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Fretwork is an interlaced decorative design that is either carved in low relief on a solid background, or cut out with a fretsaw, jigsaw or scrollsaw. Most fretwork patterns are geometric in design. The materials most commonly used are wood and metal. Fretwork is used to adorn furniture and musical instruments. The term is also used for tracery on glazed windows and doors. Fretwork is also used to adorn/decorate architecture, where specific elements of decor are named according to their use. eg. Eave Bracket, Gable Fretwork, Baluster Fretwork. Any item that is cut out is considered fretwork, although popular usage creates an exception to this rule; when the architectural element is not actually physically cut out, such as reproduction plastic moulded fretwork it is called fretwork, however it was not 'cut out' with a fretsaw, jigsaw or scrollsaw so it is technically incorrect. Nor are elements such as a carved corbel considered to be fretwork, even if the initial crafting of the item included using a cut out technique.

The CNC machine (Computer Numerical Controlled) has brought about change with which the method of timber fretwork is manufactured. Lasers or Router/Milling cutting implements can now fashion timber and other various materials, with the aid of the CNC into flat and even 3-Dimensional decorative items.

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