Some more progress in the last couple of days. Yesterday I finished flattening the tops, using the clamped frame of the bench and the planing stop to support the tops while I planed them. Once I could align the front top, I also began making the hole for the planing stop.
Today I completed the hole for the stop, and was then able to screw the top down. I did need to rack the bench to get the ends level—wasn’t able to get them absolutely square, but within 1-2mm. With the bench now pretty much together (the legs just need to be bolted to the aprons, I could begin laying out the holes for the holdfast. I tested out the thickness of the wood on some scraps and am delighted with how well the holdfast works. Just had time before finishing for the day to bore one of the storage holes on the end. I’ve not done much work with augur bits, but the old Irwin bit I’m using is cutting beautifully—just as well, as an augur bit file of any sort seems to be not merely unobtainable but entirely unheard of in NZ—so I hope boring all those other holes will go equally smoothly.