Lucky me! In my own neighbourhood, I found some support for my projects, at Nick Page Guitars. They make beautiful chambered aluminium glued front guitars, super light and with a nice twangy sound. Their website show mostly telecaster clones but they have better on the working bench, one claimed to be the merge of a Rickenbacker 4001 and a Fender Mustang (sorry, no pics - but believe me, it really works).
What were the odds that I would find just around the corner people who have similar demands and ideas for their guitars? Good to have someone who didn't look at me like I'm bizarre when I described my projects and asked for advice.