I'm probably going to commit a bit of heresy here, but I'm not much for sanding. I belong to a woodworker's club where members talk about using 1500 and even higher grit for sanding. They go through a list of a dozen or so sandpaper steps starting with 20 and going up to infinity (OK, maybe I exaggerate a bit - but I have heard 1500).
In my case I rarely go above 150 grit paper, although I'll sometimes make it to 220. About the only time I go higher is when I'm trying to "polish" brass or aluminum where I'll go with 600. I do make use of the sanding cloth type of stuff. The stuff that looks like a dish scrubbing cloth.
Sometimes I'll have pretty deep scratches after bandsawing. In that case I'll start with 50-80 to get rid of the heavy scratches, then move to 120, followed by 150. To me that seems more than enough. I'll shoot a couple of coats of clear lacquer on it rubbing out between coats with a white abrasive pad, and that's pretty much my finishing process. I don't see the need to do much more than that. I'll sometimes follow up with a couple of coats of paste wax to give a nice luster.