Making a kilometer blurry
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Austin (near TX)
Bikes: rkwaki's porn collection
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You can get away with building and truing on the bike (no truing stand). Additionally, you can even your tension by plucking. The absolute tension will be unknown, but a shop can spot-check a spoke for you.
I'd say to get a $35 super-cheap truing stand. I've been using a bottom-of-the-line Minoura for 14 years and a couple dozen wheels. If you're not in a production environment, there is very, very little additional value in a "nice" stand (I've used both).
Then, get the Park tensiometer. For one thing, it's just a really neat tool. Nothing wrong with stockpiling neat tools. It will make all your builds easier.
The most important tool is patience. You have to take your time. If things aren't going your way, leave the project and do something else for a while.