Preserving cross-grain slab

Expert workers of wood --
I work at a YMCA summer camp and in preparation for expanding the size of our dining hall, we had to cut down a 100 year old black walnut tree. From the stump that was removed, I cut a slab directly across the grain that is 6" thick and a whopping 55" in diameter.
I would like to preserve this slab and finish one side so that I can document the history of the camp (it's about 100 years old as well) in the annual rings. (I think I've seen this idea once at a National Park as a kid.) I'm obviously worried that the slab will crack into several pieces or crack so much as to be unappealing.
A search of google shows that questions along this line have been asked and answered in the past. Some links to threads posted in this group are (after a search on slab):
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&th 1b341580d020e8&rnum=3
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&threadm=akihgr%24riu%241%40bob.news.rcn.net&rnum &prev=/groups%3Fq%3Dslab%2B%2Bgroup:rec.woodworking%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26group%3Drec.woodworking%26safe%3Doff%26start%3D10%26sa%3DN
Does anyone in the group have any direct experience with a project like this? Does anyone who posted a question about such a project have any report about whether the slab checked and how badly?
I have been applying pentacryl to the slab on both sides. I may try to enclose the slab in a plastic bag of some nature to slow down the rate at which the wood will dry. Is it a bad thing if the wood freezes before it's dry? Storing it inside might be hard since it's relatively big and really heavy.
Can anyone tell me if bolting a 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick piece of aluminum (say 40" dia) to the back of the slab is a bad idea? The idea is that the plate would mechanically constrain the slab and keep it from splitting.
There is a beautiful table pictured here:
http://www.blacksheepwoodworks.com/709.JPG
It seems like this slab is a cross-grain cut and it doesn't exhibit any checking. What's the secret?
Cheers,
Matt
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On Fri, 29 Aug 2003 12:14:14 -0400, Matt Poese

What do you feed your walnuts, that they reached a 55" diameter in only 100 years ?

IMHO, you're wanting the PEG-1000 route.
Fortunately walnut butts are one of the better timbers for doing this.

Popped up last week too.
<http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&threadm=2nnrkv0r7o48oorbftu34a0o5hlvhot00t%404ax.com&rnum=1&prev=/groups%3Fhl%3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26safe%3Doff%26selm%3D2nnrkv0r7o48oorbftu34a0o5hlvhot00t%25404ax.com

My best so far is 2' diameter without checking (beech). It was a 2" thick slab and has about 1/2" of surface warp to it so far (3 years)

If you try to restrain the slab, it's going to check rather than warping. For aluminium, it may even buckle the plate.
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