Bruce -- I am also glad to hear that the ol' B22 can be used to good effect! I bought it along with a timer, a bunch of trays, and a negative carrier for $20 from the school I used to attend. It hadn't been used since the early 90s, apparently, and had the dust inside and out to prove it, so I could very well have repacked the condenser improperly. Thanks for the suggestion. I will do some research on that.
Ian -- I will definitely give the glass carrier a try. Do you think that Newtonian rings will be an issue? I had thought about this in the past but assumed I needed expensive AN glass that I wasn't willing to spend the money for.
Fortunately, I do not live on a busy street, but the wooden floors (especially in my little hallway) are quite wavy and spongy. I will try holding the timer. It's the finicky result of an old Heath kit, though, and inexplicably, the timer function doesn't work unless it is perfectly level! I really ought to get a more respectable one.
tkamiya -- The lens surely does have an interesting life story as it is the older version, and the fellow I bought it from was not the original owner. So, it could very well have suffered at the hands of an unskilled surgeon. I try to be mindful of enlarger alignment because I had the misfortune of learning on and using a terribly misaligned enlarger at school for about a year. When the opportunity came to use an enlarger that had been much better taken care of, the results were so drastically improved that I threw out most of my old prints. The old ones were so lacking in sharpness by comparison. This enlarger I have now seems well aligned. At f/2.8, looking through the grain enlarger, the corners of the image appear just as sharply as the center. And my prints from last night are uniformly awful...