Bought a maple lab bench top for $50 over a year ago - specifically for this bench. Had to have the bench top apron done before I could cut it up. Turned out I could cut the 36" x 72" x 1 3/4" into the top layer at 21 1/2" wide, leaving enough to add two 6 3/4" pieces along the front and back of the bench top. So the areas where all the pounding will be done will be 3 1/2" thick maple. Should be nice and solid. However, drilling the dog holes is going to be fun in 3 1/2 inches of maple.
Trying to rip a 3 foot by 6 foot glued up top on the table saw would've been a chore. Thanks to an 8 foot Clamp 'n Guide and a Porter Cable circular saw which has a nice big base, I could cut the big chunk off this thing on my big assembly bench. Ripping the 13 3/4 " wide remnant in half of the table saw was easy. The resulting 6 3/4" wide 6 footers could then be cross cut to length on the 12" sliding compound miter saw.
Here's the two layered maple bench top core.
Also had to have the bench top apron done BEFORE I could work out the details of the shoulder vise.
It became very apparent that I needed to beef up the shoulder vise arm's joint to the left end cap. AND THAT PRESENTED A PROBLEM (aka - a challenge). The end cap part already had the pins of a through dovetail on it's "back" end and a pair of through mortises in its middle. Here's my solution.
TIP # 2040A:
One of the "fun" parts of using a "bolt and barrel nut" is getting the barrel nut in position to screw the bolt into it. Once you drop it in the hole it becomes tricky to move and get aligned with the bolt. THAT'S where one of those little circular EARTH MAGNETS comes in handy - again. Epoxy one on the end of a dowel that'll fit in the barrel nut hole. Drop the barrel nut in the hole, slip in the dowel with the magnet and you can control the barrel nut nicely.