Messmate, Gympie

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Gympie messmate is a large native hardwood harvested commercially in Queensland. Magnificent examples of the species can be found around the Gympie area (hence the name), where it is noted for its excellent stem form and vigour, reaching up to approx 60 metres in height and two metres wide. It is also widely scattered from Tambo to Mundaberra in the east to near Cooktown in Queensland's north, with isolated pockets occurring in between.

Gympie messmate features yellow-brown heartwood that is strong, hard and extremely durable. Its sapwood is noticeably paler in colour, ranging from white to grey-white. The grain is generally uniform, unfigured, with a fine to medium texture that can sometimes be shallowly interlocked. Bark is soft, flaky, and fibrous with distinctively tessellated fine or coarse longitudinal fissures and is often mistaken for the yellow bloodwoods, although there is no relation between these two species.

Plantation-grown Gympie messmate is readily available. This strong, versatile timber machines, turns, and dresses well and readily accepts paint, stains and polish.

This highly valuable tree species is used for heavy engineering construction, railway sleepers, mining timber, posts, poles and scantling. It is highly resistant to decay from ground contact or in damp, poorly ventilated conditions. These properties make messmate extremely useful for outdoor furniture, turning and joinery, as well as crafting keeling and framing components in vehicles and carriage building.

Gympie messmate is often used as sawn and round timbers for wharf and bridge construction, while unseasoned sawn timber is regularly employed for general house framing. Seasoned dressed timber is used for cladding, internal and external flooring, lining, joinery, fencing, landscaping and retaining walls. Most power poles in south east Queensland are created from Gympie messmate.

 

Appearance

Gympie messmate has yellowish-brown hued heartwood, its sapwood is noticeably paler in colour, ranging from white to grey-white. The grain is uniform, unfigured, with a fine to medium grain that is sometimes shallowly interlocked. Bark is soft, flaky and fibrous with distinctively tessellated fine or coarse longitudinal fissures, causing it to be confused with the unrelated yellow bloodwood.

Common Applications

Gympie messmate is valued for its versatility, strength and strong resistance to decay resulting from ground contact or constantly damp, poorly ventilated conditions. It is employed in a wide variety of heavy construction applications, including as sawn and round timbers for wharf and bridge construction, railway sleepers, mining timber, posts, poles and scantling. Its water resistant properties make it ideal for crafting keeling and framing components in vehicles and carriage building.

The unseasoned raw timber is often used for general house framing, while seasoned timber is employed by the construction industry for cladding, internal and external flooring, lining, joinery, fencing, landscaping and retaining walls. It also makes excellent outdoor furniture.

Common Form

Sawn

Workability

This strong, versatile timber machines, turns and dresses well and readily accepts paint, stains, and polish. There are no issues with fixing standard fittings and fastenings. When gluing, machining and surface preparation should be done in advance, like most high-density species. The timber can be satisfactorily seasoned using conventional air and kiln methods. Preservatives readily impregnate the sapwood. 

Origin of Timber

QLD

Readily Available

QLD

Availability - Further Information

Gympie messmate’s availability is limited to its state of origin - Queensland.

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High

Tangential :

6.00%

Radial:

3.40%

Unit Movement Tangential:

0.37%

Unit Movement Radial:

0.21%

Strength Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium High

Medium

Reasonably Low

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

S1

S2

S3

S4

S5

S6

S7

Seasoned:

SD1

SD2

SD3

SD4

SD5

SD6

SD7

SD8

Stress Grade

Structural
No. 1
Structural
No. 2
Structural
No. 3
Structural
No. 4
Structural
No. 5

Unseasoned:

F27

F17

F14

F11

F8

Seasoned:

F27

F22

F17

F14

F11

Density per Standard

Seasoned:

955kg/m3

Unseasoned:

Joint Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

J1

J2

J3

J4

J5

J6

Seasoned:

JD1

JD2

JD3

JD4

JD5

JD6

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:

94

Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned:

137

Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned:

14

Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned:

17

Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned:

49

Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned:

73

Impact - Unseasoned:

21

Impact - Seasoned:

13

Toughness - Unseasoned:

Medium - 15 - 24 Nm

Toughness - Seasoned:

Medium - 15 - 24 Nm

Hardness - Unseasoned:

7.7

Hardness - Seasoned:

12

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:

Not Susceptible

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility - Other:

Termite Resistance:

Resistant

Fire Properties

1 - non-combustible 2 - reasonably non-combustible 3 - slightly combustible 4 - combustible

Fire Properties Group
Number:

Group Number - Other:

3 if used on MDF or particleboard ≥12mm; veneer thickness 0.6-0.85mm

Average Specific Extinction Area:

<250

Bushfire Resistance:

BAL 12.5 and 19 – All AS3959 required applications

Joinery

Timber joinery products offer a classic, unique and stylish touch to any interior or exterior design. The products are produced for a variety of internal applications including door and window frames, cabinetry, skirtings, mouldings and architraves. When looking to the outdoors, joinery products range from decorative eaves and posts to eye-catching railings.

Many timber species are suitable for joinery products and care should be taken in selecting the perfect timber for the particular product and its intended finish. Rare and exotic species such as Teak and Rosewood can generate pieces of outstanding beauty but material cost and availability are also important considerations.

Commercially available species like Tasmanian oak, Australian cypress, spotted gum and the like, often make the more practical choice, with the added benefit that they can be easily matched with other timber products within the building, like flooring.

Solid timber for joinery products is generally supplied as ‘clear finish grade' but ‘paint grade' options are available and these are usually comprised of a composite material like MDF or glulam.

A large number of specialist suppliers and producers offer the consumer extensive choice of profiles for all of the most common and popular joinery products. Choice is in many cases, limited only by imagination.

Cabinetry is often associated with joinery and most typically includes, cupboards, benches and other similar ‘built in' furniture. Like joinery, cabinetry is generally specified as either paint or clear finish grade and naturally for clear finish grade timbers, appearance and surface finish are critical in achieving a successful application.

 

Panelling, Interior

Internal panelling, also known as appearance boards and linings, is not just a practical means of covering one or more walls and ceilings in a building, its inclusion in a room's interior design can generate looks that are both dramatic and stylish. Internal paneling comes as either solid natural timber paneling or as sheets of engineered wood products that provide a durable and hardwearing surface for areas subject to high impact. As they typically function as appearance products they generally have no structural requirements. This guide describes the variety of panelling products available and outlines the straightforward process of installing them.

Fencing

The inherent appeal and strength of timber makes it the obvious choice for fencing. Timber fencing not only provides a natural look in keeping with the outdoor environment but it also enables the construction of a long lasting, durable property boundary. Fences come in many forms including the traditional paling, picket, post and railing styles. Most rely on a structural frame of posts embedded into the ground and two or more rails spanning between the posts. The ultimate selection of a suitable fence type or style is determined by application and aesthetics. A fence can serve a variety of purposes, including the provision of security, privacy and safety in addition to defining property boundaries. Specification for durability is important, especially for posts, given their exposure to high moisture in the ground.

This section provides an overview to best practice methods in specifying, installing and finishing a timber fence.

Structural Timber Poles

Timber pole construction is typically utilised to provide support for gravity loads and resistance against lateral forces. The natural appeal of timber ensures that its role is not purely structural however, with timber poles complimenting architectural designs aimed at harmonisation with the natural environment. The small number of footings required in pole frame construction also ensures minimal disturbances to the site.

With a double bearer system, poles can be spaced further apart than is usual, creating a more spacious building interior, that allows greater interior design flexibility. While poles are usually placed in a grid like system this is not compulsory and the flexibility of the application means the system can cope with a wide variety of designs, enabling designers to take full advantage of beautiful outlooks.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the process involved in specifying, designing and constructing a solid timber pole construction.

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