To chime in on literature as to "how to use these"... I know the advice was asked of BDL and not me, but I'll hope I'm not interrupting. Get Chad Ward's book, "An Edge in the Kitchen". It has the best written instruction on sharpening I've seen (which is actually available on egullet.com for free, still), and good instruction on using a rod hone if you go that way. Then you can distinguish between good and evil in the realm of how-to videos on youtube, if you need more than the written instruction. (There's plenty of both). And it will tell you lots more about knives in general to get you better at questions. It might be a bit limited as to which knives to "steer" the reader toward, but you've found internet forums first, so you broaden things considerably. Besides, the Mac is a good piece of advice, which is one thing he pushes pretty hard. It's just that there are PLENTY of options to consider besides those he names specifically. He also leans against carbon a bit too hard, but that may or may not suit you -- other than that, it's a great book for what sorts of "issues" you want to look at when considering a knife and considering sharpening. It also has very good knife-skills instruction. Better than some books are that solely dedicated to that topic.
My own choices in knives -- I'd used Macs and learned something about Japan blades from that -- not my knives, but I got to cook with a friend who was pimping them pretty hard. I had some very good (great) Sabatier carbons, which is how I found this place -- searched for them, found BDL, and ... here. My next purchases were a Carbonext 240mm gyuto, which I like a lot but... really wish I just went straight for my next knife instead, which is a Yoshihiro stainless. I got talked out of the sexy lazers talked about here by Jon and Japanese Knife Imports when I went to the newly-opened store in Venice. He's a terrible salesman, as far as his own bank account, because he talked me into something less pricey and less lazer-like. And he talked me into learning to sharpen. Which I'm still a beginner at, but... after a long lesson I went from completely incompetent to what he assures me is a "functional edge, better than most cooks ever see" on both the CarboNext and the Yoshihiro.
The upshot of all that is 1) I prefer the Yoshihiro for its length and for how light the wa-handle is. I've gone over to wa- handles I think "officially" now, though I'm not the pickiest about that. A developing and lightening pinch-grip makes me care less about handles than I used to. 2) I learned what an "overgrind" is. Which is having a little "dishing" on one side of the knife. I learned that after getting a section of the CarboNext a bit "wrong" for a long-ish time, sharpening, and then having Jon point out to me the flaw in the knife. Cool, not my fault. NOT cool, because I didn't know how to look for it when the knife was new. So there's one "bad" story about the CarboNext. It's actually not a big problem, at least not at this point; the knife is super light, easier to sharpen than the Yoshihiro, and so much better than anything I've seen at the price except... the Yoshihiro was only slightly more expensive. It's bigger, the steel is probably heavier, but the handle is lighter. It's now my first- chef's knife.
All that is not to say my brand- choices should be anyone else's, but just that there's a learning curve to what makes a really good knife, what sorts of flaws might be seen or overlooked, and spending the money learning to sharpen before spending the money on a really ideal knife seems the way to go.
That was a long story and sorry if typing too much that might not be relevant... but the short version of the story is, I think Chad Ward's book is the best in English for someone who is asking for literature on how to use a honing rod or sharpening stone or even a chef's knife/gyuto. And I think, if possible, getting some professional sharpening instruction is also a good place to spend some money before getting into the more expensive knives.
There's some really good knife-skills instruction on youtube as well; but again, distinguishing between what's good and what isn't is made much easier by having read Chad Ward's book. (I have three other books on knife skills, by the way, which have their strong points.... but that was a bit OCD of me, to get all these, and settle on the first, the Ward, as the best of them anyway).