Sometimes trying a technique is a hit or miss adventure. Experience helps narrow the choices of techniques to try. So, in a way we are all correct. ... and I may apply Tim's and Bob's technique in a different way than they do (same technique, different approach or methodology, but basically the same).
I'll suggest, also, when you have spots (or areas where the finish is missing or weak), maybe try this to see if it works for your piece:
When I refinish oak chairs, with a similar finish as you seem to have (at least similar as best as the pictures are revealing to me), I also... sometimes.... use Minwax English Chestnut finish (get the smallest can) on bare or nearly bare spots, because English chestnut almost matches that old finish color as you seem to have. Your piece's color, I suspect, has darkened with age. Apply a bit of English Chestnut with a Q-Tip and rub it in/around, to see if it matches. Sometimes I'll apply a bit, let it sit a while, then wipe excess off, or gently wipe some of it off. Sometimes you just have to play with things, that way. Note, you can't cake it on, though, or it will take 2 weeks to dry. Sometimes this English Chestnut color beats trying to find the correct recipe for toning, say, lacquer or shellac, if you want to try that or a similar approach.
With lacquer thinner, yes, do your work outside and be careful, it is volatile.