F-stop printing is a great idea, which doesn't necessarily require an f-stop timer. All it does is to work in f-stop-quivalent times instead of a fixed number of seconds. So instead of a test strip of 3 6 9 12 15 seconds, you use 3 6 12 24 for whole stops.

I usually try to use half-stops, 2.8 4 5.6 8 11 16 22 which I approximate to 3 4 5 8 11 16 22. It brings you in range faster, and eases burning time determination. To adjust all this I use a simple enlarging meter: Ilford EM-10, about which there's quite a lot written here on APUG already.

I guess the contrast range of the negative, but also check highlights and shadows with the meter. This gives me the contrast grade and base exposure right away. Tuning still takes time and paper...