These instructions were taken from the IWD website.
My question is the following:
Do I need to apply stain immediately after raising the grain or can it wait a while?
Our stocks are shipped rough sanded to 150 grit. We recommend an additional 150 grit hand sanding to remove any small sanding scratches or minor rough spots that we may have missed. Sand with grain until the grain/surface
becomes clear and smooth. The figure of the grain will become more visible, and there should be no hazy or “rough to the touch” areas. Basically, you are making all of the sanding scratches uniform, and in the same direction. Repeat above steps with 240 grit paper.
Raising the grain is an essential and simple process required to ensure a glass smooth surface when the final finish is applied. All you need is a clean cotton cloth or sock, (smooth or outside of sock), soaked in clean tap water and then ringed out. Simply wipe the 240 grit sanded parts wet, and then let dry completely. You don’t have to soak the stock, just wipe across the parts once, so that you can see that it has darkened from the water. This process will make all of the hairs of grain, that were compressed into the grain, curl up and raise above the surface of the wood.
If you do not do this step, and apply oil right after the 240 grit sanding, the stock will look blotchy, and the grain will not be clear and defined.
After you have raised the grain, and the stock parts are dry, re-sand with 240 grit, until the parts are smooth and the grain is clear. You should really see the grain “pop” out, and the true colors of the wood.
TIP1: If you still see small scratches, after 240 grit sanding & Raising the Grain, refer back to cross grain sanding instructions in “First Sanding” section above. You will not have to raise the grain again if you do any touch up sanding at this stage.
Steel Wool Buffing
When you are satisfied with the final sanded parts, buff the parts with the #0000 Super Fine Steel Wool. Use some elbow grease when you buff the stocks. This process will do a couple of things. It will remove and sanding dust left in the pours of the grain, and, it will put a nice sheen on the stock so the oil will go on smoothly.
TIP1: Be careful when steel wool buffing near machined areas, like vent slots, or edges along barrel channels cuts. The steel wool can get caught up in the grain of the wood, and possibly chip off small slivers of wood. It can also leave hairs of the steel wool in the wood. Buff away from right angles of cornered edges, not towards those sharp surfaces.