Gerstner made a base for chests up to 20″ in width. It comes with a single locked drawer and two dividers. The early ones were made out of plywood and were painted brown with a lacquer coat over the paint. According to Scott Campbell:
The bases were started in the mid to late 50’s and they were only available in the brown lacquered finish. In the early 60’s we added oak and walnut finishes, but we still had the brown lacquered finish available, which I think was stopped in the mid to late 70’s.
I painted it because that’s the way it came from the factory. It ended up with several coats of brown paint, poorly applied. I stripped it down to bare wood, but it was just plywood, not suitable for staining and varnishing. It would have looked tacky. The old brochures show this was an option until they started making them from hardwood. If this model had been oak or another quality wood, I would have finished it. I checked with Scott before I proceeded.