Besides, even if I were to go with sshfs - whatever the heck that is - I'd still want to figure this out.
The following is no solution to your problem and I'm putting it here just because it adds something important for people who want to network their Linux computers and not go through the issues that often pop up with Samba. I think the easiest way to network Linux computers is through nfs. I don't know what sshfs is, don't want to know, in principle avoid anything with "ssh" in the name. ;-) That's also how I feel about emacs and any incarnation of TeX.
I have a HowTo here: http://forum.vectorlinux.com/index.php?topic=669.msg3845#msg3845
It's easier to do than to describe and once you have the nfs network set up, you can simply copy the related files in /etc that I mention to another VL installation with a few minor and obvious modifications. It takes me about two minutes to get the network going when I'm setting it up in a new partition. I don't automount the networked partitions (though it can be done) but a simple mount command works instantly when you want access to another computer on your nfs network.
For networking with Windows, Samba is by far the best choice. It is possible to share a printer connected to a Windows machine without using Samba. KDE's Konqueror can work quite well for some file sharing without Samba. I think it depends on how much and how often you need access to a Windows partition.