I'm a hobbyist woodcarver. A friend called and said they had a basswood tree on their property that had fallen about 4 years ago in a storm. They just decided to try and get rid of it. They were going to burn it. I hate the thought of free wood going to waste. He cut up some chunks of it for me. I have several more than what is shown in the picture. My question is if there is a best way to prepare it for later carving? Should I take the bark off? Should I leave it on? Should I seal the ends with something? If so, what product should I use. Should I try and cut each one down the middle? Should I try and cut a groove or knotch down the length of each one? Should I leave the logs in my garage or outside, ect., ect. I'm hoping to prevent too much checking but I just am not sure what the best procedure is. I would appreciate any advice on what you would do.