Step 7: Sanding and Leveling
Time to wood putty it up
Now remember all those nail gun holes you made in the wood? And all the huge gaping crevices? Its time to make those go away as best as possible. Get out your wood putty and your putty knife and go to town slightly overfilling all the holes, cracks, and gaps. Let it dry for however long the jar/bottle says.
The sands of time
Now get ready for the fun part. Strap on some 80 grit sandpaper and go to town, leveling every surface as much as possible, sand the excess wood putty off until level with the rest of the wood. I mean, this should be the longest step of all of them. Get it as smooth and perfect as you can. Done?
Good, now do it again with 100 grit sandpaper. Now 150(or 180 if that's the way you roll). Now 220. Now 220 again, just in case you missed something. And then take a sheet of 220 sand paper and fold it over a few times. This time just go over all the corners and get rid of all the sharp edges, smooth it out a little bit.
Dust in the wind
Now the really fun part, which is removing all the sawdust and dirt you just got all over the damn place. But seriously, if you want the finish to turn out at all, the wood has to be extremely clean.
Since we are using pine wood, do NOT use a rag/cloth dampened with water to wipe the dust off. It will just suck right into the wood pores and you'll have to sand it all over again (trust me on this, I did it.) I hear tell that a light bit of mineral spirits works though. Or you can do what I did, and wipe all the dust off you could, then blow it off with the air compressor, then get a bunch of tack cloths and use those. That works pretty effectively.
And now you're finally ready for the finishing.