It is definitely more difficult and time consuming to build a lute than a guitar.
Especially when you want it to be nicely round without edges, you'll need about 20 or more ribs.
It is immense work to build a decent lute body. The hard thing is not bending but getting it done gapless.
Overall it is not even lesser carving work or something, even the material costs are higher for me,
but that depends on your wood sources.
I built both guitars and lutes, ouds, buzuq.
I have a fox style bender for guitar sides but the ribs for lutes I do bend per hand.
If you decide for a lute I could give you usefull tips.
"If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done."