Golden Chinquapin (Chrysolepis chrysophylla) found and utilized on a salvage logging job near Leggett, CA, c. 1980. Like Tanoak (Lithocarpus densiflorus), this tree is a small genus of the beech family Fagaceae, found from western Washington to southern California.
The Golden Chinquapin reaches 50-+120 ft. in the Pacific Coast Ranges from sea level to 1500 ft. elevation with a small population in the Sierra Nevada east of Sacramento. It has rough, fibrous bark and the leaves have golden scales on the underside, hence the genus name from the Greek chryso -, yellow, and lepis, scale.
Mostly regarded as a "trash tree" in commercial forests, both species are harvested for firewood and chips for fiberboard. Where mature Fir and Redwood have been logged an old tree can be seen for a considerable distance, sometimes mistaken for an outlaw Redwood. Chinquapin has a golden-red wood that is easily worked and makes quite attractive furniture and trim, though it is fairly soft. This log provided some end and side tables, some book-matched cabinet doors and a piece to repair a friend's old mahogany lady rocker.