About knife sharpening:
Just thought I would throw my two cents into the mix. So far very good advice being posted about various kits and products. I own, and hand sharpen all of my knives myself. I have found many good sharpening systems and have learned a few things the salesmen might not tell you.
If you are getting a blade jig sharpening system like the Lansky or Gatco setups, consider the shape of the knives you are sharpening. that will make a difference. Also if you are opting for a ceramic stone look into how best to clean the steel particles off the stone. over time it will load up and become 'slippery'. this will actually dull a knife instead of sharpen it. I have also noticed that certain steels (harder, or exotic) tend to leave behind a more troublesome particle than a regular carbon steel on ceramic sharpening rods. Stropping with leather for a finished edge is always the icing on the cake, if you want that smooth polish cutting edge.