Project Description

WOOF Timber - Messmate


Other Names

Messmate Stringybark, Brown-top Stringybark, Australian Oak, Tasmanian Oak, Victorian Messmate

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

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.


Very Low Low Medium High Very High
Tangential 11.30%
Radial 5.10%
Unit Movement Tangential 0.36%
Unit Movement Radial 0.23%

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 F17 F14 F11 F8 F7
Seasoned F27 F22 F17 F14 F11

Density per Standard

Seasoned 770kg/m3
Unseasoned 1090kg/m3

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


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 71
Modulus of Rupture – Seasoned 118
Modulus of Elasticity – Unseasoned 12
Modulus of Elasticity – Seasoned 15
Maximum Crushing Strength – Unseasoned 37
Maximum Crushing Strength – Seasoned 64
Impact – Unseasoned 15
Impact – Seasoned 16
Toughness – Unseasoned Medium – 15 – 24 Nm
Toughness – Seasoned Medium – 15 – 24 Nm
Hardness – Unseasoned 5.3
Hardness – Seasoned 7.3


Low Moderate Reasonably High High
(0 – 5 yrs) (5 – 15 yrs) (15 – 25 yrs) (more than 25 yrs)
(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 Susceptibilitiy Susceptible
Lyctid Borer Susceptibility – Other
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 Spread-of-Flame Index .
Critical Radiance Flux – Lower > 2.2 and < 4.5
Critical Radiance Flux – Higher > 2.2 and < 4.5
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
Botanical Name Eucalyptus obliqua
Preferred Common Name Messmate
Species Type Hardwood


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



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


Readily Available


Availability – Further Information

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

Native Forest.


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.


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.


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 flooring is a timeless product, offering a warmth and natural beauty largely unmatched by other flooring options. This article provides an overview of the installation of solid timber strip flooring over bearers and joists, timber based sheet flooring products and concrete slabs. Timber flooring is typically supplied as either solid timber or laminated wood products, made from layers of bonded timber. It fits together with a tongue and groove joint and once in place, is sanded and finished. There is a wide variety of species to select flooring from and the right species for a given application will be dependent on numerous factors. Information relating to species selection, environmental assessment, finish selection and recommended maintenance routines are all provided in this section.