I recently stumbled upon the beautiful wooden tripod pictured above from this forum. It’s meant to be used with a telescope, but the idea could easily be retrofitted to work with a camera.
The original instructions can be found here, and are quite detailed. The only thing that would seemingly be difficult to source is the tripod hub. A quick search revealed this Telescope WITH a Tripod for under $30. That seems like an unbelievably low price, and looking at the reviews, it seems that you get what you pay for telescope-wise.
One review of it did say, “A solid camera tripod would improve the setup 10-fold.” The hub doesn’t look that great itself, but it does appears to have a 1/4 – 20 mount which would screw into nearly any camera, so that’s a bonus.
You could always upgrade to this telescope for around $40. The reviews for it are much better, but some still complain that it is wobbly. Perfect for a tripod upgrade. On the other hand, it doesn’t look like it has a mount that would directly fit a camera. I guess which one you would want depends if you’re looking to only convert it to a DIY Wooden Tripod for camera use, or if you actually want to try out the telescope.
I guess you could always take the telescope apart. There might be something interesting there. Or maybe this is a crazy build idea. On the other hand, with some CNC or 3D printing equipment, it wouldn’t be too hard to build your own hub.
If this tripod isn’t heavy/tough enough for you, you could check out this tripod made from steel tubing and chain. The hub is “DIY,” so maybe that could produce an idea for how to make this without salvaging cheap telescope parts.
Edit: I didn’t mean for this to turn into a telescope ad, but that seemed like the most difficult thing about this build. Please leave a comment below on how much you think I’ve sold out.