I have been sanding as the project progressed so I am able to hand sand 180 grit and then 220 grit.
I then finish with three coats of rub on poly. Let the piece sit for a couple of weeks to wait for the finish to fully cure and then rub out any dust nubs with 0000 steel wool.
Finally, I use my Beall Buffing system to buff out the finish. Use the red tripoli finish first, followed by white diamond compound and finally wax. To be honest, I should have sanded to 320 to really see the difference. However, I can definitely feel the difference. People can not resist rubbing a wax finish once they touch it.
I then take it outside to view in the sunlight to look for any final defects that I missed.
Now I am off to the beach to give this to my friend Maureen.
-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn