I'm a Steel Magnolia Now
I bought a combo pack of steel wool with three levels of roughness and tried each in succession. The scratchiest stuff worked the best, without scratching the wood. So how did the steel wool measure up to the scraper?
Shall we compare?
The still-gunky right side had denatured alcohol applied to it with a cloth rag and then scraped with a scraper. The smooth and delightful left side (ignore that stupid flash spot) enjoyed the new Houseblogger-Recommended method.
Yet again, it didn't work as perfectly as I'd hoped, but it did work mucho better. Just look how shiny and wonderful it looks.
When I first began this monumental wood-stripping project, I feared the denatured alcohol step. I heard this was supposed to take off the shellac. I was afraid that removing the shellac would remove all the dark color and character from the wood, color and character that could never be restored.
But my fears were unfounded. The pine underneath the shellac is a warm red-brown all by itself. I believe with a coat of fresh shellac, it will darken up a little more and be the beautiful woodwork I know it CAN be.
This is worthy of a celebration. Tequila, anyone?