Because I’m using cedar fence pickets which are very rough and uneven, I sanded my boards first before any assemble. It’s much easier to sand a flat board than it is to sand a little planter!
I used medium grit sandpaper, sanding in the direction of the wood grain.
Then I followed up with a quick hand sanding using sanding blocks. I started with a medium grit, working in the direction of the wood grain, just to make sure the power sander didn’t leave any marks. Then I followed up with fine grit sand paper.
It just takes a minute to do this!
Then before I move on to actual staining, I get rid of all sanding residue by brushing off, vacuuming, and then just to be sure, wiping down the project with a barely damp rag.