Henry in MI-- I first used a heat gun to get the 4 coats of paint off. From there I used chemical strippers, actually two different kinds (Zip Strip and Klean Strip's Strip X Stripper). I used tools and steel wool for this stage of stripping. The wood is possibly fir pine or white pine. Oh, after the heat gun I did also use an electric sander to get more residue off with very coarse paper. The wood is probably very old. I bought this house 2 years ago and the house is at least 80 years old. But I have no idea exactly how old. Any suggestions?