I was astonished recently, when browsing the content of a weekend woodcarver’s manual, to discover how many different woods there are which are suitable for making everything from furniture to musical instruments.
The only trouble with wood as a material is that it comes in a wide range of natural colours from light brown to dark brown.
Today’s invention is to supply growing trees with a constant flow of coloured vegetable dye. This would be taken up through the xylem (in the same ways as natural brownish dyes are) and gradually perfuse the entire inner structure of the wood. After logging, the timber which emerges from a given tree would all be of a uniform shade (and more colourful than nature’s basic palette).
It might even be possible to introduce different colours to different regions of the growing tree and thus create shading and mixing effects.
This would save significantly on subsequent painting bills and introduce a more modern, colourful perspective to the design of wood products.