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Outdoors under open shelter, wood dries down to a balance with the air (equilibrium) at a rate of about 1" per year.
So, an 8" x 8" post ought to dry down in 4+ years. Milled from logs, it could have been sopping wet in the core when it went into the preservative tank. Even then you should see not much more that 1/2" penetration.
I'd wait at least another year before doing anything.

I can imagine those were log cores. For carving, it's common to pick the ugly side and make a cut from the surface all the way to the center. Maybe even 2 cuts and take out a wedge. All kinds of poles, totem poles in particular, are meant to be seen only from one side. Often, the back 1/4 or more is cut away to reduce cracking to a minimum. Anyway, you just carve right through the cracks.

Other times you get lucky: a 5" x 5" x 64" post for a pole without even a hairline crack and knot-free.
 
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