Gypsy Rose Lee was born on this day in 1914. She turned “taking it off” into an art form. If you’ve got prized furniture with a few “bumps” and dings, you don’t have to “grind” off the old surface before refinishing. Like Gypsy, you will find stripping works best. It’s the fastest and easiest way to reveal the bare surface. And you’ll get plenty of applause when you’re done. The most powerful paint strippers contain methylene chloride. It works fast, usually within 15 minutes, but requires great care in it’s use. Apply it outdoors or with ample ventilation, and wear a respirator with safety goggles and rubber gloves. Cover the floor with newspaper, not plastic. There are also nontoxic water-based strippers that work more slowly and safely. Either way, pat on a thick coat with a brush and scrape it off when it softens. With curves, crevices and filigrees, get creative with small brushes and steel wool. When you are through, you will have a bare beauty ready for a shiny new coat of whatever.