Staining and sanding for a smooth surface while retaining color of stain
Here is my issue. I am going to stain and sand a (0.5mm) veneer. From my experience with stains, using a sandpaper no finer than 150 grit seems to yeld the best results when staining, but I want a very smooth surface ... sanded to at least 400 grit, or at most maybe 1000 grit. Going from 150 to 400 will remove a lot of color from the wood, this is my experience with water based stains at least.
I do not like wet sanding since I have had problem with pieces from the sandpaper getting stuck in the finish, but maybe this is cause i used a low quality sandpaper? However if I were to wetsand i guess i could add severall layers of stain and sand in between going from 150 - 320 - 400 and so on. I would get a deep color, but maybe this process would end up obscuring the burl and figure in the wood?
Anonther option would be to not sand the veneer with such a high grit (maybe just going to 280/320) and then add a layer of shellac, let it try and then use some FFFF pumice to grain fill and sand it smooth. When i got a nice smooth surface I then add more layers of shellac, and even thought the wood itself is just sanded with 280-320 grit this should not matter since i used pumice to fill the grain...
I got minimal experience with finnishing so I would appreciate some advice on this process. Anyways I will finnish the surface with shellac, and pumice for grain filling, im doing a french polish.