Tiny end table - detail oriented
I am making a tiny, whimsical, natural-organic type end table. It is about 20x10 on top (cherry), but only 4.5x12.5 between the legs. I am putting a 3/4 inch thick cherry shelf at the base between 2 inch square black walnut legs. I have it all cut and fitted. The aprons will be attached to the legs using floating tenons (unknown wood) - not my choice because I would have preferred the tenons to be an integrated part of the aprons, but that was predetermined for me by someone else.
I am adding the shelf idea myself. At this point, nothing is gued together yet and I need to decide how I want to attach the shelf to the legs and the top to the aprons.
For the shelf, my friend wants me to use dowel rods and drill holes in the side of the legs and the shelf. I am fine with the method, but not sure if it should be dowel rods - because it seems wrong in a unseen aesthetic way for my first real piece of furniture. I kind of think it is more like a craft project if I do that. I thought it should be a tenon, but I don't have much in the way of tools now, so they thought that would be the easiest way to handle it on my own. Tiny as it is, does anyone else think that is kind of cheap to do to something I want to be an heirloom?
As for attaching the top, I have already cut a groove to attach metal brackets on the inside of the aprons. However, this is a very natural, whimsical, organic type piece. I would like something a little more authentic or natural instead of metal screws if there is another, fairly simple, but traditional method of doing it. I know I could make a wooded bracket and use a screw. But, if I have to use a screw at all, that seems pointless to spend time making a wooden bracket by hand.
Any suggestions that will be as effective and don't require a lot of high powered tools? I have only a few hand tools and drill, etc., and a hand saw. But, I might be able to get a friend to let me use something else if it would be better.
Thanks for your input.