Hammer1 thank you for the detailed explanation and feedback. I will try some of your ideas because anything that reduces the amount of sanding required gets my attention. I think I may rely too heavily on power sanding and I do start with 80 grit which generates a few additional passes with finer grits.On metal, yes. On wood no. Unless you are looking to get something like weather textured grain. Blasting mediums will abrade away the softer summer growth more than harder winter growth. It will also embed particles of the blasting medium in the wood.
Sanding doesn't have to be the chore many folks make it into. You don't have to work through a whole succession of grits unless you made a lot of scratches, heavy machine marks or spilled glue everywhere. Most times you don't need a power sander. If 100 grit will remove marks, start with that, if 220 will do it, use that. A simple hand sanding block is often more than sufficient. Power sanders can add machine marks that, then, have to be removed. If not needed to level surfaces that aren't flush, don't use power sanders.
Folks often recommend using card scrapers but they only work correctly on hardwoods, particularly, open grained hardwoods. They don't work on softwoods. Using a handplane can be an option but not in all cases. Either of these options requires proper sharpening and use, and may need sanding afterwards, a lot if grain tears out with a plane.
An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Prepare your stock carefully, don't scratch or ding it up during construction, improve your assembly techniques to keep things flush and clean. Excess need for sanding not only takes time but the project can look overworked, losing crisp details and looking amateurish.