Refinishing antique mahogany
My grandmother has a dresser with a mirror on top of it made out of mahogany. It was apparently bought when my great great grandparents got married. According to her, it was painted an ugly brown color, beneath that white, and god knows what under/before that. Anyways, she knows this because she stripped the wood, she wasn't too clear, but she says it was way back in the 70s or something, and repainted it. I don't know when it was bought exactly, but I know my great grandparents (who are still alive) are in their 90s, so this is at least over 100 years old.
When she repainted it, she used an ugly green color that she was in at the time. She used some sort of paint that was supposed to make it look old and antique. She also put little indents in the wood while doing this, although these are very minor.
So, my recommendation was to sand it, put a dark stain on it, and then some clear Shellac to give it a look like it may have looked when it was originally bought. She says sanding may be too rough on it, and that chemical paint removers would work, then sand it (as in, sanding it to break the paint is too much sanding, but a light sanding is fine). Although, I agree with her, mainly because I think there is lead in that paint due to it's age.
So I'm wondering: what's the best thing to do to refinish it?
To be clear, this furniture has drawers and a mirror on it, not 100% wood. This makes it a big harder. It's also "curvery" in shape.