I need some suggestion about a plan, please

Hallo! I am now dealing with a projects which is more complex than any I've done before, for several reason, among which it is the first to be put in our living room (and therefore my wife will be much less unforgiving than ever!!!!).
The second reason: it is the first time I do not follow strictly an existing plan, which puts me in front of choinces up to now I've never had to take.
After I submitted several plans to my wife approval, with no success, the one below
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http://www.leviatano.net/projects/salotto1.jpg
surprisingly met her enthusiasm, which is a convincing reason to proceed... the point is that while she's satisfied with the aesthetic (is this the spelling?) now I must face those annoying technicalities like 'how will I make it, now?'.
Dimensions are 36"Wx36"Lx24"H The legs are 2-3/8"Wx2-3/8"L and the sides are 1" thick.
I was thinking of cherry (for the sides) and mahogany (for the legs). My first worry is about the glass top and how I should accomodate for wood shrinking: in my plan there is a 1/2" rebate over which the glass lays. I suppose I should leave some spacing bw. the glass and the rebate edge (I hope I am clear enough, as I am not confident with English 'woodworking' terms), but how much?
Secondly: I am really hesitating about the joint to use bw. sides and legs. After studying the woodworker's joint book, my first thought was a sliding dovetail, but as I should stop the sides from sliding 'down' I should insert the tail from the top, which is ugly. So, after aving pondered the pros and cons of tenons, dowels, biscuits and whatever, now I am here completely clueless!
Any hint is welcome.
Thank you, Luciano
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On 22 Aug 2004 08:24:06 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (feanorelf) wrote:

for the cherry panels I'd recommend veneered panels. much more stable. you can buy the sheet goods with the cherry veneer on it.

set the glass over the top of the whole thing. the gap bwtewwn the wood and glass as you have it drawn will quickly fill with crud and look terrible- and be really hard to clean.

I'd glue the panels into a stopped groove in the legs. that is, the legs have a groove in them that extends from the top of the panel to the bottom of the panel but not to the ends of the leg. I'd leave enough leg above and below the panel that the bit of end grain at the end of the groove isn't too weak. I can't tell how much you have there, but it looks small.

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What is it? Coffee table? Is that a disco ball inside? It looks good anyway, and interesting.
This is an appropriate project to use cherry veneer plywood for the sides. Try 3/4", and if you want the look of 1" at the top then just add solid stock along the top edge. Using the plywood will save you money, weight, and time, and will eliminate the concern you have with dimensional changes with humidity. If you use solid wood you do have a problem. So, use plywood. Really!
Have you considered orienting the grain in the side panels horizontally? That would look better to my eye. But SWMBO's eye is all that matters.
For joinery between panels and legs, we need to know if you want evidence of the joint to show at the top of the leg. If you do, then a sliding dovetail would look nice there, or a dado in the leg, or a loose tenon/spline. If you don't care for the joint to show, then biscuits or dowels would be easy and strong. Use the joint that looks good to you and you feel proficient to produce.
You will post a pic when you are done, per favore?
-- Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com/woodshop

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I guess... browsing your woodworking online stores it seems to me everything is much easier to find in Italy for hobbyists than here in Italy. Here it seems thatr everything is fit to the needs and volumes of the pros, while hobbyists have little hardware and tools choices, and expensive. Nevertheless, I'll try to find it (or maybe I'll buy it on my next journey to US). I have never worked with veneers: are there any particular cares you should take when sanding (if you have to sand it) and finishing it? And about the edges, I suppose I should use those veneer tapes, shouldn't I?

That's what I was thinking of while you suggested me to show the joint: it's an idea I am starting to like.
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