Well, I am beyond excited right now!
I just finished producing my first analog prints in 30 some years, and it went fabulously!
My only prior experience with this was in the college newspaper darkroom way back. It was all meatball work: Everything was pre-timed for us. All we wanted was to get an image that was good enough to screen onto a plate and we called it good.
So tonight's effort was my first time ever trying to get something that was actually of acceptable quality, and while the results are far from where I want them to be, I got something, and that's a start.
And I only blew one sheet...my first...based on mis-understanding the operation of my timer and setting 20 seconds instead of 2. The result was pure black. Heh.
Second effort gave me a decent set of test exposures. Based on that I settled on 6.5 seconds and fired off my first would-be keeper. No dodging or burning. Just a straight shot. And it came out!
Decided to get aggressive with the next one, so I upped the contrast filter, and even tried a little dodging. The result is probably best described as "clumsy", but none the less it is invigorating seeing the differences in the output based on those adjustments.
I'll take them into the office tomorrow and scan them in.
A huge THANK YOU to all the folks here who offered advice and counsel along the way, and particular THANKS to Simon from Ilford, who was kind enough to send their book to me. You have all been a tremendous help!