When the glue setup I took the block plane and planed a slight taper from front to back. This resulted in a 0.5 mm veneer at the front gently tapering to about 1.5 mm at the rear on the left hand side as shown in the picture.
This will only be seen by fellow woodworkers (and of course you dear reader) but it does now mean the lid will fit without any obvious gaps that would have been seen by everybody!
I then glued in a milled piece of walnut at the back that will become the hinge board. This too was planed down flush with the sides. Everything on the top surface is now co-planer so the lid will sit flat.
Pearl InlayI then spent some time making up some mother of pearl inlays in the initials of my wife's name. These were cut out with a jewellers saw, plenty of light from my Ikea worklights and stress relief courtesy of cool jazz on the shop music system (Jazz 88.3 FM KSDS San Diego http://www.jazz88.org streamed over the internet if you are interested!). Cutting out pearl is very therapeutic but you do need some good eye-wear too. I use an OptiVISOR Headband Magnifier from Stewmac with 2x lenses and lights.
You do end up looking like a dork but at least you can see what you are doing.
False Front (Top Drawer)
The next job was to cut out the top "drawer" which in reality is actually a false front. Cut that to size and then cut out the cavities for the pearl. This requires a Dremel or similar with a router base (I got my precision router base from ToneTech to aid making guitars). I also use a downward spiral 1mm router bit in the Dremel. I've found the best way to mark the cavities out is to stick them to the board with some 3M spraymount and spray some light nitro cellulose paint over. When dry trace around the pearl with a 0.5mm pencil and then carefully remove the pearl pieces.
Then route to the pencil lines leaving the lines intact to slightly deeper than the pearl (1/16" ish).
The pearl will drop in quite easily to the cavities but don't push them all the way in as you will not get them out again. First put some CA thin glue into the cavity and push the pearl in. If there are any gaps make up some filler using CA glue and dust from the timber. Push it into the gaps and it will dry well.
Finally sand off the excess glue and get down to that nice pearl. You should end up with something like this:
I run the piece through the table saw to just cut very small rabbets on the sides and bottom (0.5mm x 2mm deep) to give the appearance of a shadow line. When glued into place the false front should actually still look like a drawer having clearance on all three sides.
In reality all you are seeing is the rabbet and the rest of the stock is glued to the carcase.
The piece was glued into place and left overnight. Next day I planed the top surface flush with the sides. The top "box" is now finished.
Other jobs to do are make the 2 real drawers and hidden drawer. That comes next....