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Rod building and Reel Questions

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Rod building and Reel Questions
Hi I am brand new to forums, but a close friend and I have decided to take some of our tougher ques to the vast knowledge base that is the internet. We have both been progressively upgrading our equipment to match the level of fishing we do, but as our gear gets better the ques keep forming. My first big que is regarding building rods. I have made a few here and there as a kid but now that I know my needs a little better I find myself swamped with a plethora of info and I'm not sure what's relevant. First what are the best/ most cost affective blanks (material wise) and suggestions on where to find them, and second I'm curios about finding custom blanks or ways to modify a standard one i.e. create a 5'4" ft heavy action. The other area that my friend and I seem to discuss the most is regarding reels and their mechanics like gear ratio vs power/ retrieval rate. We both use spinning reels. All feed back is greatly appreciated, thanks Chris.

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