Cap'n Joe: before this current era of composites, there was a product called Benelex which weighed
a ton and had to be machined with diamond. It ate carbide alive, but was dimensionally stable, and
was ridiculously impact resistant, but not resistant to strong solvents. I still have a film punch made
on it. What I did for my enlarger column is take a highly stable kind of strand structural beam material, with phenolic glue throughout, squared it off on our 600V 22" table saw here, pickled the
whole thing with penetrating epoxy, then fully laminated it with black formica and extruded edging.
I did this both for sheer support (I live just a few blocks from the infamous Hayward fault), as well
as for precision. I can fine focus a neg up to say 30X40, leave it in there all winter, come back,
and the focus will still be perfect.