If your finish will be nitro lacquer, it's pretty standard to use a "damp" cloth to raise the fibers and cut them off by sanding prior to spraying. No experience with other finishes but works great for guitars!
If I want a smoother finish, I raise the grain, doesn't matter what kind of finish. I like to raise the grain whenever doing water or alcohol based finishes. I also only raise the grain up to 180 or 220. Rarely do I go beyond that, and definitely not prior to staining.
When doing oil finishes, I will sand in the first coat a lot of the time to fill in the pores. But, that';s a whole different thing.
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