honestly i don't see how its takes so much time... especially if you have consistent negs, you just go through a stack of negs, doing the same time for each. They don't have to be perfect at all and for 35mm are immensely useful in my mind. just my 2 cents.
"Does anybody here feel like a contact sheet factory?"
I'm not there yet, contact sheets are still part of my normal workflow. Once the negatives go into the sleeves it seems only nature (by habit) that the next step is contact sheets. BUT I've been doing a lot of slides lately, no contact sheet required.
I do them and I've sometimes spent days producing them when I've got back from a long period away. Because I always used the same film/developer combination, I can often infer quite a lot from the contact and get a good print first go. Obviously working on a 'masterpiece' takes longer, but I rarely produce masterpieces. In colour I've found the contact sheet even more valuable as I can get a good guess at colour balance as well as exposure.
If I did contact sheets by just laying down sleeves with glass I wouldn't even think about it. But laying down 6-7 strips per sheet, then sliding them all back off is what I find to be the utmost in tedium. I usually sleeve negs AFTER contacting (which occurs after cutting down from the roll). The reason I don't sleeve them first is the amount of crap film usually picks up in sleeves making it more work to clean things before contacting. Usually if I just cut and contact they're fairly low on dry dust.
When I enlarge I always remove dust beforehand after pulling from a poly-sleeve so that part isn't a big deal. I just don't want to do it 6 times in a row for a single contact sheet.
There are times I even test a single strip to make sure exposure issues aren't going to waste my time as well. In general, yes, most tedious part of darkroom work. But as someone who mainly shoots people, cultures, events, etc. I couldn't imagine not having them. Examining a neg for density and sharpness on a light table is nowhere close to having the contact sheet.
They're also stories of their own.
Aside from individual negatives, the contact sheets can be a chronicle of one's photographic approach, progress, and experiences. Sometimes it isn't even necessary to look at prints - you can look at contact sheet after contact sheet and feel a story or connected theme.
I see where you are coming from and I can see why you would put more effort and time into it in that case. I guess I just consider contact sheet's uses different and less important. Live and let live. = )
Contact sheets are an essential point in the path to a fine print. Of course, I gave up on them as well!
I think they are overrated. Perhaps for 35mm they save some eye strain but I don't like making them.
They are tedious and time consuming. I have limited darkroom time anyway.
Even if you use BTZS, you still get negs (4x5) that are +/- 1 stop off from each other. You could eyeball it and try to lump 4 together that are about the same density. I have also made 4x5 matboard cards to mask the thinner negatives part way through the exposure based on my estimate.
I don't like the practice of low contrast contact prints to see the possible detail. A loupe on the negative should reveal that and the low contrast print is uninspiring to look at. I prefer grade 2 contacts so I can see which will need +/- contrast in printing.
I also gave up on tedious naming, labeling, filing of negatives. I file them in roughly chronological order and usually indicate which ones I have printed. For sheet film, I don't generate 1000's of negs so periodically looking through my old negatives is a manageable and worthwhile exercise.
I also don't like the extra handling of the negative required in making contacts sheets. It is just one more risk for scratches and dust.