Builders soap box
Ill Play Builders advocate:
Creative energy is always looking for a place to express itself. It dosnt mater whether your building fly rods, tying flyís, or what ever. Why do you do that? well I say why not? If you donít, or cant generate, or be guided by that creative energy then you really wouldnít understand anyway, and maybe you are better off just being a consumer. For some of us in may boil down to saving a few dollars, but for the most part its not about money, its about the satisfaction of having accomplished something unique and you cant really quantify that can you.
So you build a rod on a Sage blank, and you break it. Then you pack the whole thing up with a check for $20-$30 or what ever it is these days, send it back to Sage and they send your rod and a new blank section back in two weeks, and you spend an evening re-wrapping and finishing the guides. Many blank manufacturers offer similar return, warranty and repair services. No big deal. I have built and broken allot of rods, and I have learned allot about fly rods and taking care of them in the process.
I also buy factory built rods, because its convenient to do so, and there are some incredible rods out here for very reasonable prices.
I started fly fishing with a two piece split cane rod, and an antique fly reel that belonged to my grandfather. After I trashed the rod I got a two piece Daiwa glass 7 wt. which I still have. I know with certainty that I could still do most of my fishing with that setup, and do it well even though most of the guides are bent paperclips stuck on the blank with electrical tape. But these days I have bigger expectations for my equipment, and an engineers appreciation for high tech design, materials, and the quality of the workmanship etc.
So Im a builders advocate I would build rods regardless, for the same in-calculable reason I make bird houses. You suit yourself. Be a consumer if you must, but donít try to argue that its not worth it because that really depends on the definition of "It" dosnt it.
This is a photo of a custom built 7wt Sage Xi2 and a nice little steelhead. The reward is really priceless.