Advice refinishing teak and holly sole
Brightener: first a trial with diluted TSP (trisodiuim phosphate) to remove any oils, etc. Becareful as TSP will also dissolve some of the wood cells. Then a brightening with dilute oxalic acid. Apply the diluted oxalic in ''stages'' so that you dont get it too bright.
Typically Oxalic will brighten too much so you may need to ''tint'' the wood back to the color you want with ''judicious'' use of diluted analine dyes/tints to gain hue/color - you typically have to mix up the ''tint'' yourself from dry powder dye. All this tuff is usually availabe in any ''old fashioned'' paint store - one that deals with the ''trade''. If you live in an eco-freak'' state (CA, NJ, NY, MA, MD, etc.) you probably wont find any.
Personally, I''d forget the epoxy as if the wood absorbs excess mosture (vapor from the ambient atmosphere) the surface coating is more vulnerable to lifting.
A ''hint'' so that you dont have to sand too much or too deeply into the thin veneer: Take a steam iron and a spray bottle of water and lightly go over the gouges and deep scratchs. Spritz the gouges then go over with a steam iron - dont burn the wood. The steam will ''swell'' the gouges and sometimes get them back to the flat level original surface. Then you wont have to sand so deeply into the veneer - and shorten its useful life. For sanding, an orbital is OK but if you get a good carbide tipped scraper the job will go faster especially when you use a chemical stripper - but if you ''slip'' with an ultra sharp scraper you can do some ''awful'' damage.