we made a cat tree and we used no more nails
, it is a glue by LePage. we used it to put the carpet around the posts. we clamped the carpet on for 24 hours to make sure that everything was good and dry and i didn't notice a smell at all. for the sisal part we just used long staples and a staple gun. we didn't want to glue it on because we didn't figure it would stay at all. i completely agree about the hot glue peeling off. we just used long staples and stapled it on the bottom in the back and wrapped it as tight as we could and then stapled it at the end. we had to use 2 pieces so there are a few staples in the middle on the back, but the cats don't scratch there. there are also a few right at the top at the back, but again the cats don't scratch there.
good luck getting it all done!! this is the 4th tree we have made for our guys. our designs get better each time, one day maybe it will be nice enough to put in the living room!