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(I'm not sure if this question belongs in this forum. If not, feel free to delete it.)

I have some old (c 1950?) cedar clapboards that I'd like to re-install. However, some are cracked. Some of the cracks are from being nailed through the (thin) top, which I won't do. Others, though, have running cracks in the 'body', not apparently due to nailing.

I wouldn't use the cracked ones; but, I'm concerned that the cracking might indicate that all the boards are apt to crack, and shouldn't be trusted.

Also, would further splitting just/mostly be a result of nailing? Because, I can pre-drill the nail holes.

Update: I used them. No splitting. In fact, it went a lot better in that regard than new finger-jointed clapboards - the old ones were very forgiving.

  • Thin, dry wood is apt to crack, generally... – keshlam Sep 21 '16 at 12:55
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    @Frankcw says in his answer below that it probably won't crack when you nail it. But for myself, I'd at least use one of the cracked pieces I was already planning on discarding to test that theory out before I trusted it with my work pieces. – Katie Kilian Sep 21 '16 at 15:50
  • This is one of those things you'll have to test out. General advice will only be correct generally, not in each individual case, but I would think you have a good chance of being able to use most of these. Re. installation, you should try an old tip and see if it helps any — blunt your nails. This can help lessen the tendency of boards to split when a nail is driven in as a blunt tip tends to crush its way through rather than act like a wedge. – Graphus Sep 22 '16 at 7:09
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The Cedar siding probably cracked when it was being removed. Cedar is very rot and weather resistant but is somewhat fragile when it is thin as in siding boards. I would not hesitate to reuse the good pieces. It is soft enough that it will nail easily without splitting. you could reuse some of the cracked boards if you put silicone caulk on the backside of the crack to prevent water going through the crack. The caulk will also act as a glue on the cracks.

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