I was able to thread dowel rod throughout the entire tread section tonight after using the dremmel to enlarge the 1/2" holes a bit. It looked good put together so I did a pre-stack balancing the knee leg and waist pieces on top.
I don't know how I did it but in my infinate wisdom, I just realized that I was 2 knees short. I can't believe that I misread the plans and shorted myself on knees. Making two more delays the much awaited first stack but oh well .... I'm having fun. I never was good at reading directions.