The real trick here as well is to have a super sharp chisel so it doesn't tear the grain up. I can get my hand tools pretty sharp but I feel like there's still room for improvement.
After finally getting all of the mortises finished up I was able to do a dry fit of the bench and I must say I feel proud to have got this far. This thing is heavy and should have no problem withstanding wailing on it with a hammer and chisel.
Also I had to get an "action" shot for a work profile and Alex was nice enough to snap a picture of me planing one of the short rails. Next up is pegging the short rails to the legs and then installing some knockdown bench bolts on the long rails so that the bench could be taken apart and moved if ever needed.