Shapeways community member Robert Carlsen pointed me to the work of Robert Bosco. Bosco was an amazing "turner" an artist & artisan that using a mechanical lathe makes the most amazing things out of wood. To illustrate what is possible with 3D printing we usually point to examples such as "a ball in a ball" or other impossible shapes. But, Bosco has managed to create impossible shapes by hand and by using a lathe. The intricacy, sheer work & skill as well as the planning that goes into these things is incredible. Take some time to check out the site here where he has stars inside polhedra, Stars inside Dodecahedra and something called openwork stapled spheres that blew my mind.
The turner's cube and wittled "Ball Cage" are good examples of what improbable items can be made in wood.
If you want to see very complex turning then look up "Rose Engine", "ornamental wood turning" or "Holtzapffel Lathe". These mechanisms use gears to produce complex motions and help you turn spirals, elipses and other interesting shapes