The 'Cariad' Welsh Lovespoon has now been completely carved and the sanding and finishing process has begun.
Any further work with edge tools, which should only be a little tidying up here and there, will be done with small 'disposable' blades (of course even these can be re-honed to acceptable sharpness again) so that the abrasive particles left on the timber will not dull my carving tools. If I do need to do any more carving work with my usual tools then I will first scrape the area with a trimming knife blade to remove any remaining abrasive particles.
To begin the finishing I will commence with 240 grit paper and move up to 1200 in stages. This might seem excessively fine but I believe it helps to achieve the kind of finish I'm after.
I will be using a tung oil based Danish Oil finish applied with a small brush and worked with wet and dry abrasive at the 400 grit stage to fill the grain prior to the final coat. The final finish will be a wax polish to bring up just the right sheen.
When the work has been finished to the right level, then the play of light on the surface should bring out the details in the carving and the beauty of the timber, much more so than can be seen at this stage.
Some types of carving are best not sanded, letting the tool marks show and bear witness to the carver's interaction with the tools and the wood. In this case and possibly with love spoons in general I think a fine finish looks best. I can't articulate why this seems to be the case, perhaps it is the scale of the work, how close a scrutiny it invites or how much it asks to be felt in the hands. It all depends on what achieves the most pleasing result and suits the work best.