Used to be in the antiques business and got into quite a few of these. If you are lucky the original varnish/finish was on it when they painted it. If not you will have problems with paint in the pores. Take your time doing it, may have to go over it many times. I always used the so called "furniture refinishers" (really a mix of strong alcohols) as a final wash. Cleans it up real nice. Be careful of the fumes, can get a real high from it. Good luck!