|This article is about the current version of DF.|
Wood Cutter is a skill that allows a dwarf to chop down trees with an axe, turning them into wood logs. As wood is an essential resource, this is an important skill. As with other skills, it's developed with practice. Higher levels of the skill make felling trees quicker.
A dwarf must have the Wood Cutting labor enabled in order to chop down trees. It's a subset of "woodworking", together with carpentry and crossbow-making. This labor is also mutually exclusive with mining, probably because like mining it requires a tool to be equipped.
If you embark using the "Play Now!" option, one of the seven settlers will be a Novice Wood Cutter with the appropriate labor enabled.
 Cutting down trees
Trees need to be designated to be cut down. Specifically, designating any of the trunk tiles of a tree will do.
- Press Designations Menu. esignate to bring up the
- Select the "Chop Down Trees" action (press
- If you open the menu when the center of the screen is above ground, this option will be already selected.
- Move the cursor to the starting point, then press . You should see a green flashing cross symbol indicating that it's in Selection Mode.
- Move the cursor to another point to define the opposite corners of a rectangle, press
again. The trunk tiles of the trees that were in the rectangle should be highlighted, indicating that they will be chopped down.
- Tiles can also be designated by using the mouse and left-clicking.
After the trees are designated, any idle dwarf with the Wood Cutting labor enabled and an axe equipped will start chopping them down. As with other tasks, the most recently designated target is processed first.
Trees can be cut from any point, not only from ground level, but in all cases, after the dwarf is done cutting, the tree transforms into a pile of logs that fall to the ground in a direction opposite from where the cutter was standing. The logs are not treated as falling objects--they cannot hurt any creatures they land on--but any objects previously sitting upon the tree (e.g. logs from previously felled trees, bolts, corpses, etc.) will fall with standard Dwarf Fortress lethality.
A dwarf needs to have an equipped edged axe to chop down trees. If a dwarf has the Wood Cutting labor enabled but doesn't have an axe, they will pick up any available one from a stockpile. Thankfully, any immigrant that arrives with the wood cutting labor enabled will be carrying an axe.
There are no special axes for woodcutting; the dwarfs use battle axes. Unlike axes in combat though, the quality or material of an axe appears to have no effect on any aspect of wood cutting - a no-quality copper axe is the same as a masterwork steel or adamantine axe. However, wood cutters will no longer use axes without edges, such as wooden training axes.
- As felling trees is usually done away from your fortress, it is an inherently dangerous activity in hostile areas, and care must be taken to ensure that the woodcutters are not killed by hostile creatures or ambushed. It may be helpful to assign woodcutters a war dog or other work animal.
- If the tile under the tree's trunk is mined out, cutting it down will remove the ground tile, creating a hole.
- Wood production can be sped up if the woodcutters have the wood hauling labor disabled, so they can focus on cutting more trees instead of hauling the logs from the last one to the nearest wood stockpile.
- Felled trees fall safely, but any objects that were previously supported by the tree will fall downward with standard Dwarf Fortress lethality. Care must be taken to ensure that the woodcutters do not kill other friendly creatures.
- A single fully-grown tree can provide well over ten logs, making a wood-powered metal industry easy to maintain.
- If you remove the woodcutting labour of your only woodcutter, his axe may be taken by the military as well as all axes made subsequently. If you assign a new dwarf woodcutting, then they will do nothing, as they cannot find an axe. To solve this, disband your military temporarily, the woodcutter will pick up an axe, and you can them re-make your military squads.
- Many products can be made with materials other than wood. Wood cutting is a skill you could probably turn off and on as necessary, unless you need a continuous supply of wood for beds, charcoal, ash, or siege weapon parts and ammo.
- Herbalists can gather fruit and nuts from a lot of trees. Clear cutting a large area will lower your food production if you rely a lot on herbalists. Underground trees do not produce fruit.
- Sometimes dwarves or livestock can get stuck in trees. Cutting down the tree is generally a bad idea, since the creature will take a lot of damage on impact with the ground. Build a staircase up to the branches instead.
- Due to a bug, the wood cutting labor conflicts with military uniforms. A military dwarf with wood cutting enabled will drop his uniform when transitioning to civilian duty. To avoid problems it is recommended you keep your military and wood cutters separate.
- If you are unable to designate a tree to be cut down, check the higher levels. If an upper level of the tree is already designated for cutting, the "Ground-Floor" trunk will not also be designated, and the tree will not be cut down.
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In order to relieve the brainless monotony (aka Dwarven bliss) experienced by wood cutters, the diminutive log choppers often engage in competitive singing whilst whacking away at their arboreal nemeses, such that raucous renditions of the perpetually popular tune "I am a lumberjack and I'm OK" can be heard echoing throughout the timbered valleys found near their fortresses at ever increasing levels of volume. The overall loudness of the rendition is apparently the most critical value used to determine the winner. Unfortunately, this singing is fairly detrimental to overall harvesting productivity, as by the time most singers lay in to the third verse of the song, they have either convulsed into blithering (and debilitating) laughter, or they have run off to taunt the elves with their massive tooth picks whilst wearing their best cross dressing outfits (see further).
Sadly, wood cutters often fall victim to raiding Goblins, as their cacophonous singing leads the Goblins straight to them just as they are in a state of vocal euphoria, and are thus easy prey for the grimy gobbos. That said, there have been instances when their singing has soothed the savagery of nearby beasts, but reports of this are scarce as most Dwarves are unwilling to admit their feat, for fear that it might be seen as undwarflike (aka cowardly).
Some Dwarves have been known to carry on their person very large toothpicks, with which they clean their rather massive molars. These toothpicks are crafted by the woodcutters (in their off hours), sometimes using an entire tree to manufacture a single pick. Wood cutters take significant pride in the size of their toothpicks, which, in a pinch, can often double for poles used in pole vaulting contests (another popular Dwarven pass-time, an event usually called the 'Pole-Toss'). Thus the origin of the phrases "Go toss your pole" and "Is that a lumberjack's toothpick in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" are explained.