Amature, using claw-foot legs with blocks
I am building a stand for my wife. It's actually a base for a large (36x36) lizard cage. She loves claw-foot legs, so I purchased these recently:
I expect to use 2x4's or the like to make the sides of the base, somehow attaching them to the blocks on the legs. The finished exterior pieces will then be attached to the 2x4s, hiding the 2x4s and the blocks completely. (To hide these parts, I plan to mount the exterior trim by countersinking some screws through the trim and into the 2x4s, then glue some pre-made "gingerbread" trim which will hide the screws, then stain and varnish the whole thing. For structural integrity I'll also use a pair of 2x4's as crossmembers, notched in the middle. That part I'm not too worried about.)
I'm looking for some input about how to go about attaching these base pieces running between the legs. Should I just put screws through the block and right into the ends of the 2x4s? That seems a little hamfisted and I'm afraid of cracking the wood. Things like "legs" and "blocks" are such generic terms that it's really difficult to search for anything here or on the web in general.
As I noted in the subject, I'm a rank amature when it comes to woodworking. (I'm more comfortable up to my elbows in grease and adjusting valve-lash...)