After finishing the base assembly, I put a couple of coats of Arm-R-Seal on the underside of the top and the base.
I then started laying out my vise locations. I have two identical cast-iron Columbian vises. In a perfect world, I would mortise at least the face vise into the side of the bench top, but after looking at that the other day, I decided it would be too much work. I didn’t want to start chopping the thing up without a clear plan for how I’d bury the somewhat irregular shape of the inside vise face in the top.
Below you can see my extremely clever way of keeping the vise from tipping over as I laid out where the maple faces I made would go. I made those, at least, flush with the top and sides of the bench.
Since I have to screw through the inside maple face, through the existing hole in the vise and into the bench top, it was a bit involved to get the through holes, countersinks, and such lined up properly.
I then flipped the top over, laid out and drilled the dog holes with a spade bit. I made sure to stick a spare piece of 2×8 under the top to back up the hole. The holes ended up pretty much tearout-free and they fit the Kreg bench dogs I’ll be using just fine.
While I was at it, I also drilled all the pilot holes for the vises, the pilot holes in the cleats to attach the top to the base, and the appropriate countersinks.
Next comes actually attaching the top to the base, flattening the top, and putting finish on it. Almost done!