OK, so this summer I set a goal for myself, and that is to build my first amp. I don't know whether or not I should get a kit, or just get some parts and dick around with them. I'm probably going to go with a kit, so do you know where I can find one? it would be prefferable if I could get them at a legitimate store, although online isn't too bad. My concern with getting the kit is that I won't know the science behind building an amp, such as how to make different sounds. ex: what makes distortion?. I feel like I won't learn as much if i get the kit. This isn't really going to be a performance amp, unless i just happen to love the way it sounds, i really want this more just to learn about amps. another question I had is what tools will I need? how exspensive will the this project be? like i said, i don't really need this amp to play through, just for the learning experience, so i don't need a real exspensive kit or exspensive parts. lastly, anything you can tell me about which parts will make which sounds ex: what part makes distortion, reverb, delay, stuff like that. thanks, and if you have any advice let me know.
I don't know much about amps, but are you building a solid (?) amp or a tube amp?
From when I tried to find a kit for amps, I learned that you can't get them cheap. Well, for my sense of cheap. If your sense of cheap is $300 bucks or so (maybe a bit more or less), than you might be able to find some. If you really want to learn stuff though, start with a really simple amp to make like the Little Gem or a Ruby. Or better yet, first learn to read schematics and to solder. And also research like crazy, read everything anywhere about amps, power amps, what certain chips like 555's (although I don't think 555's will be used much in amps) do, etc.
Schecter Hellraiser Deluxe
Boss DS-1
Crate GTD65

GAS List:
Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster
Amps are not particularly easy to build and I would definitely wait until you have a sound knowledge of electronics until you build one, start off with pedals.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
If you're new to guitar electronics and have some cash to spare.. I would recommend this to you: http://www.beavisaudio.com/bboard/index.htm check it out! basically its an all i one stombox kit which comes with a lot of parts and loads of info on what does what etc. after you played about with this for a while you should go for the amp build.

I just remembered theres a 1W amp build on the beavis board too called the Ruby or Little Jem I think

You could learn a lot from it!
unless you are experienced with electronics i wouldnt recommend making a mains powerd amp the voltages are high and the parts will hold the electricity for a long time, i dont want you to die from electric shock or anything lol