I started using split grade printing this year and I agree with Dan. It has improved my printing tremendously. I now start off with a base exposure and selectively burn in areas that need more. I do very little dodging anymore. I haven't tried bleaching yet, but that will probably come later this year. Like you, I'm also using 8x10, but I hope to go up to 11x14 when I can afford it. Contacts from those would be amazing.
Mike