The process to get from here to yon was a bit involved, though, so I'm going to present it to you in little snippets (or teasers, whichever your pleasure) over the next few days.
First things first, I needed to take all this raw lumber:
...and turn it into milled pieces with which to work, as in these fine examples of cherry (partially milled on the left, milled on the right):
So I used a jointer (not shown) and a thickness planer (shown below):
The thickness planer, as you can see below, removes a lot of wood on the way to turning a piece of raw lumber into a precisely milled board:
But not to worry, since the sawdust goes to a good cause:
A few words about the lumber. First, when you go to your local fine wood purveyor (and no, I don't mean Big Box Hardware), you want to ask for wood sized in quarter-inch thicknesses. For example, I wanted boards that were two inches thick, so I asked for 8-quarter wood. Don't ask me why they do it this way--it's some esoteric reason that I've forgotten. I don't make the rules. I just follow them.
Asking for wood in quarter thicknesses will put you squarely in the "One of us" camp.
Second, I am making the base out of cherry because it is durable, easy to work with, and just darned pretty. Also, it is magic. Cherry starts out medium light and turns darker and darker over time. It has something to do with light exposure, and I used to know the scientific reason for it, but I've forgotten. It is in that part of my brain where I've stored the reason we ask for wood in quarter thicknesses.
Third, I am making the top out of soft maple instead of hard maple because a) soft maple is hard enough, b) it is easier to mill without ruining your machines, and c) I am not made of money.
Maple is also durable and pretty, though not darned pretty like cherry, and it is not magic. That is okay though, since everything can't be magic.