Steven, nice to see a Montrealer on here!

Dodging and burning are critical skills to learn. They take practice. An important extension of those skills is learning to dodge and burn with different filters (assuming you're using variable contrast paper). This allows you to not only selectively control exposure, but to selectively control contrast along with it. The generalized skill could be called multiple grade/contrast printing. "Split grade" printing is nothing more than a type of multiple grade printing in which the base exposure is split into two exposures, one with a soft contrast filter and one with a hard contrast filter.

Learning to dodge/burn with different filters will take you very far. And you don't need to buy extra machines. Beyond burning/dodging by hand you can later start to learn more specialized techniques to help with difficult negatives. In the end even the most complex techniques are aimed at controlling local exposure and contrast, so it is all really the same manipulations in the end.

One thing I find lots people are afraid of is hard work when printing. I think many people would be surprised to see how much work often goes into a print by a great printer, and how much paper goes in the trash along the way.

With that in mind, here are a few of my eureka tips:

1. Make the best negatives you can, that contain the information you need to make the print you envision in your mind. This takes some learning, and practice.

2. Be methodical in your printing approach (test strips, work prints, etc). If you're a beginner start with a good book and the available references from Kodak and Ilford (I posted a link to some of these in the articles section, and Simon Galley from Ilford can also send you Ilford's printing manual)

3. Keep things as simple as possible. With each negative you print, only make things as complicated as they need to be. Some negatives require lots of technique, some don't. In any case, special enlarging meters and other devices/gadgets are not required.

4. Don't skimp on materials. That means make proper test strips and prints that give you good information about how to proceed. Don't skimp on chemistry either.

5. Test for dry-down of highlights

6. Particularly if the negative is a difficult one, don't try to get to the ultimate finished print in one session. Get it to say 90%, make a few copies/variations, then wash them and stop. Let them dry, hang them on the wall, and "live with them" for a while. It sometimes also helps to heng them upside down to remove the familiarity of the image. When a print is difficult, we can tend to get bogged down in the complexity of it all when trying to do the whole thing in one session. Breaking it up sometimes allows you to see things better. You can come back to the work prints with a fresh mind and fresh eyes. Tonal problems will tend to jump out at you easier. You might also rethink things like burning/dodging plans that could be made simpler. Stuff like that.

7. Test your safelight using a proper test (described by Kodak and Ilford)

8. Don't be afraid to work your ass off. Nobody ever said great art is supposed to be easy.