Uh oh, I spend a lot of time sanding before I cut my work. I also scrape, often after I've cut pieces on the scroll saw. No matter which blades I select, there will always be tiny splinters needing cleaning up. I'm not crazy about sanding, but I've got 5" ROS, 1/2 sheet, 1/4 sheet, 4 stationary belt sanders, 2 portable belt sanders, 3 disc sanders, 2 1" belt sanders, sanding devices for different shapes and contours, many boxes of sanding papers, plus my various cabinet scrapers. Because many of my items are decorative, like clocks, I do my best to have a quality finished product. Besides having a DC system, I also have an air cleaner hanging from the ceiling. And now a cheap -plug for air cleaners; when I'd walk into my shop, I would most often start to cough from the dust hanging in the air from my last visit. The air cleaner has been very effective in making the shop air cleaner, with the major portion of airborne dust produced by sanding operations. Some time back I purchased a canister dusk mask from Klingspors, but am often negligent in wearing it.I often scrape wood and apply my finish without sanding.
I think sometimes sanding is a safety net that makes folks feel better due to a lack of skill or a shortcut that actually wastes time. I use very fine sandpaper between coats to add some tooth to the surface.