Ok, so this is not fun. Scraping, re-applying, washing, scrubbing..three coats of zip strip and one layer of orange-citrus smelling stuff in a spray bottle which would have been nifty if it had only worked. It did help take old paint/varnish/stain off, but the spray bottle clogged after the first two squirts and had to be shaken, and twisted after every four or five thereafter. It was runny, messy, oily, and only marginally efficient.
Every time I refinish furniture, I vow that this will be my last piece...and it is always at this stage that I vow it.
Ah well, I'm sure that by doing a little every evening after work I'll be able to get most of the paint off. I am a little concerned with the stains underneath the paint. It looks like there might be some India ink, and lots of run over from the stripper. Maybe I can use a little bleach water on it, or thinner with a good scrubbing rag...hmm.