My experience......which isn't much, a couple of months or so doing this.....is much the same as yours, the wood is so soft, so wide grained, that to get it really round, the only thing I found that worked was turning to a much larger size than I was looking for and sanding down with finer and finer paper till it was about the right size. I'm no wood expert, but all wood seems to be made up of layers, the grain lines, and the wood in between the grain lines....the WRC seems to have hard grain lines and very sofy wood between the grain lines, and this softer wood leaves before the grain lines do.
Don't get me started on the end grain.....
I made some small surfsters out of the WRC, and they came out alright, but the combination of the softness and the dust that drives me nuts, I'll stick to AYC and white cedar, which seems to be plentiful enough around me.
Maybe there are different grades of red to choose from? I noticed a difference just between the pieces I got, with some of them being much more open than others.