The top of the carcase is 7/8″ thick and the top moulding is 1-1/2″ tall, so a 5/8″ ‘packer’ is required across the front underside of the top to make up the difference and give the moulding a solid foundation. Packers were often made of second grade wood, but sound enough for the purpose. I prepared a suitable piece of wood, glued it to the underside of the top panel and planed it flush with the front edge of the top.
The three dustboards were prepared and rubbed together in the same manner as the carcase panels, but only three boards per dustboard were joined as they were commonly two or three inches short of the backboards. When dry, I tidied up the dustboards and planed them to be a neat slide-in fit in the carcase gables.
This chest incorporates two short top drawers which require a central, vertical divider and central drawer guide to prevent the drawers skewing within the carcase. I made the divider from an off-cut of one of the dustboards, having two stub tenons on each end which engage in blind mortises in both the packer and the carcase top, and through mortises in the first dustboard. The central drawer guides were typically a 3/4″ x 1/2″ strip of pine and usually nailed, dry (without glue), onto the top of the first dustboard behind the central divider. This can present a problem to restorers when the nails rust or the guide wears because, with an assembled carcase, there’s not much room to wield a hammer between the carcase top and first dustboard to drive new nails in. Alignment of the guide can also be problematic in such a confined space. Better made chests had a shallow housing cut into the upper face of the first dustboard into which the drawer guide was glued, thus ensuring positive location. I decided on the latter approach. My great, great, great grandchildren may one day laud my circumspection.
With the carcase and dustboards assembled, I rubbed some 5/8″ scraps of pine across the ends of the underside of the top. This built up the void behind the front packer, forming a kicker for each of the top drawers to prevent them tilting down when being withdrawn from the chest.
The chest was flipped onto its top and the base packers and foot blocks were glued in place. The foot positions have been laid out on the foot blocks for the spigot holes which will be drilled through both the blocks and carcase base at a later date. The feet will be glued in place after the carcase sides have been veneered to prevent damaging them.
I cleaned up the top and gables of the carcase and toothed them in readiness for the veneer.