I have three builds planned for this winter and I'm hoping to get started in the next week or so after I assemble all of the components. That is the purpose of this thread. I am looking for a bit of input, as I'm wanting to try some different methods an approaches than on my previous rods.

1st up is a Hook and Hackle Xi 10' 3 WT kit. I was looking for a relatively cheap way to get into Czech nymphing, and I received this kit as a Christmas gift. I have all of the necessary components with the kit. However, I've never mounted a fighting butt before. The kit comes with a 1" cork fighting butt. I had planned to ream it, and pass the butt of the blank through the end of the reel seat and mount it flush using standard rod-building epoxy. I'm wondering if there is another or better way to accomplish this.

2nd, I have a Steffen 8'6" 5/6 WT set to arrive next week. I've built two Steffens previously (7'6" 2/3, and 8' 3/4), and love the actions. I'm planning on using a full wells grip and bought a downlocking cedar insert reel seat from Joel Lemke. For guides I want to use Snake Brand Universals as I tried those on the other Steffens and felt they were remarkable.

- Where is the best place to buy Snake Brand Guides? I have only seen them for sale via Anglersworkshop and via the Snake Brand website. The others I received as part of Mike's free set of guides promotion.
- I have seen other fiberglass/bamboo rods with an agate stripper and I would like to use one on this rod as I think it would pair nicely. What would be the best size? I'm thinking 10 mm. Where is the best place to buy agate strippers, it seems that most everyone carries them, but I wonder if any of you have a particularly good source.

3rd, I have a Steffen 8' 8/9 WT coming as well. I'm using one of Lemke's recessed reel seats with the built in fighting butt, and will be using a full wells grip. I'm had planned to use Snake Brand guides on this rod as well; however, I recently read a post about single foot casting guides (i.e.Minima) and increased distance. I know very little about the type and sizing of these guides.

- Do you think it would be worthwhile to incorporate single foot casting guides into the build, if so what is the best option? I'm worried that aesthetically on a fiberglass rod, it may not be as pleasing as traditional snakes.

My final questions involve finish. Previously I have used FlexCoat high build, and thought that it worked just fine. However, I'm now out of my supply and need to order more epoxy. I have recently read about the Threadmaster line, and it looks interesting.

- Do any of you have experience with either of the Threadmaster finishes (high build vs light)? How do they compare to FlexCoat?
- Do any of you have experience with the other Threadmaster products such as the rod building gel, and tip top adhesive? How well do they work?

Thanks for your time and sorry for the lengthy post.

Tight lines,