Wooden chopping boards should generally be made from hard, tight-grained woods. Let's break this down. Most cutting boards are made from trees classified as hardwoods. This classification is a bit confusing as it doesn't depend on hardness, but the type of tree. Hardwoods are angiosperms aka flowering plants with broad leaves. Think maple, oak, and birch. Softwoods are gymnosperms (about 80% of the world's harvested timber) and include pine, firs, or redwoods.
Another distinction is that hardwoods have pores to transport water, while softwoods rely on a different mechanism called medullary rays. This will be important later.
Having said all this, in general, hardwoods have a higher density so are harder and more durable than softwoods. This makes them an ideal material for cutting boards as they wont score as easily. Cuts and scratches from knifes cause an uneven cutting surface, allow for bacteria and water to enter the board, and can be unsightly.
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