Hail damage meant my 1920 bungalow needed a new roof. The house had three layers of asphalt shingles over the original cedar shakes. When I saw the shakes pile up, I saved a box full knowing I'd find a use.
I decided to make picture frames from the old cedar shakes.
My shakes are 92-years old, and the undersides of some were scorched when a former owner accidentally started a house fire over 50 year ago. In other words, they're brittle. Since nails could easily split the wood, I opted for strong glue. A good wood glue should work.
First, on the advice of the neighborhood hardware store, I cleaned the old shakes with a mixture of water and TSP and left them in the sun to dry.
Once they were thoroughly dry, I arranged the shakes how I wanted (paying attention to how they align with the sub-frame), glued them into position and weighed them down with a heavy book or two.
Next, I glued the shake frame onto a simple wooden frame that is intended to be decorated, and also weighed it down.
From the side, you could see a bit of the light wood of the sub-frame, so I used ordinary crayons to try to help it blend in with the color of the shakes.