I can understand why many find the finishing process so tedious. If you don't have a dedicated finishing area that is separate from your work area, you can't really do anything else unless you have a super-duper dust collection system. Even then, I think you may have problems with dust. It really feels like so much shop time going to waste.
I've enjoyed the finishing process on this project as I was really able to watch the purpleheart come to life and the clock face's mysterious chatoyancy blogged about previously.
Yesterday afternoon, I looked over all of the various parts for the clock and judged them in no further need of finishing. 4 days with a couple of coats of wiping varnish per day. 2 sides in the morning, flip in the late afternoon and do the other 2 sides. Smooth out the dust nibs. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
I had to scuff the tenons on the slats as some wiping varnish did get onto some of them, and then I began a dry assembly. Well, I didn't think I sanded too much, but a number of my tenons had a loose fit! Sigh.
Despite all of my careful measurements, I didn't account for the knob at the bottom of the pendulum. Argh! I watched helplessly as it bounced of each of the slats. So I sat on my greenbin/shop stool to think this one through.
A little bend to the pendulum arm solved the problem and in short order, it was swinging freely.
I've briefly considered keeping it for myself (briefly heh) but I think my will cousin like it.