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This article is about an older version of DF.

Bones are obtained when butchering animals or taking apart skeletons. Some severed body parts also decay into usable bones, the same way a corpse rots into a skeleton.

Skeletons are the last step of the rotting procedure. After a corpse begins to rot, no food can be created from it, and it will eventually rot into a skeleton. The skeleton has to be taken to the butcher's shop and "butchered" to be torn apart into skulls and bones afterwards. Bone does not rot further or produce miasma. Note that many civilizations (like dwarves) consider it unethical to butcher certain skeletons Bug:1180. An exception is the stack of bone that can form after a severed part decays. This appears to happen when the part in question has bone as its only non-rotting material.

While bones are counted as "body parts" in the stocks menu, they have their own subcategory in the refuse stockpile menu. It is a good idea to create an internal refuse stockpile to handle bones near one's craftsdwarf's workshop for easy access. Dwarves in a strange mood may require several stacks of bones as ingredients, making it important to stockpile a few bones in a safe place.

Be aware, stockpiled bones may disappear due to vermin such as rats.

Uses for Bone[edit]

Bones are processed as follows:

At the Craftsdwarf's workshop, using the bone carving labor:

  • Bone crafts, for sale to visiting merchants.
  • Bone armor, namely leggings, greaves, gauntlets, and helm. Bone armor uses bones individually, but may require one bone from several stacks. The first stack determines the material of the resulting armor. Note that armor made out of bone can be used by dwarves assigned a uniform of metal armor.
  • Bone decorations. Any decoratable item can be decorated with bone, which adds to the items' value. Decorating with bone/horn uses whole stack Bug:2011. Dwarves may refuse to use sentient creatures' bones for decoration (with an unhelpful "needs improvable item" error), while still freely using them for bone crafts.
  • Bone bolts. These bolts are fired from crossbows. Each bone will produce 5 bolts. Each bone must be crafted individually (a stack of Yak Cow bone [7] becomes a stack of Yak Cow bone [6] plus a stack of yak bone bolts [5]). This renders the process for carving bone bolts very slow. Despite this, some players still use bone bolts for hunting animals for a long time, mainly because the remmnants of animals killed become bones, allowing more bone bolts to be made.

At the bowyer's workshop, using the crossbow-making labor:

  • Bone crossbows. They are one of the few weapons available without access to wood or metal. Making a crossbow from bone takes only one bone off a stack, yet, due to a bug, large stacks do not produce the expected number of crossbows.


  • Dwarves refuse to take usable bones from skeletons of sentient creatures Bug:1180
  • Dwarves may refuse to use the bones of a sentient creature for decoration, returning an incorrect "needs improvable item" error.
  • Decorating with bones uses an entire stack Bug:2011
  • Stacks consisting of a single bone cannot be used by craftsdwarves Bug:5816
  • Large stacks of bone do not produce an equivalent number of crossbows; a stack of 50 bones may produce less than 20 weapons.