Over the years I’ve worked at the kitchen table ("poetry in motion"
as the work in progress had to be re-located for any meal), at the
breakfast counter which was high enough for my C-clamped benchpin,
and, after our daughter moved out, in a (finally) dedicated space
with a table on blocks for a bench.
This last set-up included a “skin” of sorts: I used a large
apron-sized section of vinyl upholstery fabric which was flexible. I
attached one edge to velcro strips placed on the under-surface of the
table and the opposite loose edge was folded over and sewn to form a
casing for a “belt” which fastened around my waist with velcro.
Before treating myself to a “real” jewelers bench, I purchased and
read (twice) Charles Lewton-Brain’s book on the subject, “The
Jeweler’s Bench Book” which I would highly recommend. He has
thoroughly covered these questions with copious illustrations,
including comments from many jewelers. Additionally the book treats
many aspects of the workspace and customizing it to suit your style
and your body (ergonomics) along with solutions to common problem
areas. In all, a great read and valuable resource!
Whichever choice you make will only be the beginning of ongoing
adaptations; a bench configuration is never really static.
Disclaimer: I purchased my own copy at full price (worth every
penny) and derive no benefit from my endorsement save the
satisfaction that others may also find it helpful.
I wish you luck with your quest and great pleasure in your choice.