Over the years I had many different methods and idea about how to get a project ready for finishing. Like any other part of woodworking we all have our own way of getting to the finishing stage. Some smooth every part and piece with a drum sander, others use a jointer to clean the face of boards, and there are those that prefer hand tools and use a smoothing plane. The smoothing plane takes some practice and I do enjoy using hand tools on my projects but it is definitely a lot more work.
No matter how we get there it always seems that once we are ready to start prepping the project for finish you inevitably find a spot that needs a little extra attention. Whether it’s chatter marks from the planer or jointer or tear-out from a router or saw. One of the best ways I have found to identify the extent of an area I need to fix is with an orbital sander. By lightly sanding the surface the orbital sander will hit the high spots which in turn will highlight the low spots. Once the area has been identified I typically use a combination of spokeshave, scraper, and sander depending on how much work I need to do.
If I need to be aggressive I will use my spokeshave which can remove a good bit of wood with more control than I have with a plane. The most important thing in working with a spokeshave is honing and set up, if the iron is not extremely sharp and set up for super fine shavings you can do more damage than good, especially in hardwoods which tend to want to chatter. For myself I find that I get the smoothest cut by holding the spokeshave at a slight angle to allow the shaving to roll down the iron. The spokesave also works great on getting minor burn marks from the edge of my work without having to run back through the jointer.