rabetting clapboards?

I am trying to put clapboards (FJ cedar) on a small wall. Nailing them without causing splits seems to be beyond my skill level. (Using Maze STORMGUARD nails. Face-nailing above the lap. Not trying to set them. The problem seems to be just that my last hammer blow is more than the unsupported wood can take. Alas.)
So, I'm thinking to cut a rabbet along the bottom edge of the clapboards, so they can lay flat instead of bridging. Is there a reason not to do this?
Thanks.
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On 10/26/2012 3:52 PM, George wrote:

...
What setback? Typically one nails _thru_ the overlap to avoid the problem...
--
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There are a lot of different views on that. Western Red Cedar Lumber Assoc (the ppl who make it) says above the lap ... www.wrcla.org/pdf/WRCLA_Installing_Siding.pdf
As does 'Fine Homebuilding' http://www.finehomebuilding.com/how-to/qa/nailing-clapboard-siding.aspx
In my googling, it seems that the 'science'/professional sites say above the lap; the ppl who say 'through' are contractors and the like. They certainly know more about it than I, but ...
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wrote:

I was told that the nail should be *just* above the lower board. This allows the boards to move without splitting (two nails will cause a split in the middle if the board shrinks).
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George wrote the following on 10/26/2012 4:52 PM (ET):

Try blunting the point on the nails. That way, you'll punch a nail through rather than squeezing it through.
--
Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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wrote:

Well, (a) these nails have a fairly blunt point anyway (they're intended for nailing siding), and (b) when the claps split, the nail is clear through, and I'm trying to set the head flush.
I could leave the head a little proud, but I can't imagine that's how they're supposed to be. (Though, I haven't found anything that says one way or another, unless "face-nailing" means something different than my understanding.)
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Leave the heads 1 mm. proud until all are in place: then go over all heads with a nail-set (and very light hammer) to set them flush. (You will get more skilled with practice, so you might want to start at the least visible part of the wall.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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On Sat, 27 Oct 2012 14:11:16 -0400, "Don Phillipson"

The problem with that strategy is that if you do split a board, it's not going to be easy to replace. When nailing cedar clapboard by hand, I always drilled a pilot hole (1/16", IIRC) if the nail was within 2" or so of the end of the board.
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Just a lot more work. The boards should overlap by about an inch and the nail is driven through both boards where they overlap. I can get special thin grooved nails for this purpose that also help reducing splitting. http://www.gunneboindustries.com/en/Fastening/Products/Nails/Countersunk-nails/Grooved-nail-hot-dip-galvanised / I expect you can find similar in the USA
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On Sat, 27 Oct 2012 09:31:54 -0700 (PDT), harry

Wrong, and wrong. For a 4" reveal, the boards overlap by 1-1/2" and the nail goes through ONLY ONE board, or the board will split in the middle as the season change. The wood has to be able to move.

Nah, we invented the pneumatic nailer and stainless ringshank nails.
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wrote:

Pre-drill a pilot hole before nailing at the end of a board. A pneumatic nailer helps, too.

I'll make the clapboard too thin,
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I don't know, but I think The Rabbeting Clapboards is a great name for a band.
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wrote:
-snip-

If you're pronouncing it like my ex-FIL, 'clabberds', then OK.
Jim [firmly in the don't rabbet camp]
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