Cute Fretwork Animal Portraits

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Cute Fretwork Animal Portraits

Practice cutting portraits with three animal designs of varying difficulty

By George Ahlers

Cut by Leldon Maxcy

These wildlife portraits make great presents and items to sell. The koala pattern is the most challenging, especially with the addition of the optional overlay frame. While there are fewer frets in the cougar, it features more delicate bridges between the frets than the zebra pattern does. But all of them can be stack-cut to speed up your production.

Download the Patterns

Making the Portraits

Use a table saw to cut the blank(s) to size. Center the pattern on the blank. Using standard fretwork techniques, cut the design and sand away any fuzzies. If desired, download the pattern for the koala’s optional overlay frame HERE. Cut the overlay, remove any fuzzies, align the designs, and glue the two pieces together.

To emphasize the fretwork, attach each sanded project to a piece of Baltic birch plywood painted black or another black backing material. You can frame unfinished wood. If you plan to display an unframed portrait, apply several light coats of spray sealer just to make the portrait easier to dust.


• Baltic birch plywood, 1/8″ (3mm) thick: 1 per pattern (optional 2nd for koala) 8 1/2″ x 11″ (21.6cm x 27.9cm) or 11″ x 14″ (27.9cm x 35.6cm)

• Baltic birch plywood, 1/8″ (3mm) thick, or alternate black backing material to match plywood blank(s)

• Sandpaper

• Wood glue

• Black paint (optional)

• Frame (optional)

• Clear spray finish (optional)

• Hanger (optional)


• Scroll saw blades: #2/0 reverse-tooth
• Drill with assorted small bits


About the Author

George Ahlers lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with his beautiful wife, Wendy. He has been working wood for more than 25 years. George is currently employed at ShawneeCraft Brewery, in scenic Shawnee On Delaware, Pa.; there he gets to pursue two of his favorite pastimes: brewing beer and woodworking.

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