- Test the wood finish you want to remove to make sure it is shellac and not lacquer. Numerous pieces of wood furniture will have a combination of lacquer and shellac. Pour a small amount of denatured alcohol on a clean cloth and wipe a small section of the wood.
- Watch to see if the finish has dissolved. If the finish dissolves completely, it is shellac. If it does not dissolve but just softens, the finish has a mixture of lacquer and shellac. In this case you want to create a solution of equal amounts of lacquer thinner and denatured alcohol.
- Apply the denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner and denatured alcohol mixture to the surface of the wooden furniture. Soak a clean cloth with the solution and wipe small sections of the wood piece at a time. Scrub the surface using a steel wool pad to remove the shellac. Continue doing this on all areas of the wood piece.
- Sand the wood furniture with sandpaper after removing the shellac and before applying a new paint or finish.
Things You Will Need
- Denatured alcohol
- Lacquer thinner (optional)
- Steel wool pad
- Sand paper
- Wear gloves when applying the solution to the wood furniture.