Newbie Workbench Questions

Hi all,
I'm a new woodworking enthusiast (yet to call myself a real woodworker, though I have built a couple things), and now that my dad has given me many of my great grandfather's hand tools (he was a carpenter), I am interested in going "unplugged" as much as possible. I'm planning a workbench, and have read a lot on the web. Here are my questions:
1. I want the bench to be easily broken-down, so I'm looking to go mostly glue-free, with the exception of the table top and the legs. Are pinned or tusk mortise-and-tenon joints sufficient to render the bench solid and stable? And would single 2x4s be good enough as bottom rails, or would I need to double them up? 2. To attach the table top to the legs, I've been considering an idea which I've yet to read about (which violates a rule I read about not messing with traditional, tried-and-true plans). My idea is to tenon the entire leg into the table top (which would be 2x4's on end). I figure I could create the mortises before glue-up, going about 2 inches deep. That would still leave an inch of table above the leg. If I can make clean and tight mortise-and-tenons, and drop the legs up into them, would the table still wobble without rails up top? Or should I make the mortises smaller and cut real tenons into the tops of the legs? 3. Is attaching a vise a pain if the depth (height?) of the vise is different from the thickness of the table top?
All for now. Thanks for any tips you might have!
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Take a look at the workbench from the Woodwright's Shop -> http://www.woodwrightsshop.com/manewwopa1.html It doesn't use any glue so you can easily take it apart. It looks pretty sturdy. Mortise-and-tenon joints should be plenty strong.
As to your idea for attaching the table top, it seems wrong but I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe because you're blurring the line between frame and top.
I don't see why a different heights would be a problem. Just remember that the only effective clamping area you have is the narrower of the vice and the tabletop.
The only tip I have is not to try and make this workbench perfect. Build something good, not too big or complicated. You'll find out what you like and don't like about your design - and then apply that in the next bench.
Bas.
Eric wrote:

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Eric wrote:

Why not bolt shoulders to the 2x4s? Okay ... you don't have to use bolts ... but they are probably easier than through tenons with wedges.
In fact, you could use 2x4 runners alongside the 2x4 legs as the table support and pin the top to the runners.
Do make sure that your legs are either secured at three or more points (top, bottom and some other reasonable distance(s)) or cross-braced to prevent racking.
But I've got to agree with the earlier poster who urged you to simply make a bench that works to start with and build from there. FWW has a pretty nice set of drawings (no dimensions given -- you're on your own) for one based on pipe clamps for work-holding that I have on my list of "neat things I'd like to do if I could find the time." No reason why you couldn't make it with knock-down joints that I can see. I'm still using my table saw top for an assembly bench and that is starting to get old.
Bill
--
I'm not not at the above address.
http://nmwoodworks.com
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Get yourself to a local library that has Popular Woodworking, preferably over the last three to five years. One of the editors, Chris Schwarz, has been making various workbenches, or all sorts of heritages, and documenting the hows and whys of their building and use, for all to see. He writes well, and works mainly in handtools, except where the power offers significant advantage. And he has a book coming out this fall on the topic.
Also, from the same folks. Woodworking Magazine has some really nice plans, too.
What you described with the leg trestle to top connection has been tried, with some reported success.
Me, I did things pretty simply, with Borg construction lumber and cabinet grade plywood. But I haven't moved it more than 10-12 feet since construction finished. Works pretty well for me, but won't be confused for a dining table or a journeyman's piece.
Have fun!
Patriarch
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