A good finish starts with good sanding. After shaping, jump up grits in increments of roughly 50, making sure to remove ALL scratches before continuing on to the last grit. This is often done using the slack of a belt sander, and j-flex belts like those sold by Tru-Grit are perfect for this. Use scalloped belts for best results, as these help to blend in edges and done leave sharp dug in lines. I tend to stop belt sanding at 600 grit. Now, its time for hand sanding. Jumping back down to 400 grit, using either plain paper backed by your hand or with a heavy piece of felt or cork, go over the handle until a uniform scratch pattern is achieved. From here, continue up the grits until 1000-2500. After you are completely finished sanding, jump back down to 1000 and do one final pass before finishing again with your final grit. Why all this jumping up and down? Scratches have a way of hiding and not appearing until you are getting ready to send off the knife. The extra time with paper will save you a lot of time and heart ache later.
After sanding, I love to use the buffer. Using a large, soft wheel using a small amount of finishing wax, go over the handle several times. Some people like to use brown Tripoli, but i find this has a tendency to get trapped in pores, and if the sanding was done properly its not needed. The heat of the buffer will allow the wax finish to melt in and give a very flat, even coating.
After machine buffing, finish the wood with a very vigorous hand buffing using a soft cotton cloth.