I haven't sanded a stock in over 20 years, unless it needed a repair or gouge hidden.
I've long learned that the easiest way (I'm lazy) is to chemically strip the stock first (I use Formby's Furniture Refinisher from Home Cheapo, following the can directions).
After the wood's dried at least overnite, I then stain it with Johnson's MinWax Black Walnut (no matter the wood's color), to even out the wood's appearance - and let the stain also dry overnite.
I like to apply several coats of TruOil, one each day, via rubbing in & expanding a small spot of finger-dipped TO from one end of the stock to the other, letting it dry overnite, then rubbing it down with a new pad of OOOO steel wool & then a magnet (to remove steel wool dust) just before applying the next coat.
For a glossy finish, just omit rubbing down the final coat.
I top it all off with paste wax - about a week after I finish the TO coats.