Drying Large Maple Crosscut

Hi Folks,
I've got a large cross cut of maple (22" by 13" high) that I just got my hands on which is destined to be a butcher block ... someday.
A few questions that I hope someone might know the answers to ...
- What would be the best way to dry it so it doesn't crack?
- I'll likely turn the wood into 2 butcher blocks, each 6 inches high. Will it make a big difference in drying time if I cut the wood now, or wait until it's dryed out?
- I've read in some posts that I should paint the grain ends of the wood to prevent it from drying too fast. Is this true?
- Last but not least ... should I remove the bark now, or wait until it's all dried out?
Thanks a bunch ...
Doug.
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Whoops, one more question ....
Would it be best to dry the wood indoors (basement) or outside (garage). Living in the Toronto, Ontario area, so the winters have been getting pretty cold lately .. if that makes a difference.
Doug.
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Hi Tom,

Do you know of any places that carry their products? All I could find at the depot and local stores were products that were just a tad too toxic. I've also read the latex paint can be used (the ends will be trimmed later anyway). Think that would be ok?

I've heard of that (kiln drying) but don't have a clue where in the TO area someone can get stuff kiln dried. Hunted through the ol' yellow pages to no avail. Have you run into any?

Ajax here. All that heat last summer and the nasty winter didn't cause you any grief?
I've got enough room in the basement to store the pieces, so if indoors would be better .... I'm game.
Thanks for all the info!
Doug.
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Get newsprint and stack it under, between, and over the pieces. Keep the whole out of direct sun and keep it cool. Change the funky newsprint after about 3-5 days, another seven, another ten, and then at maybe another two weeks to keep the mildew to a minimum. The stuff about an inch per year does not apply to endgrain, which loses water probably ten times faster than the face grain on a board.
Old cruiser friend of mine had sheds full of slabs and burls treated this way. Of course, some cracked.

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<snip>
LVT stores in TO area:
1275 Morningside Ave., (416)286-7574 Scarberia Northeast corner of Sheppard and Morningside
5701 Steeles Ave. W., (416)746-0850 Weston Pine Valley exit south off Hwy 407
3060 Davidson Court (905)319-9110 Burlington North of Q.E.W. off Guelph Line
You lucky b... Luigi Replace "no" with "yk" twice in reply address for real email address
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