You should investigate the Nicholson (English) bench. It is easy to construct from home center 2x materials, and knock-down version designs are available.
Bob Rozaieski at Logan Cabinet Shoppe has a blog and several videos explaining its functionality and construction. Start here:
Mike Siemsen also has plans and explanations at Mike Siemsen's School of Woodworking. Perhaps most immediately important, Mike has a video explaining and demonstrating work holding on this bench without vises. Of course, when time and funding are available, vises can easily be added.