I'm right there with you, CC - dog holes can be a problem. I have a smaller work surface but it's not big enough for assembly. I'm gonna get a sheet of Luan to put down for that. I also use a paper roll to lay down for finishing. Helps some...my best surface for checking flat and square is still the table saw.There's some good tips in there. If you have dog holes in the bench then you can cover most of those with dogs and the end vise. Mine has dog holes but one problem with having dog holes is that small parts like screws tend to seek them out so that they can fall through into another dimension never to be found again. I often wish I had another solid top bench just for assembly for that reason.