Workbench Apron

I'm about to start milling wood for a workbench but I have a couple of ideas holding me up. The first is that a lot of benches I see have an apron / trim around them that covers the end grain. I'm worried about wood movement breaking apart the apron or causing the bench top to bow. Is this something to be concerned with? How do people plan for that? Is it OK not to cover the end grain for will I get more movement in the top that way? I'm thinking about leaving the endgrain exposed or adding an apron but securing it with bolts/oversized holes. Suggestions?
I also can't decide on square holes vs. round. I lean towards square. Has anyone had issues with round holes that have gotten out of shape? Are they still useful after that?
If it matters, I'm recycling some rough cut 4x4 stock that has never been pressure treated. It's all ash. I've also read group archives but could use some fresh ideas. Especially about the apron.
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The apron part is tricky and there are many schools of thought that I'm sure have led to blows at times. I built my bench out of three laminated 3/4 MDF and put red oak 2x4 all around it. With biscuits. It has stayed pretty flat over the three years since it was built.
I put round holes in it. Afterwards, looking for something else, I came across a chat session between a woodworking group and Frank Klausz. He was asked "round or square" and emphatically stated SQUARE!
His dad didn't spend all that time with a chisel making square holes in his benches for fun! "Round holes will cause an odd shaped piece to pop out of the vise! I hope I do not hear any more questions on round vs square!"
He sure typed it like he meant it.
So if you decide to go with round, don't tell Frank.
As for myself I have yet to find a piece so odd-shaped piece that it pops out of the dogs when I work on it, but Frank probably runs more board feet through his bench than I do.
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I think what you mean by apron is a breadboard end. My bench has beadboard ends. The end has a tougue and the top has a groove. The end is bolted to the main top with two countersunk bolts and a captured nuts. *one* of the two bolts has an elonggated hole to allow for crossgrain movement. Seasonally, I see less than 1/8th inch of movement across a 24" width.
re: square vs. round:
Square holes, cut at a 2-degree (88?) angle dadoed into the main top subassembly.
Best of luck.
...steve

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No Apron. Breadboard ends floating on a tenon. Held on with machine bolts (one fixed, one elongated slot). Use a forstner to drill a nut hole in the bottom of the bench and either use a square nut or drill and tap a bit of 1/8" steel as a nut. One can make the tenon on the end of the bench with a router, likewise the mortice in the breadboard ends. Use the same 16/4 stock. Recess the machine bolt head into the breadboard ends.
If you use the 16/4 stock, the front and back of the bench will have a 3.5" apron by default. A 3.5" thick ASH bench would be quite sturdy.
scott
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dayvo wrote:

Well if you use "allthread" through the bench top to hold the front and rear aprons on - loose splined to the bench top to keep the tops of everything aligned - the through dovetails for apron to ends allows for expansion/contactions of the top while keeping the ends from cupping bottom of this page illustration should show you what I mean http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/DasBench/CBbench28.html

Why not both - square in the apron and round "in the field" - assuming of course that you have an end vise to apply force to that end of the part.

Don't make the apron TOO tall - you often want to clamp something down to the bench top and a wide apron can be a problem
There are all sorts of things to consider and problems to resolve when designing and building a woodworker bench that works for the type of thing YOU do, or want to do.
Here's my "genesis to completion" Das Bench you may find useful. The bench links at the bottom of the page will fill in plenty of other ideas, approaches and methods of construction
http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/DasBench/CBbench0.html
Have fun designing YOUR bench.
charlie b
ps - GET THE VISE HARDWARE BEFORE YOU START CUTTING WOOD.
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