Just got new knives-- my first good knives ever-- and I want to know which material cutting boards are best for keeping them sharp as long as possible?
Also, do you have any good hints for the actual sharpening of the knives?
polyethylene for raw meats, and wood for veggies/general use.
polyethylene boards are easy to clean and sanitize and can even be placed in the dish waster.
I prefer end grain maple, but bamboo is light, inexpensive and environmentally conscious
Everyone should have a good quality steel ( I prefer Frd Dick) for daily touch ups. I have a double cut diamond steel, but those can be too pricey for the average home user.
The Epicurean ones are pretty nice... they are made of a wood composite material, which is soft without being too soft, dish washable, and nice looking (IMO).
Recently, though, I've been using one of the plastic ones with a grippy bottom for almost everything. An instructor at a knife skills class recommended it, and it really does make setup and cleanup much easier. Of course you can put a wet towel or a rubber mat under any cutting board, but having the rubber grippy stuff built in is nice. The one I have is the Architec brand "Gripper". Knife marks do show up on it, but it works great.
To answer your question more directly... in terms of dulling knives, the composite material Epicurean uses is good for knives, plastic (softish plastic, anyway) is good, wood is good. Glass is BAD (really bad), super hard plastic might not be great.
And, as mentioned above, hone your knife with a steel before every use.
I'm not so sure the jury is back on the hard plastic boards. Still a subject of debate. I'm still a big wood fan, and have never had a problem with my Boos boards. I am extra careful with chicken though, and bought a rubber board which is really nice. The rubber boards can go in the dishwasher as well, and tend to self heal for cuts. Best prices I've found on them are at J.B. Prince, http://www.jbprince.com/index.asp?Pag...
Also, Chad Ward did a good tutorial on cutting boards that you can find at: http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/sho...
I think you will find studies stating that both plastic and wood are better than the other.
I have a BOOS brothers for meat and veggies that are going into the cooking. I also have two sized plastics that meat never meet. Veggies ONLY.