I'm a cabinet maker with a full shop and I want to make a wooden tripod. My question isn't about the build, but about the wood.
At first I thought about hickory or ash. Both are very dense hardwoods but hickory has wonky grain patterns and wants to bow and twist when it's cut. Ash is nice and heavy and straight grained, but it's just about the least interesting wood on Earth to look at. It's just blonde and nothing else.
Then I thought about Ipe, which is both harder and stronger than either ash or hickory and also very interesting to look at, but after building a patio table out of Ipe, I had to send every blade in my shop out for resharpening and swore I'd never touch it again.
White oak is a thought. It's strong and beautiful and it would show as quartersawn on many of the tripod faces. But with its big open pores, I'm concerned about moisture absorbtion altering its shape
Teak would be the natural choice, but real teak prices are prohibitive and have been for years.
Maple, Cherry, and Walnut are all tight grained and readily available to me. I know a tripod out of any of those would be beautiful and I could easily use only the straightest grained boards, but none are very heavy.
I guess my question is about what do you look for in a wooden tripod. Are you looking for lightweight and transportable? Are you looking for heavy and stable? Are you looking for the warmth and beauty of wood? What's your suggestion?
Lastly, I'll add that rigidity isn't my concern. The rigidity will be taken care of by the leg design and spreaders. My concern is mostly about weight. Legs of an Ipe tripod might weigh 25 lbs. Legs of a cherry tripod might weigh as little as 8 lbs. If rigidity isn't a factor, how much of a factor is weight?
You might want to make it so you can extend/contract the legs, it is much more versatile that way. Refractors (most of them) have large eyepiece swings from zenith pointing to horizontal so having a foot or more of height adjustment is important.