A friend of mine, who has as much experience with this as I have (i.e. none), is quite insistent on several points : we would need to pre-prepare the walnut shell media so it doesn't have sharp edges by tumbling it for a solid week or it would score up the sterling silver, we would HAVE to use a finishing/polishing compound with the walnut media as on its own it won't polish worth a darn, and the stainless steel ball shot I got from TRL will also need to be tumbled for a week or more to wear off the sharp edges (his example being the smoother ball shot offered by Rio Grande "where all of the PROFESSIONALS shop" (his emphasis, I think he's being a silly snob)). I've read and read entries here regarding tumbling media and not a word have I found about needing to prep the walnut shells nor about HAVING to add a polishing compound. I can see the sense in prepping the shot, and also not. I keep telling him to read this forum, it isn't a bunch of twiddly ding-a-lings but, in fact, a number of professionals who make and sell their wares, but his father is a metal-smith of some sort (never done chain maille or even jump rings, but he does work with silver, so I don't doubt he knows a thing or two), so he takes his father's every word as gospel. I'm thinking no one knows everything and I'm getting annoyed with my friend (can ya tell?). So, please, all of you weathered and experienced maillers, shine your knowledge upon me. From step one, what do I need to do (aside from bopping a certain someone upside the head the next time he gets his hoity-toity voice)?