Remove ALL metal parts from wood. Get a can of Formby's refinisher. Read directions. Be careful, stuff is more inflammable that an insulted redhead. This is not a stripper, but it disolves and sort of redistributes most finishes. After THOROUGHLY dry, decide if you want an oil finish, or shellac (not varnish, dammit, SHELLAC) which is what they used. If oil, get a bottle of Linspeed. Shellac, visit Home Depot.
daily trivia- Shellac is made from a resin secreted by the Lac insect, dissolved in alcohol.
What we have here is... failure- to communicate.