Yes, I'm sorry to say this step is next but it's a necessity and your work will tell on you if you think "that's good enough..." and it really isn't "good enough". We find that the species of wood in many ways determines our enjoyment factor during this portion of the process. It doesn't always mean the harder the wood the harder to sand. Most of the time it may simply come down to the texture of the wood, scratch marks left from your cutting tools and sander, or the clogging of your paper. Sometimes it's all three factors or none of these.
Sanding must be done in gradual increments of grits from course to fine to finer. We are only pleased when we can truly say our pieces are sanded until they are "baby butt smooth". It's at this point where we apply sanding sealer over the entire exterior sanded surface. This protects the piece during the remaining steps of the process. It's worth reviewing where we are right now in terms of the overall picture . We have taken a tree and harvested it... We then created an initial shape (both externally and internally) and waited a year for it to dry. Once dried, we reshaped this warped object to final form and have sanded it baby butt smooth... We are pleased that the outside shape is completed and ready for adding embellishments. All internal reshaping will be done after the carvings are completed for the additional thickness is needed during this next phase. It's time to remove the piece from the lathe, attach it to the carving bench. We must also select and prepare our tools for carving.
Click here to read about the next step: Carving Embellishments