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Hi Mike,
When carving bowls like this, it is best to carve when the wood is green. I did all the basic rough carving when it was green. Then let it dry for at least a couple weeks in a large paper bag filled with some wood chips. The combination of the paper bag and wood chips slows down the way the wood dries. If it dries too fast, it will crack. If you use a plastic bag the wood will get mold After it dries you refine the carving and finish with oil. Yes I have a few crack but I get the wood for nothing, so I really don’t care if one goes into the fire pit. I carved the whole thing with an adze, axe, knife and card scraper to smooth the thing out.