I doubt it can be lighter and tougher. Wood can structurally surpase many materials, except CF is cases where lightness and stiffness are the key. I have been passionate about wood for 30 years, in boats in particular, it can come pretty close on boats. But a bike is not an obvious case, and one additional hurdle is all the patching together required for headtubes, bbs, etc...
You would need an awful big budget to beat my plywood trimaran, cost 3k.
So is my boat! Stuff just isn't in the same ballpark as carbon. Assume these tubes are engineered to x degree, apply that effort to carbon and the results are going to be way out ahead. So for instance a spar in wood that had a 1 inch wall diameter on a six inch section could be done in 1/8" in carbon. And making the wooden one as environmentally durable is a whole other packet of fun.
"Ken was a boat and plane designer before he started in on bikes. They have a neat thing going over there."
Well that explains that. I'm a boat designer, and I did once work on an ultralight seaplane project... Unfortunately not an aircraft designer, that would really help. I used to read wooden airplane design volumes from the WWII period, but without the engineering background I only got so much out of it.