Well, it's happened again. I strip the old finish (with Dad's stripper), clean & brighten with Messmer's Part A & B, and all the wood is a nice golden light brown. Then I apply the varnish (Epifane High Gloss Clear) thinned 50:50 with their thinner and zap - the wood immediately turns dark dark brown - almost black. It's been 20 hours now & its brightened up a bit, but still...! This happens every single time I varnish old canoe wood (white & red cedar). Sure, the canoe is 70+ years old, but it looked great before the varnish went on. Anybody have a clue what's going on? I assume it's because the varnish is thinned so much that it soaks right down deep into the wood - which is a good thing I guess. I'm on a well system here but the water is well softened, and can't hardly be but a teeny trace of salt in the water from the softener. Come to think of it, the water did make the wood darker until it dried off, but thinner alone caused the wood to be darker still. Makes me wonder why I bother to clean & bleach!