Oh, also, Tony, why is getting rid of all the scratches not necessary? .............
Because there is a point that your eye cant see them anymore. If you take a real dense wood like rock hard maple, it will actually shine with a 2000 grit paper and look like you have a finish applied when in actuality you dont.
When I first started woodworking, since i had no one to ask questions to, I just experimented on my own to verify stuff.
I dont remember the exact numbers but you will get the general idea. I sanded several pieces of the same wood, starting with 120 grit only, on the first piece. The second piece I sanded 120 and then 150, the third piece I sanded 120, 150, 180 and so on and so forth. progressing upward I think I went up to 2000 - dont remember for sure.
So now I have a bunch of pieces of wood with each one sanded slightly higher than the previous one. Again, I dont remember the exact number buy just stay with me. The first piece sanded with 120 took 5 coats of poly to look smooth and the sanding marks became invisible The next piece with the 150 grit took only 4 coats of to get the same results. The next piece, the 180 only took 3 coats and the 220 only tool 2 coats to get the same results. anything above that only too 1 coat. Then when I reached probably 1500 and above the NO finish looked like the finished pieces. This was with poly because that is what i used in my beginnings. And thats why as a general rule, it is not necessary to remove scratch marks above 180 in a dense wood.
Oil finishes will probably go a little higher, but there too there will be point that the wood, especially dense woods, will not absorb the oil or finish beyond a certain point.
What I am going to ask is that some of you duplicate my experiment with oils and let us all know how that works out. And remember RTFL. Labels are important. The manufacturer of finishing products wants you to succeed.