Most of the projects I do for myself use distressed and glazed alder. So I don’t have to sand. Heck I don’t even have to sharped my tools. Before assembily I hand plane my stock. I try to get tear outs and gouging. Often I run my plane at a 45 degree angle to the grain. Some days I’ll grab a big splinter and rip it right out of the wood. Then I use my chisels to gough out areas that have not been distressed. When I have splintered the grain real bad I chisel the raw edges to clean it up. The edges and curves I shape with a spokeshave.
This distressing allows places for the glaze to settle. Originally I made my own glaze using paint colorant and lacquer thinner. After trying local paint stores I have found one that makes a commercial glaze I’m happy with. I really had to shop around. I liked my homemade glaze but it was not consistent. Which is importaint when a client wants a matching china hutch for the table you made her last year.
Often I spray my project before assembly because I mix pine, twigs , rocks, logs, ect., and I only want the alder glazed. The first step when glazing is spraying a coat of lacquer. This seals the wood and keeps the glaze from penetrating the grain. I usually just wipe the glaze on but it can be sprayed. I then wipe the glaze off trying to be consistent. A few more coats of lacquer and the project is done.