How much sanding is necessary?
Sanding is an important step that can affect the overall aesthetic outcome of your wood project. Start by selecting the right sandpaper. Inferior paper will wear out quickly, load up rapidly with sanding dust and create broad, deep scratches that are difficult to remove.
STEP 1: Start with the coarsest grit of sandpaper (80- to 100-grit) to remove any large scratches. We think that it’s okay to use a random-orbital sander, but some purists claim that all sanding should be done by hand. You can decide what’s best for your project. Always sand in the direction of the wood grain, never against. Remove sanding dust before moving onto the next round of sandpaper. Sanding dust can be removed using a lint-free cloth lightly dampened with mineral spirits.
STEP 2: Now move to 120 to 150-grit paper and sand entire surface. Remove the sanding dust.
STEP 3: Finally move to fine 180-grit sandpaper for a final sweep over the wood surface. Remember to remove all sanding dust before beginning the stain application.