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 scroll saw. 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.
Fretwork patterns originally were ornamental designs used to decorate objects with a grid or a lattice. Designs have developed from the rectangular wave Greek fret to intricate intertwined patterns. A common misconception is that fretwork is fretwork because it was done with a fretsaw. Actually the pattern is a fretwork whether or not it was cut out with a fretsaw.
Moorish Fretwork was invented by Moses Younglove Ransom in 1885. It consists of milled spiral rods that are "woven" into lattice like screens. In 1856 Owen Jones published the remarkable Grammar of Ornament, which collected and sorted patterns used by cultures around the world. In his chapter on Moresque Ornament (Moorish), Jones lays out the principles used in Moorish interlace designs. Ransom's Moorish Fretwork follows these design guidelines.