Oh, yeah, it's appleply. Hardwood multiply (15 plies in 3/4") with a maple veneer. Made in the good ole USA. Actually, it's made in this good ole United State of America... Oregon.
The blotch you see in the photo is actually very desirable (to me). It's not a general unevenness - it's just the dye worked deeper into the maple figure and curl deeper than in the areas where the grain runs parallel to the surface. Dye on maple (even veneer) is wonderful - I'm sold on that. It's just my sealcoat and top coats that are my problem. I'm just about done with the top now. It looks something like this (click for fullsize):
More photos here: http://s193.photobucket.com/albums/z...Studio%20Desk/
They aren't great photographs, but they give an idea of the process/sequence. If you're wondering why so many of the edges, it's because I wasn't happy with the dyed edges at first, then sanded it all off, and then ended up just redyeing them.
The idea I had was I wanted to maximize the contrast between plies on the edges bc it's not every day you get plywood you want to show off the edges. And they're beautiful on appleply. Anyhoo, it took me a while to figure out why the dyed edges had a lot of contrast in some areas, but little to no contrast in others. It's not rocket science, and most of you veteran woodworkers probably would intuitively get this, but eventually I figured out that because of the contour and direction of that curved cut in the desktop, in the curved area all plies on the edge are quasi-end-grain, and they both absorb lots of dye. Whereas on the front, back, and side edges, the grain of adjacent plies are perpendicular to one another, i.e. one ply is end-grain and the next is not, so you get the high contrast effect. It all worked out pretty well in the end.
I've read Flexnor, thanks. Great book. This is the first time I really got into wood finishing, and I got in knee deep. There's a lot to learn, and I learned a lot so far, but on a sliver in the grand scheme of things. I think experience teaches more than any book can...