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Step 9: Sanding

Surprisingly, sanding is something that takes practice. The keys are knowing how long to sand for and learning where to keep sanding.

For sanding, I used 120, 240, 320, and 400 grit sandpaper. Go slowly with each grit and double check between grits to make sure you've gotten rid of all deep grooves (you'll notice distinct lines thicker than the surrounding ones, if you still need to sand). Wiping with denatured alcohol can help with that: that will make lines more distinct so you spot problem areas more easily. Make sure you don't stay in one place for too long, or you'll end up with radial cuts. To further rid radial cuts that are just inevitable, sand lightly along the axis of the lathe (so from chuck to tailstock, back and forth) between grits.

Be delicate with sanding as your piece gets thin! It's easy to sand too far and have things snap :( See below: it's delicate at the tailstock end due to the diamond shapes, so be careful there. Also, note that I sanded the diamonds before going back to taper down the portion to the left. I ended up wanting to make that portion thinner to make a smoother curve to the diamonds, but wanted to stay safe and sand the diamonds before hand in case the piece snaps off the lathe. That way, I wouldn't have a tough time sanding them on a drill press (see step 14).

Here's another picture. Again, I kept a thick end at the tailstock and sanded everything before tapering with a spindle gouge.