|This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.
A considerable industry centered on the use of stone is essential for any fortress. The stone industry is based on the use of loose stone (aka boulders), which are the residual products of mining, as the raw material for all of its products. The stone industry is essential for fortress development, as both a source of revenue through trade, and as a source of material and items critical for building and construction.
The industry produces a variety of items under the following categories:
Stone can come from four places:
- Mining. Loose stone and boulders are a byproduct of mining. There is a 25% chance that a section of natural stone that is mined will produce a stone boulder.
- Trade. Stone can be purchased at the trade depot from visiting caravans. Specific types of stone can also be requested from the liaison, provided that your home civilization, or the trading race, has access to it.
- Embark. Stone can be purchased at embark. This is a very good idea if embarking on an aquifer, as it may be difficult to obtain any stone to start with.
- Creatures. A defeated gabbro man will leave behind one gabbro, and a defeated magma man will leave behind one obsidian. These creatures are rare and there are far easier places to get these stones, but it is included here for completeness.
Labor, Skill, and Workshops
The stone industry relies on the following labors:
- Mining - to procure stone / boulders.
- Stone Hauling - to bring the stone to stockpiles and/or workshops. (Refuse hauling, if using quantum stockpiles.)
- Masonry - to build buildings out of stone.
- Mechanic - to build stone mechanisms
- Stone crafter - to build stone crafts and containers, including nest boxes, hives, and stone short swords (requires obsidian).
- Wall/floor construction - As the name suggests, to build walls and floors from stone or other materials. This also includes fortifications, stairs and ramps.
- Jewelry - Gem cutters can cut ordinary stones into cut gems for use by gem setters.
Stone blocks are a much more efficient way to build constructions as opposed to boulders, both in terms of maximum utilization of stone (4 blocks are created from 1 stone boulder), and for speed of movement (blocks are hauled much faster than boulders, and are stored in bins at 5 per bin). A good way to increase the skill of your novice Masons is to have them mass produce stone blocks.
There are three workshops that can utilize stone as the primary material for all that they build:
A stoneworker's workshop produces stone blocks (which are highly useful for construction); furniture including tables and thrones (chairs), storage items including coffers (chest), cabinets, weapon racks, and armor stands; portals including doors, grates, hatch covers, and flood gates, funeral items including slabs and coffins, milling items including querns and millstones, and finally stone statues.
- Masons are not able to build pipe sections, cages, beds, buckets, and bins, as well as barrels, but large stone pots (which are arguably superior to barrels) can be made by a stone crafter at a craftsdwarf's workshop.
- Querns, slabs, and millstones can only be made with stone at a mason's workshop.
- Stone blocks are a much more efficient way of building constructions, and are useful in leveling a novice mason's skill. Blocks are stored in bins (5 blocks per bin) and do not have quality levels.
A mechanic's workshop produces mechanisms and traction benches. High value mechanisms can be a good source of income early on.
- Mechanisms may also be made of metal, which is useful when creating mechanisms of high value, but general purpose mechanism are best made from stone.
- It is good practice to some make mechanisms from magma safe stone for use in and around areas with magma. This will prevent building deconstruction, provided all components are made from magma safe material, should the building come into contact with magma. Alternatively, mechanisms can be made from iron or steel since they are also magma safe.
- All crafts can be created using glass, and in some cases ceramics, which have higher base values, but require more effort to create.
A jeweler's workshop can cut stones into cut gems, and then gem setters can decorate items with them. Since stones are abundant this can be a good way to train jewelers before using expensive gems.
Value & Quality
Stone typically has three base levels of value. The vast majority of stone has a base value of 1, while flux stone (limestone, dolomite, chalk, and marble) has a base value of 2, and obsidian has a base value of 3. These values serve as multipliers to the overall value of any item produced using them, so say a statue with a base value of 25, made of marble, will be worth 50, and if made from obsidian, will be worth 75.
The quality of items produced increases with the skill level of the labor assigned, such that highly skilled masons, stone crafters, or mechanics, will produce high quality items. Quality is also a multiplier on base value, such that stone items created using Flux Stone or Obsidian will experience considerable increase in overall value.
Stone Management (Logistics)
For a detailed article on managing the movement and stockpiling of stone, read stone management.
Managing your stone resources & products is a tricky and potentially time consuming business. Stone hauling is notoriously slow and can tie up many haulers for long periods of time if you don't carefully manage your hauling & stockpiling. Controlling production is also tricky as designating the specific kinds of stone used for production requires customized (by stone type) directional stockpiling that feed designated workshops. Based on the variety of items and uses created you will also need well organized output stockpiles, so that your trade, construction, and building items can be isolated to their most useful locations.
What to expect
A typical fortress will have anywhere from 6-12 specific types of layer stone, which make up the bulk quantity of stone on a given Z-level. There are 25 types of layer stone, of which 7 are magma safe. The four types of Flux stone are layer stone, so a flux stone is present on the embark location, it should likely be available in good quantity.
Layer stone is usually grey or grey-green in color. Supplementing the layer stones will be veins and clusters of secondary types of stone which include all non-flux economic stone types. Each secondary stone is directly associated with a particular layer stone. These are typically low value stones, however, they provide a wide variety of color, and several of them are magma safe. For every layer stone in an embark, there is at least one if not 2-3 secondary stone types. As can be seen, managing all of the various types of stone requires deliberate planning and consideration.
- DFHack can be used to show you all the stone types available in your embark, by typing 'prospect all'. This is cheating, but it does allow you to plan ahead for your stone stockpiling.
Stone collecting and stockpiling
One approach to managing intake is to organize your stockpiles by the following categories: low value stone (1), medium value stone (flux -2), high value stone (obsidian - 3), and magma safe stone. See The Non-Dwarf's Guide to Rock for further details. Note that this method is not useful if you want to control furniture building by color. For that level of detail individual stockpiles by each stone type may be required. Link the stockpile in which your magma safe stone is stored to feed your Mechanic Workshops, and any Mason Workshops that you want to produce blocks (for magma safe constructions.) Link the stockpile in which your medium and high value stone is stored to feed your Craftsdwarf's workshops and Mason Workshops to produce furniture and crafts of high trade value. Low value stone can be linked to workshops who will be operated by low skill, novice level dwarves.
- Regarding wheelbarrow, as stone is quite heavy to haul, wheelbarrows can be a good solution for collecting the boulders, provided the stockpiles are set up only for raw stone. Having multiple stone collection stockpiles, set up to feed your custom - type specific stockpiles should help with reducing hauling time. Wheelbarrows have several bugs associated, and are virtually uselless in multi purpose stockpiles that also use bins, but they do work for stone hauling. Keep in mind that wheelbarrows collect items, but do not deliver them.
- Quantum stockpiles are an alternative to standard stockpiles, but require some micro management if you want to use them to feed your workshops.
- Minecart systems can also help with hauling stone, but require considerable effort to build.
Stone product stockpiling
Product output is best managed by stockpiling finished goods together - those you always want to sell in trade as they have no other real purpose, which are typically craft goods. Isolated Stockpiles for Large Pots and Jugs can help manage demand, while smaller stockpiles for nest boxes and hives will do likewise. Furniture can be grouped /categorized according to individual preference, but it might be a good idea to create duplicate stockpiles organized around quality levels to help control which items are used in building. Furniture stockpiles should be fairly large, as furniture items typically cannot be stored in containers. Blocks should be isolated to their own stockpiles but they need not be too large as they can be stored in bins. Mechanisms might require fairly large stockpiles, depending on your planned use of traps, bridges, and power. Isolating mechanisms by quality is also a good idea, as they can provide happy thoughts.
Economic stones are stones that can be used for purposes other than construction or masonry, and as such are typically excluded from the stone industry. Stones used in other industries include ore, flux, plaster, fuel, porcelain, and obsidian. These stones should be stockpiled in the areas where they will be in demand, for example you will want to stockpile ore, some flux, and fuel-providing stone near your smelters, while stone that can make plaster should be stockpiled near a kiln. If you have an abundance of any particular economic stone, you can enable stone industry use of that stone in the z Status - Stone screen.
Obsidian - the Premier Stone
Obsidian deserves special mention as it is the highest-value stone in the game (3). It is unique in that it can be farmed using magma and water, and it can be used to create obsidian short swords. It is magma safe, and due to its high value, is considered to be the best stone to use when attempting to craft objects designed to improve your dwarves' happiness and create happy thoughts. In particular, obsidian mechanisms will achieve the highest possible value of any stone-based mechanism.
After your fortress has been dug out you will likely have more stone than you know what to do with. A good idea is to produce stone crafts for when the first dwarven caravan arrives. Crafts often produce light goods. The stone is also useful as it can produce most furniture. Finally, the stone can be used in constructions.
If you are lucky enough to have layers of flux stone in your fortress, any goods produced with them will be twice as valuable as other goods of default (non-flux stone) quality. Obsidian will enhance goods to triple value.