By "solid top", I assume you mean the top will cover the neck laminates.
Myself, I love the satin look of Curly redwood.
Like this piece: http://oregonwildwood.com/guitar-woo...rwes13454.html
It's soft stuff, though, so it will need a hard finish to help protect it from dings. Meaning, it'll need a sprayed poly or lacquer finish, rather than a simple rubbed oil finish.
As to your other question...I've never done it.