I believe that by priming it he means that you fill it with a liquid so that the dry wood absorbs the liquid, expands, and the cask becomes water tight. When you get it, it isn't water tight or at least you shouldn't assume it is.
I've not dealt with barrels, so I don't have personal experience to share. But I've dealt with wood chips a lot and they can lend some very strong woody flavors to bourbon. A little goes a long way. I haven't improved any whiskey (even white whiskey) by aging it on chips.
For my money, Knob Creek is good to drink as-is. I'd add something cheap and see if it improves and I wouldn't shed a tear if it didn't.
Another thing to consider is the surface area. With chips I've got a ton of surface area. Distilleries use large barrels but don't have that much surface area to volume. As your barrel size decreases, your surface area per volume increases so you probably want to reduce your contact time.