I make rods in a more traditional manner so prior to tapering I address and dress nodes one by one. I do not “level a node” using a cutter I use a bastard file and press the nodes. Prior to final planing I remove the enamel side till the fibers “ghost” then make the final passes with my plane to achieve the final taper dimension on the two opposing surfaces of the strips. If the enamel is not removed prior to the final passes the tendency is “an over-built” final dimension. This methodology was practiced religiously by makers such as Vince Marinaro. Again there's many ways to skin a cat when it comes to the final planing process. Many makers have their own proven practices. Many work very well. Getting back to the original question what are the differences in “production (milled) rods” and hand planed rods? There are noticeably differences cosmetically and to some degree quality depending on the skill of the craftsman using either a milling machine or block plane.
Be observant, open minded, and cast a lot of different rods constructed using different processes and you can decipher some of the fine nuances within this fascinating craft.