Tom first I never start with 400 grit. If it is pretty bad I always start with 80 grit. Now that my tool control is a lot better I can start sanding at 150 or 180 grit. Make sure that you sharpen your tool for the last cut or two. I use a conventional grind bowl gouge from P & N (1/2" & 3/8") for my final cuts. Some use a scraper but just never got into using one. I spritz with water on the rough spots which raises the grain then take a final cut or two. Sometimes I use mineral oil on the rough spot then take a final cut or two. Now I use a harbour freight 3/8 angle drill and power sand. I got the 3" hook and loop holder and 3" round sanding paper from 80 grit to 320 grit. One thing I caught at a Mike Mahoney demo was he will leave the lathe off and sand the spots that are rough then turn the lathe on and power sand thru the grits. Do not skip any grits and blow off the piece with compressed air before using the next grit. Normally I will not sand a bowl past 320 and maybe at times 400. I think it is a waste of time to go higher than that or micro mesh to 12000 grit myself. I e-mailed Mike and Ernie Conover and both told me the same thing that anything above 320 is a waste of time and money. Hope this helps Tom.
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