Finishing epoxy inlay in wood

Hi there, new to woodworking in general. I’ve been doing epoxy inlays in cherry using the longmill. I’m having trouble getting a nice finish on the epoxy. I’d like it to be as close to glass as possible. I’ve been sanding off the excess with an 80 grit using a orbital sander and then going all the way up to 1000, sometimes up to 2000 grit. I’ve tried wet and dry sanding. Then I’ve been polishing using car polish using a cloth. I’ve also tried using a polishing bit on my drill. The issue I’m having is 2 fold:

  1. The epoxy is still not coming out with the glass like finish i want. I think I’m doing something wrong in the process.
  2. What do I do if I need to finish the wood as well? Do I polish the epoxy first and then put the finish? If I put on the finish over the polished epoxy am I going to then de-shine it when I put the finish on? When the wood is surrounding the design how do I keep from getting polish on the wood, or can I polish all the wood? I’m using plywood and the polish has left a bit of mark around the inlay.

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!