Well, after two weeks of tinkering with veneering in my spare time, I now have a couple of scrap panels to add to my collection of scrap wood. I have managed a passable checker board panel but all the other faces have serious flaws. I have sanded through the finish veneer in a couple of places trying to get an even flat surface and my diamond pattern reverse panel has too many gaps. I have really struggled working with my Australian cedar because it is extremely soft. Time to cut my losses and start from scratch. I know I can put together a good checker board panel but next time I'm not going to over extend myself by doing more veneering than I have to to get the job done. Instead of laying veneer on removable panels I will integrate the veneer work into the storage box. I will probably stick with hoop pine and cedar for the squares but I will make the box and first layer of veneer out of hardwood.
I think it was Einstein who said "A person who has never made a mistake has never tried to do anything new".