Hi Thomas B,
Welcome to the group. Believe me, you are not the first to have deal with these issues. Hand tool woodworking is probably the best option available to apartment dwellers because it is so much quieter and requires less space than power tool woodworking. There are numerous references on the internet on the use of different devices for work holding particularly for Nicholson type benches. You just need to look at the options to find what will work best for your particular situation. You may want to look at taking a piece of lumber ( a 2X12 maybe) that you flatten, drill dog holes in, attach devices to, that you can clamp to a table or between saw horses, to use as a portable bench surface. You can use clamps, pegs and wedges etc. for the work holding and will help to keep tools away from the table surface. To help offset the lack of weight you can place one end of the board against a n object or a wall (protect the surfaces) to act against the push of tools At the end of the work you can stand it up in a closet or slide it under a bed. The other good news is that many of the devices can be made by the craftsman so you don’t have a lot of out-of-pocket expenses.