Strip in a cool, shaded, well ventilated area. Do not strip in the basement or near a source of combustion. ALWAYS WEAR GLOVES.
Lay newspapers down to protect the concrete or lawn. If the item is large, you may want to start with the top only, then do the front and sides. Caution: All repairs must be done first. Loose veneer, split boards, shake joints will require gluing. If glue gets on raw wood the stain may not take evenly.
Apply a thick, even coat of stripper. If the finish is thick paint or varnish it will help to lay waxed paper over the stripper. This prevents evaporation. DO NOT let the stripper dry. When the finish is bubbled, remove with the scraper. Pulling towards you instead of pushing the scraper will prevent gouging. (Rounded corners and filed sharp edges are a good idea!) A pick will help get into the tough spots. If all the finish didn't come off, immediately reapply stripper. If needed, use a soft wire brush in hard-to-reach places. Clean the wood with the lacquer thinner and steel wool. Pour onto the surface or dip the steel wool and apply. Scrub lightly with the grain to remove the last of the stripper and finish.
Wipe dry with paper towels. Some pieces will not strip to a light, natural color. Typically, these have been dyed. If a lighter color is desired, the wood will need to be bleached. Sanding the color off will leave a blotchy look. Ordinary Clorox bleach will do - 2 to 3 coats - dry in the sun. For better results use 2 part bleach. Always apply evenly to entire area. Never try to spot bleach, you will not achieve a uniform effect.