my strips looked slightly different too but I assumed because it was veneer rather than solid wood. Personally I like my walnut and the solid wood. I understand the cracking, warping etc but It's nice to keep it stock unless the caps are broken. Darqueknight, and I think Lasareath took their oak or walnut off and replaced it with beautiful exotic wood. It looked breathtaking, but is an endeavor that for me would be down the road if at all. There's something about aged wood that seems just as refined and since I like the black walnut I'm sticking with it.
there's a guy on ebay selling sda's which he put all wood on the sides, it looks bad so that answers my curiosity. But of course there are others that may love the look. It's really cool that you have such a beginning that you can do pretty much whatever you want with these and not be accused of ruining classic speakers.
I know that mdf would be the better choice longterm if warranted but is it also because of the acoustics, or is it just the warping/cracking issues?