I found a forum about cutting boards So I thought I would give my opinion on the subjuct of cutting boards and butcher blocks.
A little about me: I have been a cabinet/furniture builder for over 10 years I also make wooden bowls, wooden utensils and butcher blocks/cutting boards.
Now just like everybody here my wife and I have owned several plastic cutting boards they are not to pricey and they get the job done, but they will dull your knifes in no time. With that said they do involve a good cleaning when used and newer studies have shown that they actually hold bacteria some say that the plastic surface will even encourage the groth of bacteria. Now I can't say that I have ever gotten ill from using plastic cutting boards but my wife and I tend to scrub them really good after using them and we don't permit food to sit there for very long.
Wood cutting boards and butcher blocks have been around since mid 1800 before that they used chunks of wood or tree rounds for butcher blocks. End grain butcher blocks are still made today. You will not discover them used commercialy but will find them in homes. With little research done, they banned them from commercial use. Studies now show us that wood is a superior cutting surface. That bacteria only lives for about 3 minutes on wood cutting boards. "Scientists from the University of Wisconsin's Food Research Institute stumbled upon the finding while seeking ways to decontaminate wooden boards and make them as "safe" as plastic. Much to their surprise, they found that when boards were purposely polluted with organisms such as salmonella, listeria and Escherichia coli that are common causes of food poisoning, 99.9 per cent of the bacteria died off within three minutes on the wooden boards, while none died on the plastic ones.
When polluted boards were left unwashed all-night at room temperature, bacterial counts increased on the plastic, but none of the organisms could be recovered from the wooden boards the next morning."
With all that said I do preferr wood cutting boards over any other surface. They have a style of there own especially end grain butcher block style cutting boards. Hard Maple is by far the best I have seen for cutting boards it seems to be just the right hardness.
Plastic cutting boards - They are inexpensive, but they will dull your knives and allow bacteria to live on them.
Face grain cutting boards -
They look nice and can be a good bit thinner but they will dull your knifes about like poly or "plastic " cutting boards. This kind of cutting board is affordable
End grain cutting boards -
These are the easiest on your knifes but need to be at least 2 1/4" thick . They are also not inexpensive
My wife and I have had a 24"x30"x14" butcher block for about 7 years now and we love it. I actually found this butcher block at a place we rented it appears to be really old as it has a cup in it that would take some time to create.
Here is a picture of it. You can go to http://www.allthingswood.net to veiw a counter top style butcher block that I made.