what i needed to do for the most basic and easiest model here in order to maintain the original nurbs model shape, which unlike a flatter human hand, is quite lumpy, is shown in the picture.
i needed atleast 8 sections on the front of the hand for the top 4 fingers, and on the back/top of the hand as well. I attached the finger patches, the front/back hand patches and the wrist patches together before converting to poly, using split poly, edge loops to line up everything.
the vertices were pulled in poly form to even out the checkboard texture because it's just easier with less. i used the original nurbs model as a virtual mold by putting it in it's own layer on R/reference.
this gave me a basic form to convert to subD that used only 0 and 1 levels, mostly 1 for this hand because of how lumpy it is, that used as few vertices as possible.
I could have started with a poly cube, but found it easy enough to convert from nurbs using different numbers to convert for the least amount of vertices in the resulting poly. Plus it maintains the texture pattern for me to check against the original, and hopefully will mean less UV problem when applying the real texture I'll be using.
I figure that this process, once I figured it out, is about a 2 day work schedule. Then again, as a person previously unfamiliar with conversion, blah, blah, blah,... I was going a little blind, so the energy was lacking a little after the one to 2 weeks it took me to really get this procedure down for myself.
I also wanted to attach everything in poly and not subD, because subD still is a pain to me for that; not to mention that as in the bottom right section of the jpg, you can see how it loses shape retention upon conversion.
If anyone knows a decent place for info on attaching using different refinement levels in subD - even just 0 and 1 as I did, that would be a godsend.