Thanks to rdm magic for the idea of a sticky thread for beginners. If anyone has something to add, just post below. I'll try to keep it up to date with advice. I'm not sure who the mods are on this board, but if someone could contact them maybe we can get this thread stickied.
Most of the links below are to chefknivestogo.com. This is purely to show a place to find the knives, this is not the only store out there, although it is a good place with an owner who a lot of people on this board seem to like.
"It's tempting to cut to the chase and identify specific hardware recommendations, but as long as the hardware is good enough to not be an obstacle, sharpening and knife skills are more important. Emphasis on sharpening.
Getting back to hardware, the most important thing is to think about your particular needs and desires, think about things in a pragmatic way, cognizant that not only is there no one best choice for anyone, there's probably no single best choice for you. The goal is having fun while cooking well." -BDL
Cliffs: Don't stress too much about equipment choice. Get something and get cutting.
Best lower budget/beginner supplies (for home use):
Chef's Knife/Gyuto: If you're not sure of what size to get, get a 240mm. It's pretty standard, and while it seems big to some, almost all older members here recommend it.
Richmond Artifex: $70-$90
Tojiro DP: $70-$130
Fujiwara FKM: $80-$100
Kagayaki Carbonext: For someone looking to spend a bit more who already knows how to sharpen. $105-$145
Stones: Used to grind away a small amount of metal on the blade, creating a new, sharp edge.
Imanishi Combo Stone (1k/6k): Lowest budget, good for beginner/home use. $55
5 Piece Sharpening Set: Middle budget, highly recommended for beginner/home use. $140
Naniwa 1k and 3k: In between the two sets above. $76
Honing Rod: Used to re-align a bent edge. Keeps a knife performing well between sharpenings.
Idahone 12": Just get it. $30
Cutting Board: Used as a base to cut on
Wood board: End grain is best if you can afford it. There are tons available, find one.
Flattening Plate: Used to keep your stones flat and level after a few sharpening sessions.
Diamond Stone Flattening Plate: Highly recommended, low cost plate. Drywall screen attached to a piece of glass is an alternative, but wears out quickly. $25
Edited by goodell - 11/30/12 at 1:21pm