That being said, I've turned my attention to how I will eventually decorate it. Neither Phillip nor I have the time, patience or (probably) skill to redo the veneer entirely. But in my researches I have found that many of the boxes like this were decorated with paint in a technique called "penwork".
But as you can see, it isn't limited to that either. There is also red backgrounds and verdigris green. Unlike Medieval and Renaissance boxes referred to as "polychromed wood", these boxes seem to be done in a process more akin to Russian Palek boxes. A box is covered first with a primer, then several layers of black lacquer. Then the design is put on in metallic paint and painted over with colors. The whole thing is then covered with several layers or clear lacquer. (http://www.russianamericancompany.com/lacquer-box-making/) This is a lot more robust and durable than regular polychroming which is paint over layers of gesso. I think I can make a decent stab at pretty design work that, while it may not be up to Palek box standards, may be nicely done nonetheless. Time to dig out my air brush and see if it will suit the lacquer.
And while we're on the subject, how about those brass hairy paw feet. I know I can do them as I already made feet like that for another box and I still have all the molds. All-in-all this may take what seems like forever, but if I'm careful and do it right it could turn out splendidly. Be that as it may, I still have to be about the very tedious business of removing that veneer. But its dreams like this that keep me going.