At Canadian Cane 2011, Dave Van Burgel of Maine did a presentation on node prep. Dave used a flap sander and a simple fixture to hold and roll the cane to do initial node prep. It looked so simple and easy. I built the fixture and use it with a coarse file instead of the flap sander. This simple fixture works so well it makes node prep a breeze and filing the node in the round is superior to filing a narrow strip as you follow the natural contour of the culm. If you are good shopper it might cost you $10 or a high of $30 for the Big Spender. A plywood base and four casters is all you need. My strips have never looked better and I am saving time too. I know four other local builders that use the fixture too and everyone agrees it is the innovation of the year! So if you happen to see Dave, buy him a beer and thank him for a great tool.
I am a cane rod builder and co-founder of Canadian Cane