I think the main thing to be careful of is bench height. Set it up so the carriage handwheel is at the level of your elbow -- so your forearm is horizontal when you're turning the handwheel -- and you'll be about right. If the bench is too low your back won't like it.
I used a piece of 1/4" tempered Masonite for a benchtop surface, which has worked out well.
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