I've asked the exact question myself in terms of how much wood thickness they start with and how muc hcomes off, even at the highest point. Don't forget, there's the carve. So while the maple may be 1/4 inch thick where it meets the edge of the body, if it was like that everywhere, you'd have a LP special flattop LP.
Honey burst is an option and possible winner if I can be sure he can nail the color. The first real 59 I played was a faded honeyburst plaintop. The color made up for any lack of flame. The guitar was incredible looking and the color just oozed mojo. Same color as Page's. The trouble with a honeyburst is that if he misses the color, it will look really lame. The lemon is safer.