Install gsshfs from Synaptic and give that a try. It's fairly straight forward, and I didn't have to go through all of that other rigga-ma-role that you said you had to do. All I ever do is install gsshfs, configure the address, the directory to connect to, and voila! It just opens a new file manager window from the remote computer on your host computer, just as soon as you type in the password for the remote computer.
I have it installed on 5 different computers, at the moment. 3 run Phoenix Mini, 1 runs KDE, and another one runs e17. I can share between all 5 computers, simply by highlighting the computer I want to connect to, hit the connect button, and supplying the password of the remote computer.