Stay with me on this…
I started working with page layouts and typography and such back in the ’70s, when, if you were lucky, you had an IBM Selectric with more than one type ball. If I wanted anything fancy, I had to buy Letraset rub-on lettering or break out the Speedball pen nibs and India ink and do it myself. Then in the ’80s and ’90s, desktop publishing technology made it possible for anyone with a computer and a laser printer to use as many different fonts and styles as they wanted. The fact that you could use ten different fonts in a document didn’t necessarily mean that you should, but unfortunately, many people did just that, and as a result, there was a lot of really awful document design out there.
Back to woodworking…it seems to me that everywhere I look these days I’m seeing project after project where the woodworker has used as many different wood species as he could get his hands on, and while I was initially impressed with the variety, any more it feels a little like looking at a document with ten different fonts, some of which don’t really look good together. I’ve seen photographs of a number of projects in which there were three, four, five, even six different wood species used, and often in not very attractive ways. So it begs the question: Do we really need to use so many different species in one project? And if we’re going to use more than one wood species, shouldn’t we at least try to use woods that look reasonably good together?
I’m just saying.