View Full Version : Are messmate and tas oak the same?

25th July 2017, 09:56 PM
A friend has asked me to use messmate for a tabletop and has shown me some photos of a timber which is light coloured but with golden and dark sections running through it. I have also seen some nice photos of the timber but when I do a search many timber sites say "messmate also known as tas oak" plus other names.
Some of the nice timber photos seem to show a timber very much difference in appearance to the tas oak in my local timber yard. I believe the timber yard has eucalyptus obliqua?
Are they the same or does the messmate being used actually have a different name? I have seen timbers called Gympie messmate and Messmate stringybark

25th July 2017, 10:49 PM
Short answer is sort of. Tas oak is a generic name that can be applied to one of or a mixture of several species, one of which is messmate. ie buy tas oak and you might get some messmate in there... or not. if you want messmate you will have to buy eucalyptus obliqua, it is the species commonly called messmate or stringybark.

25th July 2017, 11:01 PM
This timber site, as many others, state eucalyptus obliqua is Tas Oak which is also Messmate, that's why I'm confused.:?

Tasmanian Oak (http://www.brittontimbers.com.au/timber/tasmanian-oak)

This is a similar photo to one I was shown of "messmate"


This is a photo of what I buy as Tas oak


25th July 2017, 11:49 PM
Just shows everything that is wrong with common names - they're a messmate. Although I wish you luck asking for timber at Bunnings by the botanical name........"yer wha?"

The Tassie oak agglomeration is even worse than a common name - three or more species - none of which are oaks at all! I'm not even sure that any of them occur naturally in Tassie either. Bloody ridiculous marketing term IMO.

26th July 2017, 12:29 AM
The name Tassie oak came into common use about a century ago, its also known as Mountain Ash but that name is not as common now.

26th July 2017, 01:00 AM
Mountain Ash is Eucalyptus regnans. A eucalyptus from Vic and Tas.

26th July 2017, 12:19 PM
I told you I was confused:D I'll try and approach it from another angle - what is the most likely type of timber I'd need to ask a timber supplier (not Bunnies but maybe eg. Mathews) for to buy a timber like that in my first photo marked as messmate, as that's what he likes.?

This is a Gov Qld site but it doesn't have sample photos :((



26th July 2017, 01:44 PM
I work at a timber yard and can still get confused. Tassie Oak is generally sourced from Eucalyptus regnans, obliqua or, delegatensis.

However so is Vic Ash. Messmate can be sourced from from E.Obliqua ( and is often called stringybark) but can also be sourced from other eucalypt species with slightly different names, as you said Gypsie or yellow messmate. To throw another spanner in the works is Wormy Chestnut, which is not a chestnut, but a eucalypt that is interchangable with messmate.

To try and clear it up a little, Often different Suppliers, Timber yards, etc will have different trade names for exactly the same species depending on the location of the timber sourced, and the environmental factors of these locations will often dictate the colour and feature of the timber.

In my experience unless there is a very specific need for an exact 'messmate', 'vic ash','tas oak' or whatever. i try to colour and feature match from the selection at hand.

Hope that helped and didnt just confuse you even more!


26th July 2017, 02:07 PM
The timber used in the photo of the Messmate table that you've posted shows a lot of gum veins and other 'undesirable' features that indicate that it is not the best grade. I guess it's the features that he likes? All three of these species will show very similar features to the point of being indistinguishable from one another once finished. Any quality timber merchant should be able to supply what you want if you make it clear that you want a featured timber. See this page that explains how Boral sort their flooring timber grades - Timber Flooring Grading - Australiana, Classic & Natural Grades - Boral.

I like that post above. To me it explains why you're confused - you're supposed to be!

26th July 2017, 02:56 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies. "What's in a name?" - confusion, Mr Shakespeare!
Aldav, thanks for the link. Hmmm, the more featured the timber, the lower the "quality" so to speak. Guess I'll have to either talk him into something else or take him to a timberyard and get him to choose - the only problem is, I'm the one that has to work with it!:oo:

26th July 2017, 03:09 PM
.....what is the most likely type of timber I'd need to ask a timber supplier (not Bunnies but maybe eg. Mathews) for to buy a timber like that in my first photo marked as messmate, as that's what he likes.?Too easy. Take this pic in, and say "Gimme some of that!"

or this one, if that is what you want.


26th July 2017, 05:36 PM
The Tassie Oak that you find in bunnies is generally quartersawn and it is pretty boring looking but easy to work with without costing you an arm and a leg in epoxy filling. But if you can get some backsawn material, it will likely exhibit more "feature" aka. defects, such as gum veins and possibly some knots. The recycled timber merchants would be the place to start.

26th July 2017, 05:46 PM
Kuffy's post made me think of Ironwood at Lilyfield. Delightful place for woodies to have a look around. There's also a wealth of information on their website - ironwood.com.au - have a look under 'Finishes and Species'.

15th December 2017, 10:00 PM
I wonder how this turned out.
I have some rough sawn messmate and it is nothing like the Tasmanian Oak or Vic Ash in Bunnings. Not in any respect except for being a hardwood as far as I can tell.

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