I don’t have any images of the rear of the original walnut chest; however, roughly thirty years ago I restored a mid-eighteenth-century chest of remarkably similar quality and construction (though of mahogany) which had an oddly asymmetrical three-panel pine back. I prepared the frame stuff and plainly fielded panels (fig. 1) and assembled the back.
I sawed a walnut flitch into 3/32″ thick veneer whereupon each leaf revealed a recurring dead knot which hadn’t previously been apparent. Not to worry, the veneer was, on the whole, fine for the job.
The carcase sides were toothed and the veneer was sized prior to laying it down (fig. 2).
The main veneers were trimmed and then the crossbanding was rubbed in place (fig. 3).
Prior to the Victorians and their cumulus-shaped veneer punches, patches in veneer were more often than not quadrilateral with little concern given to blending them into the surrounding figure or grain. I cut four small lozenges from scrap veneer and patched the dead knots (fig. 4).
With the sides veneered and banded, I attached the side base mouldings (fig. 5).
For the ogee feet, blocks of walnut were glued (cross-grained) onto a pine board which were then planed and scraped to shape (fig. 6).
I took my cue for the rear brackets from the same mahogany chest that the backboards were copied from and sawed them out of pine. The individual laminated walnut brackets were sawn to shape and rubbed onto the base of the carcase (fig. 7). Split corner blocks and glue blocks were added for support.
With the chest shod, I righted it and began veneering the top. As per the carcase sides, the quartered main veneers were trimmed and then bounded by narrow featherbanding and broad crossbanding (fig. 8).
When dry, all edges were trimmed (figs. 9 & 10) and the whole given a quick wipe down with hot water.
The hours involved in the work in this post come to 61.
The total hours involved to-date come to 144-1/4.