First of all, this forum looks awesome! Lots of information to read!
So, a little background since that's always fun. When I was 4 my crazy mother trusted me with a sharp knife and began teaching me kitchen skills and techniques. Since then I've grown a bit and now I'm 20 with the same love of cooking. I've always loved cooking and preparing meals with care. However I've never really purchased a "full" set of knives. I've always used whatever I can get my hands on. I'm currently in university and this year I will have an apartment style room with a kitchen.
I'm looking to buy a couple knives, a whetstone, and a cutting board (or two).
I currently use a Global 8" chef's knife. To be honest, I bought it on a whim a couple of years ago when I was younger. I never really thought about it thoroughly. Worth it, or terrible decision? I've used a variety of knives from the cheap, "stays sharp forever!" knives to Furi Santoku sytle knives to a Global to Kyocera ceramics. I liked the Kyocera, but it shattered when my dad accidentally dropped it!
So, the first thing to talk about, budget. I'm looking to spend less than $800-900 on everything. If something really looks worth it, I can push it a bit. Optimally I'm looking for 2-4 knives, a good general purpose board, a good meat board, and a whetstone or other sharpening device.
I'm open to all suggestions. I'm looking for a good general purpose knife, a paring knife, a ceramic knife, and anything else deemed necessary. Maybe a serrated knife?
Also, for cutting boards, are the Boardsmith boards standard? Does type of wood matter, other than end-grain? Plastic board for meat or no?
And finally some type of sharpening device. Whetstone seems to be the go to for sharpening.