Well, what a project this has been. Loads of new techniques learnt and at the end of it a fab bench based on an C18th design.
I finned off with a few coats of Fiddes Hard Wax which interestingly comes in a tin, as opposed to a block, and seems to me to be similar, if not a bit more gloopy, to General Finishes Arm R Seal (which we cannot now get here in the UK thanks to David C and his mates)
I am really pleased with the result and can report that even with the rain we need here and the rise in humidity the top has stayed dead flat.
The vices grip so well, my arthritic hands have no problem clamping work firmly and they run as smooth as silk.
So nothing more to do other than post some pictures of the finished bench and get on to all of the other jobs that should have been done while I was indulging myself on this.