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So I have given it a lot of thought and many pages in my notebooks.  I think a 5x5 crafting window allowing for general materials to be used to craft something (Metal, Wood, Leather/Cloth, Herb, etc).  So you can mix and match as long as the material you are using is valid in the recipe - I believe this will allow for flexibility that I(and hopefully you too) desire in the game.  This will also give the ability to use rare metals and materials without having to horde them.  It will also give the ability to give draw backs to some materials that can be offset by using different materials(and this aspect will make it much easier to balance the game without changing too much later on.)
Some basic crafting recipes I am kicking around:
Code:
.....   Small Shield
.XXX.
.XXX.
.XXX.
.....

.XXX.   Large Shield
.XXX.
.XXX.
.XXX.
.....

.XXX.   Tower Shield
.XXX.
.XXX.
.XXX.
.XXX.

.....   Helmet
.XXX.
.X.X.
.X.X.
.....

.X.X.   Chest
.XXX.
.XXX.
.XXX.
.XXX.

.XXX.   Pants
.XXX.
.X.X.
.X.X.
.X.X.

.....   Boots
.X.X.
.X.X.
.X.X.
XX.XX

....X   Long Sword
...X.
X.X..
.X...
X.X..

.....   Short Sword
...X.
X.X..
.X...
X.X..

.W...   Bow
.SW..    (S) string
.S.W.    (W) wood
.SW..
.W...

..M..   Bolt (x10)
..W..
..W..
..F..
.....

..M..   Arrow (x10)
..W..
..W..
..W..
..F..
So I have done some playing with ideas and have come up with crafted items reflecting what they are made of (not just stat - wise).

if we take the materials needed to make an item lets say 5 ingots to make a helm.
The model of the helm has 5 texture maps to it and kind of looks like this:

[Image: fb36d79d47151cc35bf08abde150b571.png]


Then in the game depending on the materials you used in crafting the item the areas are set to different materials: (example uses 1 bronze ingot 2 brass and 2 copper)


[img] https://i.gyazo.com/a332e36d5ddbeac80289...e110c0.png[/img]