I was reading last week about this guy who needed to make a six-foot radius, six-inch high cherry cove crown piece.
He was talking about having turned round crown segments on a large faceplate lathe, something I have done many times myself. But here we were looking at a 12-foot circle with a six-foot swing! Plus, he only needed one quarter circle and it was unlikely he would ever need the other four pieces even if he could have turned the crown. Not too big a deal with a small turn but it was going to take a lot of cherry to glue up that 12-foot blank!
What the guy ended up doing was to make up the section by laminating 8/4 cherry and bandsawing the curves. Then he rigged up a jig to hold a small grinder with one of those "chain saw" four-inch cutting wheels that was guided by the edge of the blank itself. Then he just ate away at the blank a bit at a time until he had his basic shape.
I wish I could post pictures on this blog because this is one of those "gotta see it to believe it" things. But trust me, this was creative thinking on steroids. It just goes to show how a solution to any problem can be found once the brain is let out of the box.