Whoa, whoa, whoa, thats a crappy attitude !! Im sure Maloof didn't think he would be selling chairs for 25k plus when he started. This is a cool design and 450$ is not a lot for a handmade chair. You can do it Dave !!
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WHY would you post that? OMG, chills up my spine. Thanks for that.
To answer your question, hickory is hard, stringy and horrible. Seems to have higher than average tension as well and tends to move a lot when you rip it. It's also ugly.
Very minor update... I had a few minutes in the shop, so I trimmed everything to exact length and hogged away the waste for the dovetails. Next up is actually putting the dovetail bit in and finishing the joinery.
I'll also vote that if you don't have the budget for a decent version of both, spend it on the bandsaw and continue with other means of making holes for awhile. Drill presses are a sore spot for me as it seems you can't get a decent one for under a couple of grand (not to mention some $1200-$1400 ones that are no better than some $400 models where it counts).
A decent quality 14" bandsaw will do more for you per space occupied that almost anything else besides a router. Please tell us your budget so we can answer more specifically.