mineral spirits or Citristrip's paint remover wash could be used but I'm afraid that they would soak down into the wood.
While you are working with any of the chemicals, be sure to wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Work in a well ventilated area and keep kids and pets away. Leave the rag that you used for the alcohol outside for a couple of days to dry completely. Remember that the alcohol is very flammable so don't use it near a source of ignition (furnace, water heater, electric motors and other sources).
Good luck and let us know how this turns out or if you have other questions.