So I have wood trim all throughout our 1916 farmhouse. Its beautifully done. But, the finish on it has all these tiny bubbles, and almost like a snaked pattern of cracking??
Taking the trim off of the walls isn't an option, as the plaster is very delicate at this point, and we'd like to save it a few more years.
Any ideas on how to repair this while its on the wall?
Buy a nice sharp scraper or two and extra blades. You will be surprised how well they work on old varnish. You want the kind you pull toward you. A contour scraper set will come in very handy. Plan on sanding after.
If the scrapers do not pull it off, rent an infrared stripper to soften what is on there.
You may need some chemical gel stripper (or you could use it and not rent the infrared stripper) too.
Your goal, if you plan to leave the wood natural, is to keep the resins in the cracked finish from melting into the wood grain. A scraper will not generate heat. An infrared stripper will heat the finish but will not force it into the would grain like a power sander will. Chemical strippers create heat too.