Re: Starting out: kit or separate purchases?
For the 'bits and pieces' Google Angler's Workshop; been in the rod building business for decades. Thousands of 'things' to choose from. Been a long time since I've built a rod, but the 'hard part' is the handle and cork.
If this is your first I'd recommend you purchase a pre-made cork handle. Reason being that to start with 'rings' you need a lathe to properly run that down.
"We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." – Winston Churchill