Messmate | Eucalpytus obliqua

Messmate is a well-known Australian hardwood with timber varying in colour from pale browns through to light yellows with subtle hints of peach.

Other Names: Messmate Stringybark, Brown-top Stringybark, Australian Oak, Tasmanian Oak, Victorian Messmate

Overview

Messmate is a hardwood native to Tasmania and Victoria and the tablelands of New South Wales and southern Queensland. It has been known to grow to 90 metres tall, with a trunk up to three metres in diameter.

A well-known Australian hardwood that is in high demand for a wide variety of applications, messmate is often sold with mountain ash as Vic ash or Tasmanian oak. It varies in colour from pale browns through to light yellows with subtle hints of peach. The sapwood is pale yellow to pale brown, with light brown heartwood. A species rich and warm in detail, it has an even, moderately coarse texture. The sometimes interlocking, straight grains feature beautifully defined rings. Gum veins are quite common.

Messmate timber has moderate hardness and strength, but low durability. It splits easily and is susceptible to lyctid borer attack. It is relatively easy to work, glue and it bends well. It will readily accept stains, paints and polishes but can be difficult to impregnate with preservatives.

Messmate is mostly used for pulp production and general construction and manufacture, especially framing above ground (when protected), internal flooring, paneling, plywood, protected external use, internal joinery and furniture. 

 

Properties

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High
Tangential:          
11.3
Radial: > 5
Unit Movement: 0.36 %

Strength Group

Very High High Reasonably High Medium High Medium Reasonably Low Low Very Low
Unseasoned:S1S2S3S4S5S6S7
Seasoned:SD1SD2SD3SD4SD5SD6SD7SD8

Stress Grade

Structural
No. 1
Structural
No. 2
Structural
No. 3
Structural
No. 4
Structural
No. 5
Unseasoned: F17 F14 F11 F8 F7
Seasoned: F27 F22 F17 F14 F11

Density per Standard

Unseasoned: 1080 kg/m3
Seasoned: 750 kg/m3

Joint Group

Very High High Reasonably High Medium Low Very Low
Unseasoned:J1J2J3J4J5J6
Seasoned:JD1JD2JD3JD4JD5JD6

Colour

  White, yellow, pale straw to light brown Pink to pink brown Light to dark red Brown, chocolate, mottled or streaky
   

Mechanical Properties

Modulus of Rupture - Unseasoned: 75
Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned: 118
Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned: 14
Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned: 15
Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned: 35
Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned: 61
Impact - Unseasoned: 16
Impact - Seasoned: 15
Toughness - Unseasoned: Medium - 15 - 25 Nm
Toughness - Seasoned: Medium - 15 - 25 Nm
Hardness - Unseasoned: 5.3
Hardness - Seasoned: 7.1

Durability

Low Moderate Reasonably High High
(0 - 5 yrs) (5 - 15 yrs) (15 - 25 yrs) (more than 25 yrs)
In-Ground:
(0 - 7 yrs) (7 - 15 yrs) (15 - 40 yrs) (More than 40 yrs)
Above ground:
(0 - 20 yrs, usually < 5) (21 - 40 yrs) (41 - 64 yrs) (More than 60 yrs)
Marine Borer Resistance:
Lyctid Borer Susceptibility: Susceptible
Termite Resistance: Not Resistant

Fire Properties

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
EFH Ignitibility:
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
EFH Spread-of-Flame Index:
EFH Smoke-Developed Index:
Critical Radiance Flux - Lower: >2.2 and <4.5 kW/m2
Critical Radiance Flux - Higher: >2.2 and <4.5 kW/m2
Smoke Development Rate: <750
1 - non-combustible 2 - reasonably non-combustible 3 - slightly combustible 4 - combustible
Fire Properties Group
Number:
Average Specific Extinction Area: <250
Bushfire Resistance: BAL 12.5 and 19 – All AS3959 required applications

Description

Botanical Name: Eucalpytus obliqua
Preferred Common Name: Messmate
Other Names: Messmate Stringybark, Brown-top Stringybark, Australian Oak, Tasmanian Oak, Victorian Messmate
Species Type: Hardwood

Appearance

Messmate varies in colour from pale browns through to light yellows with subtle hints of peach. It is a species rich in detail with an even texture and beautifully defined growth rings. Gum veins are common.

Common Applications

Mainly used for pulp production and general construction and manufacture, messmate can be employed for framing above ground (when protected), internal flooring, panelling, plywood, protected external use, internal joinery and furniture. 

Common Form

Sawn

Workability

With moderate hardness and strength but low durability messmate works, glues and bends easily. It readily accepts stains, paints and polishes but can be difficult to impregnate with preservatives.

Origin of Timber

NSW, VIC, SA, TAS, QLD, NZ

Readily Available

NSW, VIC, SA, TAS, QLD, NZ

Availability - Further Information

Messmate is common in Tasmania, Victoria, southern Queensland and the tableland district of NSW.

Source of Timber

Plantation

Applications

  • Fencing

    When it comes to fencing, timber is your natural choice. A material that is durable, strong and reliable it compliments almost every outdoor landscape and environment. Clear specification, detailed installation and appropriate maintenance will see any timber fence provide a natural and lasting property boundary and back drop for years to come.

  • Flooring

    Whether for structural or finished flooring applications, timber offers durability, versatility and adaptability. The warmth, strength and natural beauty of timber flooring has proved enduringly popular in a wide variety of interior settings.

  • Timber Joinery Products

    Timber joinery products offer a classic, unique and stylish touch to any interior design.

  • Timber Portal Frames

    For buildings that require large spans and column free interiors, timber portal frames provide one of the most aesthetically pleasing solutions. Utilising modern engineering technology, portal frame design transforms timber into a highly effective, efficient and economical structural product. This application guide provides a comprehensive overview of the process of using timber in the specification, fabrication and erection of portal frame structures.

Case Studies

  • Eastern Precinct, University of Melbourne, Parkville

    The durability and warmth of timber supports the University of Melbourne’s model, providing a new learning landscape at the Eastern Precinct Student Centre.

    Applications: Decking, Doors, External Cladding, Flooring, Internal Paneling, Windows,

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