I've been building plugs and tying flies of all kinds for awhile now, and the idea of building a rod sounds interesting. Just how hard is it to build a rod, and do I need any pricey special equipment? Also, could $30-$40 get me the stuff to build a decent rod? I'd be starting with something light, probably about a 5.5' medium action graphite model for pond fishing for bass from the bank.
Most of the tools for building rods I use I swiped from my fly tying setup (sissors, bobbin, bodkin, burnisher, etc) and the rest I made. The only thing you can't easily make is a finish turning motor, which needs to turn the rod at less than 15rpm to make the finish smooth and even. Cabelas has decent finishing motors for around $20 and you can build a stand for it with some scrap wood. Cabelas also has decent kits with graphite blanks...everything you need to complete a rod for under $65. www.mudhole.com has a lot of components, as well as a tutorial section and lots of pics.