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Sounds like you have a good solution. It's amazing how one idea spurs other ideas to arrive at a simple and effective solution. Btw, what you're planning is called a loose tenon. And it doesn't have to be round. Sometimes it's hard to find a dowel that is the exact dimension it purports to be, which could result in a sloppy joint if the mortise isn't the right size for the tenon.

I recently tried a floating tenon jig called the Beadlock jig and it worked really well. It only requires a hand drill to get tight fitting loose tenon joints. As a beginning woodworker, it was a perfect solution for my needs.
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