We found the project on Casa Sugar where one of their readers sent in how she made this table. Judging by the results, the amount of sanding is totally worth it:
I recently embarked on a DIY project where I crafted a large Nakashima-style (live-edge) coffee table myself. In short, here's what I did. I purchased an Acacia wood slab on eBay. Nakashima routinely used Black Walnut for his projects — but Acacia is actually heavier/stronger than Black Walnut and, from what I've seen, it's more economical. It also has a beautiful grain. I sanded the table down with a random orbit sander in the direction of the grain. (For this particular project, I used a RIDGID 5 In. Random Orbit Sander. It's a tool that's generally well reviewed and I highly recommend it.) I started sanding the wood with 40-grit sandpaper, and worked myself up to 60, 80, 120, 150, and 220.
You can read the rest of her directions on the Casa Sugar site.