> I am already going to be sacrificing in the
> materials area, using milled lumber and soft wood
> instead of hardwoods due to expense in my part of
> the world (Elfsea, Ansteorra).....
I think you are going to have a lot of trouble with
splitting if you go with the softer woods and try to
do real joinery.
That being said, look arount - If nothing else, make
the roadtrip to SW Missouri (though I'm sure something
is closer) - and find a saw mill that will sell you
rough sawn boards.
I've picked up "construction grade" oak - a bit knotty
and not particularly dry - for about what you'd pay
for equally knotty and not as dry as it ought to be
"premium" softwood at a home center. You might have
to paint the ends sticker stack it through the summer
before you start.