Usually when you compile a kernel you have to also compile your own img file. An img file is a file with a filesystem in it ... the word I'm looking for escapes me. But to find out what I'm talking about. Do this...
cp img_file /tmp/img_file.gz
mount -o loop img_file /tmp/blah
You'll see nifty neat-o things in there, bin, dev, etc etc.
Normally you'd put a couple things in the lib dir namely, ext3.ko and jbd.ko
Some files in bin, etc. You'd get all of these either from a previous img file, or you'd get them from within the directories where you compiled the kernel.
When you're done you'd umount /tmp/blah, mv img_file img_file_new_kernel_# etc, then you'd gzip img_file_# them mv img_file_#.gz to img_file_# and move it back in to your /boot dir, or wherever you store your img files.
This little bit of info confused the hell out of me when I compiled my first kernel many years ago, took for forever to figure out why it wouldn't boot properly.
Anyway, probably only semi-related to what you're looking for, but take it as you will.