Hi Kris! I have worked wood for around 20 years and thought I was a craftsman, until I met a real one. I did a course with a bloke called 'Paul Sellers'. He is a Master Craftsman, and has made pieces for the permanent collection at the White House, all by hand. He has worked wood for about 45years and trained over 3500 students. I did a course with him last year where I learnt the basics of accurate layout, how to sharpen any hand tool in less than 2 minutes, and a series of hand cut techniques that date back hundreds of years.
I have seen him cut a perfect dovetailed joint (2 tails and 3 pins) in less than 2 minutes! My first took over an hour, but I've got it down to under 10 minutes now. He has done a book called 'Working Wood- The Artisan Course by Paul Sellers'. This gets to the core essentials of what it's all about, no waffle or fluff! And man, it works! I'd recommend you get yourself a copy. There are some videos as well and I have been told they are the very best that have ever been produced. I have not seen any of them yet but I intend to find out what all the hype is about.
I've just built a bench and I need to fit the vise to it next. I got the design out of the Working Wood book. It's totally solid and a breeze to build. I'll stick a picture here if I can.
There ya go! that took a bit of doing. This is the design I've followed. It was all pretty straight forward, and the wood is just cheap stuff from B&Q or Home Depot over with you. I'll get a photo of mine up here soon, it's still a work in progress but I've given it a coat of some kind of water based exterior stain/preservative. Hey, all the best Kris!