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Renewing the finish on an old desk

Posted by Dodgeman on March 29th, 2000 12:21 PM

Back in 1952 my father built a desk for me as a Christmas present. I is a full size 6-drawer desk with a top surface dimension of 32X60 inches. I used it through high school, and my son grew up with it and used it through college. It has now been returned to me structurally sound and none the worse for wear (a reflection of my fathers ability as a cabinetmaker) However, the original finish which was a clear varnish has been painted over with brown paint. (This apparently matched my sons' college room) The desk is made from 1/4 and 5/8 inch birch plywood over a maple subframe.
My question is, what would be the best way to strip down to the base wood? I don't want to sand it down as I fear I would go through the top layer of plywood. Is there a product that would strip it completely enough that the wood would take a light stain followed with clear varnish? I know there are products such as citrus strip, but I have never used any of them and would apperciate input by the "pros"
Thanks in advance,

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