Re: 1905 Farmhouse Built-In Cabinet
If the paint was applied to bare, unfinished wood, it's more of a hurdle to overcome than if paint went over some kind of varnish. The vanish or shellac would have sealed the wood, and the subsequent paint could be removed without much trouble. Once paint gets in the grain, it's a problem to get 100% of it back out again. Lots of applications of chemical stripper, and then a good deep sanding is usually required. Those of us who know how to sharpen and deploy the steel cabinet scra-per have an additional tool in our arsenal that is often handy. The sanding and scraping will remove most if not all of the original patina (oxidizing/darkening) that may have developed underneath the paint over time. You can also lose or muddle any original hand-working marks left by the smoothing plane, if the piece was hand-made.
All of these factors point toward a conclusion that the most practical approach is repainting.
Remember, too, that the "ugly dark paint-varnish" was probably the original _faux bois_ (wood graining) applied when new in 1905. That effect could be recreated giving you a very authentic piece that the original owners would recognize
Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.