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There should be a wealth of information available from the woodworking instructors at your college. Consult with them first before sinking a lot of money into the project. A mortise and tenon joint is the strongest woodworking joint due to the amount of gluing surface area. In ancient times mortise and tenon joints held in place with wooden pins were used to hold ships together without glue. Even in modern times destructive tests have shown that mortise and tenon joints have only been surpassed by adding metal reinforcements to the joints. Check out SAM MALOOF chairs. His chairs were held together with a special joint he designed that incorporated a metal screw. Woodworker Lonie Byrd used metal threaded rods through the struts in his woodworking bench in addition to mortise and tenon joinery to stabilize it. A watch repair bench will not be subjected to forces anywhere close to a woodworking bench (hand planing) but look into it and ask the woodworking instructors at your school.