Epoxy and guieds
I use hard foam arbors, and 5 min epoxy for the reel seat. I like that because it sets up while Im holding the seat and the blank in the right position and I donít have to worry about the reel seat wandering around the radius of the blank. For the handle I like to use rings, therefore I use a 90 min epoxy so that I have plenty of time to apply the epoxy on the blank, each ring, clamp it all down and clean up the mess before it starts to set. For the wraps I use Flex Coat Light in at least two thin coats. I have not tried the U-40 products but I intend to at some point. With all these epoxies I warm both parts before mixing. With the exception of the 5 min epoxy I use on the reel seat, I have a mixing machine made with an 18 rpm motor which I use to mix the other epoxy and finish. I find that this results in a hard, consistent, bubble free finish. There is an article in Rod Maker Magazine on epoxy mixers.
With respect to guides. There are so many different guides made I think its hard to make an informed decision. I have been using the Hopkins Halloway double foot striping guides and double foot snakes almost exclusively. They look good and I figure there has to be a good reason for a company like Sage to be using them on their rods. They are also relatively inexpensive. I have used the high end TiC and SiC guides, and aside from the added advantages of corrosion resistance and resistance to wear I havenít noticed a difference. My opinion is that if you keep your line out of the mud and clean your rod and line regularly corrosion and wear wont be a problem.