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If your blank is square, you can also take down each edge evenly (draw two lines on each face trisecting each face into three equal parts, cut or plan down your edge until it meets the nearest lines on each adjoining face) and and make an octagonal cane. When you finish, if that doesn't look like you want, then take those edges down and pretty soon you'll have a round one. This can be done with a simple block plane, a drawknife or a whittling knife.

As JJireh said, watch the grain. Make sure you're cutting "uphill" with the grain as much as possible. If you use a drawknife, then make sure you put the bevel side down against the wood to avoid, as much as possible, the knife digging in.

Here's how to get to the octagon stage with a table saw. But as a hand-tool woodworker, I would use a plane or a spokeshave. Your choice.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Easiest-way-to-make-octagons-for-wood-turning-NO-/
 
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