I'm basically with Bob about keeping things simple. And, I use a lot fewer test strips than my posts above might lead one to believe. When I'm printing, I've already proofed everything and I'm usually using just one or two brands/grades of paper. With that going, I can more often than not just expose a straight print.

I will, however, defend making test strips when the variables start to be less predictable. For example, when looking for a replacement for a recently-discontinued paper that I used a lot, I ordered six or seven different papers to test. They all have different speeds and characteristics, so, when learning to use them, test strips were helpful and saved a lot of time and paper. Likewise, when I switch from one enlarger to another or change light sources or make a big jump in filtration, I often will do another test strip - it only takes a couple minutes and I usually have some trim strips lying around anyway. Plus, I don't always make a test strip from 10 to 45 seconds; often its 14 to 29 or an even smaller spread.

As for f-stop printing; I certainly see and understand the logic. It's just easier for me to think in percentages, which accomplishes exactly the same thing. BTW, 50% less exposure is a stop... 100% more is a stop and all the values in between are able to be aligned as well. Good prints don't need exposures in fractions of a stop or particular percentages; they just need the right amount of time.

I have an aversion to lots of automation and complexity as well. I use a metronome and a footswitch and a couple of test strip sequences. For me, it's the subjective evaluation and fine adjustments made to a print to make it really sing that takes my time, not figuring out a starting base exposure.

Back to the original subject: often I have a rather complicated dance of dodging and burning to do. Especially when it comes to dodging, I need to have the time necessary to comfortably and relatively repeatably perform the manipulations. My print exposure time is guided by that. For the occasional print that requires only few manipulations, a ten-second exposure time is just fine. One that needs lots of dodging maybe better at 35 seconds.

Best,

Doremus