Keep in mind that these projects are for the TV shows, they are teaching technique, makes sense that they use a wood that cuts nice as well as fast! You don’t really think you can rout oak or maple as fast as they do their project ! Some of their later shows, they even use straw wood. A few of the projects do look better made from ½ stock, but for the rest use the standard ¾ wood. All the plans I’ve got from them, I used what I wanted. Just keep in mind that you may need to alter a measurement or two.
Cut it twice, and it's still too short!