However, they did mention that one inch wooden doweling would be an acceptable substitute (as long as we pegged them). Lets see $1500 versus $70.
Actually, a lesson to be learned: set-backs often create new opportunities. We installed the wooden dowels and they look totally spectacular! It is the second thing people mention after they get over all the WOOD. Ironically, people now think we are some type of insane, artisan/old school-type builders.