If you've never tried "Dad's Easy Spray Paint Remover", give it a try. This stuff takes the "work out of removing old paint and varnish". I've tried all kinds of remover products, but this stuff works great!
I refinished a dresser, but decided from that experience refinishing furniture wasn't my "thing". My talents were in re-upholstering. I'd watch for discarded sofas and other upholstered furniture on curbs and next to dumpsters. If the "bones" were still good, I'd haul it home, strip the old upholstery off, and make the piece new again. And this was before recycling was fashionable.