Re: What do you need to start?
If you're talking graphite or fiberglass it's actually not that bad. The rod wrapper can be made out of cheap/scrap wood and nuts, bolts, and springs from a hardware store. Some people use a cardboard box and a book for tension. Need razor blades, something smooth to pack wraps (I've used round plastic stir sticks but also have one made for rod building), cheap craft brushes and mixing cups. For turning the rod while the finish sets you can do it by hand but motors are free (people take them from some small appliances), I got mine on ebay for less than $20, with a stand and support from cheap wood. I probably forgot something, but it's really pretty basic. I use far more tools and such for fly tying.
I do know bamboo is much more complex if you're starting from a culm. If you're starting from a ferruled blank it's basically the same as graphite though finish process can be different. If you're starting from an unferruled blank you'll need some other stuff to ferrule it.
- William Jensen