In praise of hand sanding
I know everyone is supposed to hate hand sanding, and I know there are 4 million inventions to eliminate it, but to be honest with you, my woodworking has never improved so fast, so quick as when I realized there is just no replacement for it.
Lately I have taken up hand sanding in a pretty big way. My dovetails have never been more flush. I still plane the ends as flush as I can to save some time, then its out with a sanding block, and finely just with my fingers and the results are amazing...smoothness time radius times pie R squared! Same with some laps joints I just made. I hogged off the waste with my radial arm saw (with a single cut off blade via repeated passes), shoulder planed it close, then sand-blocked it to perfection, and probably did so faster then I could have changed blades to a dado blade or routed it out with a router.
I can now see why after 4000 years its still around...quiet fast and accurate. I'll let others look for the holy grail of woodworking, I am not sure, but I think I found it.
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"