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Wikipedia article

This article is about an older version of DF.

Clay is one of the many types of soil that can be found in soil layers. Aquifers are never present in clay layers.


Main article: Ceramic industry

Five different soil types are classified as clay: clay, clay loam, sandy clay, silty clay, and fire clay, each of which can be gathered for use in ceramics. If your embark site has at least one type of clay, it will be shown as Clay or Shallow Clay in the embark screen's biome viewer.

The gathering and use of clay is done from a kiln or magma kiln and behaves similarly to most material production, but includes elements similar to glass production. In order to gather clay, a gathering zone must first be designated over a clay-bearing tile (note that clay can be collected from adjacent clay walls, even diagonally), much like with sand; however, gathering clay creates a clay "boulder" (the same as raw stone) and does not require a bag. These clay boulders are stored in a stone stockpile and may be used to build workshops and constructions, but constructed clay floors cannot be used in place of natural soil. As with sand, clay can be gathered indefinitely from a single tile - any dwarf with the item hauling labor enabled can collect clay.

Clay can be made into pots, bricks, statues, hives and crafts. Small pots, called jugs, function similar to bags and waterskins, while large pots are treated like barrels. Creating any object from clay requires a unit of fuel, or a magma kiln.

Clay can also be used in jewelcrafting like any other stone or ore, allowing for an infinite source of materials for practicing cutting gems with. However, clay cannot be fired from a catapult, loaded into a stone-fall trap, or used in place of stone at a mason's workshop.

Before an earthenware pot (large or small) can hold liquids, it must be glazed. Glazing is performed at a kiln and requires either a unit of ash or a unit of cassiterite (tin ore), plus a unit of fuel. Stoneware and porcelain pots do not need to be glazed.

When an underground plant (trees, shrubs, grass or moss) grows on a muddy stone floor tile (after discovering a cavern) and is either trampled, gathered, cut down or removed via building a dirt road on top of it, the floor tile turns into a soil type appropriate to the biome - for biomes which lack soil layers altogether (such as mountains and glaciers), a random soil type will be selected, which might sometimes be clay.

Grass, saplings and shrubs can grow on clay soil, which causes the underlying clay to be temporarily unavailable for collection, giving the message "Urist McBagger cancels Collect Clay: Clay vanished" if the job is in progress, or "Urist McBagger cancels Collect Clay: Need valid, active clay collection zone" if the job is new. You can easily remove the grass and prevent it from growing back by building a dirt road (b-o) over the grass. You can also put a floor grate over a clay floor to prevent growth while allowing clay to be collected, but you must first remove the grass/sapling/sapling; you can do this by placing a dirt road (b-O) over it.

Occasionally, it is possible to 'cultivate' clay by channeling down into the lowest normal layer of the caverns, revealing a "magma flow" above a floor of semi-molten rock (and a ramp on the level below, if the square had not previously been revealed). If a floor is constructed over the flow, then deconstructed, a natural floor of clay or sand may be left behind. In some cases, this may be the sole domestic source of clay for a fortress.


Designation of a clay collection tile will repeatedly gather clay while the kiln has the job on repeat. This clay can then be used as a fire-safe building material for exterior walls. Using this strategy allows you to build a fort quickly without hauling heavy stone or using burnable wood. Placing the collection zone near the main stairway increases efficiency. Remember to forbid clay from your stone stockpiles to avoid wasted hauling and valuable storage for real rocks.


  • It is possible to "cut" clay at a jeweler just like any other stone. These clay gems are treated like a normal gem and can be used to encrust the standard materials, but do not have a visible entry in gem stockpiles. It can only be forbidden or allowed in gem stockpiles with Block All and Allow All respectively.Bug:9749

Polymer clay in different colors.
More: GemsMetalsStones
BloodBoneBrainCartilageCheeseChitinEggFatFeatherHair (WoolYarn) • HoofHornIchorLeatherMilkNailNervous tissueParchmentPearlScaleShellSilkSkinSpitSweatTallowTearsToothWax
Fiber (PaperSlurry) • FlowerFruitLeafOil • Plant powders (DyeFlour) • Seed (Press cake) • Wood
AmberAshCoralFilthFuelGlassGrimeIceLyeMagmaMudPearlashPotashSaltUnknown substanceVomitWater
See also: Material science
Ocean floor