I'm in the same ballpark as No Thankyou - use water base products and include the MinWax prep product.
This is what I learned from a local well respected cabinet maker...
Between each stage, lightly scribble pencil marks over the surfaces and sand with a 100 grit. do this with a 100, 120, 150 papers. Then sponge wet the surfaces (this will raise the loose fibers). When dry, hand sand with a 180 grit. Any higher grits on hardwoods will close the grain to accepting any stain or finishes from absorbing into the wood (soft woods' final grit should be 220 grit). You can get a shinier finish with higher grits, but the finish will be on the surface, not in the wood.
Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.