Today I went to the local garden center to see if anything was on sale, considering that fall and winter are on their way/already happening...
I went with the intention of purchasing a Japanese red maple. They had at least twenty, ranging from 1.5'-6'. Two of them had some very nice nebari and thick trunks, but branching started some 2' up from them. It'd be a hassle and would take a long time to do a trunk chop, and even then it wouldn't have been worth dropping ~$85 on them.
I ended up finding a nice Sargent juniper with potential for becoming a raft-style bonsai for just $9. I already trimmed it up, and tomorrow I will wire it and post pics.
It was really funny too that at the nursery, I ran into a family friend who asked me to make her a Wabi Kusa for her (she'd seen my site through a friend's friend on Facebook or something), so my trip there turned out to be about twice as profitable as the purchase of the tree itself