Fretwork is not a new craft. It is a woodworking technique that involves using a scroll saw or other specialty fretwork tools to cut intricate designs in wood. The designs generally are geometrical and can be used as ornamental trim on clocks, shelves, etc. or to create functional items or works of art. The technique involves cutting away small bits of wood from the interior of the design, the wood not cut away becoming the final piece. Fretwork or filigree fretwork can also be used to describe the same type of intricate design worked in metal or other materials. Fretwork in wood is often referred to as scroll sawing but fretwork is just one woodworking technique that can be done with a scroll saw.
The term 'Intarsia' is derived from the Latin verb 'interserere', "To insert or the process of inlaying wood".
By choosing beautiful wood, cutting, sculpturing, sanding and fitting the different textured and coloured pieces the average woodworker can make beautiful wooden reliefs in large or small designs. Each piece of wood is selected for colour variation and grain direction. Working from a pattern the final process is to polish each piece with wax, coat with oil or some other coating and then glue it in place usually on a backing board. The finished piece of art could be best described as being similar to a 3D picture puzzle or a painting created by using different species of timber.