This is a great discussion, I'll probably xfer it onto hard text incase she decides to delete her blog, make it so that only livejournal users can read, etc...
but here's the long and short of it.
1. better grip of the yarn
1a. sometimes too grippy - so depends on the type of wood and the finish
2. because of the better grip, it's better for "loose knitters"
3. light weight - this makes a huge fucking difference when knitting if you knit a lot
5. highly recommended for double pointed needles (so the stitches don't fall off either end)
1. slick slick slick! you can knit fast with these puppies (think addi tubro circulars http://www.addinadeln.de/pages_english/index_en.html)
1a. sometiems too slick and your stitches can fall off easily (think double pointed needles)
2. because of the slickness, it's better for "tight knitters" (like me)
3. now this can go either way depending on preference, but that metal "clicking" noise (when you're making a stitch) and that metal "sliding/scratching" noise (when you tranfer the stitch from one needle to another. some of you may thing "oh cute sound" and others of you may think "ahhhh nails on a chaulk board"
4. cool to the touch - makes a difference in winter
5. heavy - i knitted 8 scarves with lions brand wool (the stupid -aka ultra- soft kind) with silveralume susan bates 14"... my fucking wrists hurt like hell. i was tempted to go out and get a carpal tunnel/ bowling/ roller blading wrist brace
There is plastic, but i haven't knit with those and don't think i ever will...
so think of it like this...wooden is to ergonomic keyboard as metal is to typical keyboard...
also... what needle you use really depends on
1. personal preference (duh!)
2. project (if you're on a circular doing a lot of work and are an experience knitter, you'd probably want the addi turbo circs)
i may buy some addi circs the next time i do knitting that requires them, but i don't think i will until i'm getting more advanced.
and i will buy the expensive lantern moon needles for the cause (check out that blog entry) but for those of you who like something other than bamboo... try Brittany Birch Crochet Hooks (beautiful decorative top) and Knitting Neeldes (not as fancy but still nice and elegant) - cheapest at elann.com when compared to kyarns.com and patternworks.com