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I go with the general rule of not removing the bark these days and have had no problem with cracks in the shanks. Early on, I tried removing the bark and had several split on me.
That said, I think that there are factors which can give different results such as type of wood, drying conditions, weather, time of year they were harvested, maybe even how quickly or slowly they grew.
It isn't an exact science, so go with what works best for you.
 
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