If you’re considering removing the old finish on a piece of furniture yourself, I recommend you follow a few guidelines to strip furniture safely, without damaging the wood.
First, stripper or paint remover works best in mild temperatures, from 60 to 80 F. Use a well ventilated area for your safety. A basement or heated garage in cooler climates is not recommended, as fumes can get into a heating system and cause premature damage.
Second, some stripping instructions advise a person to water wash the stripper residue from the piece being stripped. While water washing is faster and more thorough, there are negative aspects. Water washing will raise the grain, creating a need for extra sanding, can cause glue joints to fail, and will eliminate the patina, changing the natural color of the wood. Solvent stripping will not cause any of the above. Check the label on the container to find out which solvent works best for your project.