Regarding the impatient blank that checked in the kiln, then the checks went away . . . The checks are fractures in the wood, that might seem to go away when the moisture level in the end of the blank goes up. That dry wood undergoes an increase in moisture content as moisture moves from humid air into the end of the blank, moisture from the interior of the blank moves out to the end of the blank, or both. The fractures are still present, just not visible after the moisture content increased and the wood expanded slightly. It may not be possible to speed up your process without getting drying checks.