Ok...so I just got what I think is a truly good knife...now for a block. I've used Bamboo for a while, but mainly because it was cheap and I had it and I had conditioner for it...I know it's not great for blades as it is hard as it is and glued together, so based on what I have read here, I am ready for something like Maple or something with similar capability.
I'd like to get one nicer block rather than a mediocre set...and I'll use it for everything except raw proteins. Maple seems to be the wood of choice, but I've noticed a few others are possible. So...
1) How does cherry, walnut, acacia, ironwood, and teak compare to maple? I see a lot of teak, walnut, and ironwood products, some of which are combined with maple, in absolutely beautiful patterns but am curious as to the performance aspect.
2) Are any of the more common brand names making good boards/values like John Boos? (they are well-rated on Amazon).
3) For general usage, what size should I get for general usage? I've been looking at the sizes ranging fro 12x10 to 18x12. I would not be opposed to one small and one large, with the large one being the nicer one I put the money in.