No philosophising today, just a progress report. The 8 M&T joints of the base were drawbored and glued up. I used a 2mm offset for the drawbored holes. In hindsight I would have gone for a greater offset for such a big joint. (Chris Schwarz tells us to 1st practice as the offset varies according to the size!). The dowels were 3/8" in diameter, made by hand as follows: I placed the blank on a V-Block and planed it into a hexagon with my fore plane. I then hammered the piece through a LN imperial dowel plate. My friend Manuel alternates between the metric & the imperial dowel plates as a kind of a half size. After this experience, I would do the same-it's less aggressive on the dowel.
Next my son will be turning four 5" long, 30mm diameter dowels which will be the method of attaching the top to the base. I will glue the dowels into the top, but not into the base. Instead I will drill a dowel through to hold it in place. In this way the bench can be disassembled in case I need to move. There is light showing at the end of the tunnel.