Comparing the characteristics and mechanical properties of several candidate native (north america) hardwoods, walnut or poplar would seem to be excellent choices.

Poplar is cheap, glues well and is readily available. I'm not really pleased with the way it takes stain (any suggestions?) but I canlive with it.

Walnut looks like the perfect wood from which to build a camera but, it's not readily available -- well, not at the "big family owned" lumber yard in town anyway.

What about oak? Is the slow drying a concern? Does this translate to dimensional instability? would it be enough of a concern to disqualify it?