Michelle, for what it is worth, for safety and reliability, I am sold on Citristrip for furniture type paint stripping. You can leave it on for a couple of hours with no problem but usually it works faster than that. You don't want to use sandpaper but some people use OO to OOOO steel wool. I tend to stay away from this if at all possible as the fibers can get down in the wood and show up later in the finish as rust spots. I use a putty knife, old tableware knife and a couple of dental tools if there is any carving or really tight places but the secret is to let the stripper do the work and you just scrape off the gunk. I have never tried spray strippers but don't think that I would be happy with them as they would probably evaporate too fast. If you use Citristrip, be sure to follow with their finish wash as it gets off some of the residue that is down in the wood grain and leaves the surface almost ready for the finish. Citristrip has a web site if you have any questions (citristrip.com).