I had a tank with a handmade hood once. My tips would be- if you're going to use wood, use hardwood and varnish it properly! Mine was pine and it warped so badly that I couldn't get the damn thing off after a while and had to cut it off so I could replace it.
The tank is not a standard size but the design of it means I'm unlikely to be able to use an alternative such as jewel.
The light forms an integral part of the hood. I've approached the idea with dh who said "yeah ok, I'll knock up a new hood and sort the lighting" followed by a quiet sigh which means "you and your bloody fish"
But he's going to do it . Any useful links to stop him screwing it up help give him ideas?
I had those arcadia arc pod things. I found with both of them that the silver paint flaked off the clippy bit (plastic but trying to look like metal) and fell in the tank. They are only big enough for tiny tanks anyway
You could go with one of the overhead T5 things, they are a little more expensive, building your own sounds much cheaper!
What hood have you got? Most of them are standard sizes, can you not mod it a bit to fit in a T8? You can get clips and they are easy to fit so my DH tells me and that would probably be the cheapest option.