Damn I totally forgot about this thread sorry folks.
As far as boiling honey, *I* didn't think it needed to be done, but it wasn't my money I was spending and I had a hard enough time convincing him that starsan was safe to use. After a lot of discussion I talked him down to a 15 minute boil. It's not as fantastic of a honey flavor, but it's not just sweet water either thankfully.
I should have mentioned the 15 minute boil, but was exhausted at the time. I wanted to try 5 gallons to start out with, but when the 60 pound bucket and 4 carboys showed up, I figured moderation was going out the window. It was my first experience making mead, and usually I don't go hog wild like that. I did another, simple batch, maybe a gallon or so, just to compare next year, but I doubt I'll be doing the 20 gallons again any time soon (or not so soon as the case may be).
I'm going to have him try his and try mine. The big difference will be the boil.
I never did like to do anything simple when I could do it ass-backwards...