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Stone management

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This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.

An established fortress with a reasonable amount of mining may create excess stones and ores—roughly one fourth of all excavated rock tiles will produce a stone. These stones may have a detrimental effect on the functionality and aesthetics of a fortress, so stone management techniques are often used.

On the other hand, it is possible for established fortresses with large masonry projects to find themselves running out of stone. The easiest way to fix this issue is to use clay (if available) or to make stone blocks to make constructions with.


"It's not my turn to clean that up."

Loose stones can interfere with regular operation of your fortress, particularly with buildings and stockpiles. When placing a building, any loose stones will normally be moved outside of the building tiles by the constructing dwarf. However, stones that are forbidden, already associated with another task, or placed upon the construction site after the designation will cause the construction to be suspended. Loose stones located in a designated stockpile can prevent the use of the occupied tile until the stone is removed, effectively shrinking your stockpile.

Loose stones can also "hide" other content on a tile (since the game displays only a single item per tile). This can make finding specific items more difficult, and occasionally result in overlooked rotten items producing miasma that disgusts dwarves. Additionally, some players find these stones unsightly, ruining the aesthetic appeal of their fortresses.


Dumping / Quantum Stockpiling[edit]

This method is easy and useful. However, some view it as an exploit, and it may not be allowed in future versions.

  1. Make a zone of 1×1 or 1×2 tiles, preferably either near the stones you want to get rid of or your stone-needy workshops, and mark it as a garbage dump.
  2. Press ip and select some stones, and the stones will be marked for dumping.
  3. A dwarf with refuse-hauling enabled will take the stone to the garbage dump.
  4. Every dumped stone will be marked as "forbidden." Use the stocks menu to globally un-forbid types of stone, or use the designation 'Reclaim Items' iF.
  • Advantages:
    • No matter how many stones you mark for dumping, they will all be placed on the same tiny garbage tile. Conceivably, every single stone and ore in the fortress can fit on 1 tile.
    • You can use keybinds to hide all the stone in a dump quickly.
    • Dumping stone, instead of just hiding, doesn't interfere with stockpiles (unless the dump is on a stockpile).
    • Placing your quantum stockpile near your mason or craftsdwarf workshop provides a convenient source of raw materials and greatly speeds up production.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Considered by some to be an exploit.
    • Anything else you dump will end up on those piles too.
    • Dwarves will crawl over one another to get to a 1×1 dump.
    • Requires user oversight when using several temporary dumps.
    • It can take a long time to clear all the stone from an area, so you may want to be strategic about which stones you dump and hide the rest.
    • Having multiple garbage dumps will cause the haulers to occasionally choose far away dump zones, spreading the stones out and making removal take longer.
    • You have to claim stones for them to be used after they are dumped.
    • Dumping lots of stones from several different areas can cause Dwarves to run long distances since the AI doesn't look for the closest stone. So it's best to dump stone from a single area at a time.


Stone can be selectively hauled by using two linked stockpiles. The first stockpile is placed over the area to be cleared, and the second is placed over the stones' final destination. Both of these stockpiles are set to take from links only, and the stockpiles are linked so that the first stockpile feeds into the second. More than two stockpiles may be linked in this fashion.

  • Advantages:
    • Unlike quantum stockpiling, is not generally considered an exploit.
    • Uses "Stone hauling" labor (instead of "Refuse hauling" for a quantum stockpile).
    • Multiple linked stockpile areas can operate simultaneously and independently without cross-contamination.
    • Linking stockpiles prevents dwarves from hauling stones from all over the fortress.
    • No reclamation required--stockpiled stones are readily available to your masons and crafters.
    • If the stockpiles to be cleared are already in place, part of the work is already done.
    • The use of wheelbarrows enables stones to be moved more quickly by fewer dwarves.
  • Disadvantages:
    • If the stockpiles to be cleared are intended for immediate use, they'll have to be linked to whichever workshop needs them.
    • Temporary stockpiles have to be kept track of.
    • The link status of permanent stockpiles has to be kept track of.
    • Requires relatively large stockpile areas to clear stone quickly--in general, an empty destination stockpile can remove stone from an area four times as large as the stockpile.


Extra stone lying around in out-of-the-way areas causes little problems beyond being unsightly. Hide stones by using ih. Note that hidden items still interfere with buildings and stockpiles. Worse, buildings may be suspended for no apparent reason and stockpiles will appear to have blank tiles (since the stone is hidden), but those tiles are actually unusable. This can be troublesome when your food stockpile appears to have room but your kitchen and farms clog up with food that will rot. Or furniture cluttering up the carpentry/masonry shop due to hidden stone blocking the furniture stockpile. For this reason, it is best to use a different method to handle stones in your fortress proper.

  • Advantages:
    • Instantaneous - no dwarf effort required.
    • Trivially resolves the "ugly stone" problem.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Doesn't actually dispose of the stone.
    • Hidden stones can still cause functional problems, and prove more difficult to track down.

Using Stone[edit]

Perhaps the most "dwarfy" way to deal with excess stone is to ramp up production and use it to enrich your fortress.

Fancy Floors[edit]

You can use excess stones to construct a floor (bnf) on any standard floor tile. Similarly, you can construct a paved road or a bridge, with the added benefits of training your architect and providing the possibility for your dwarves to experience happy thoughts when walking across the tile.

  • Advantages:
    • You are guaranteed to have plenty of space for flooring.
    • You can get the stone back, if you need it later, by designating the floor for removal or deconstructing the road/bridge.
    • Building roads and bridges trains your architect, resulting in higher-value constructions for your fortress.
    • Roads and bridges can generate happy thoughts when your dwarves walk across them--something even an engraved floor is currently unable to do.
    • Bridges built over engraved floors do not destroy the engraving, maximizing room value and happiness.
    • constructed floors can be engraved (as of version .50) leading to a higher value room than just engraving a smoothed stone floor.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Requires extensive dwarven effort (masons and/or architects) and can distract your lengendary dwarves from more important tasks.
    • Roads and bridges block further construction in the tile until the road/bridge is removed.
    • Getting the stone back requires additional effort.
    • When removing a constructed floor over a high-value base tile (gems, ore), the floor may revert to the layer stone typeBug:1370 (significantly reducing the value).


Use your stone carvers to the fullest by creating doors, hatch covers, chairs, tables, coffers, cabinets, and statues. This trains your stone carver's skill, and the resultant high-quality furniture has the best chance of causing happy thoughts. Low-quality furniture can be traded to caravans, used to distract/delay building destroyers, or disposed of (using an atom smasher, magma, or a simple dump zone).

  • Advantages:
    • More high-quality furniture leads to happier dwarves.
    • Increases "displayed" wealth when furniture is installed (and "created wealth" upon construction).
    • Trains stone carver skill.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Furniture storage requires as much room as stone storage, though it is hauled faster.
    • Disposing of excess low-quality furniture can take additional time (and is significantly limited by weight when trading with caravans).


Skilled Craftsdwarves can produce large quantities of rock crafts very quickly. This trades the problem of tons of stone to the much easier problem of pounds of crafts. Crafts are far lighter, much more valuable, stackable in finished goods bins, and counted as "created items" and "created wealth" (which are used in several calculations behind-the-scenes). Stone crafts can be traded for more useful items from any caravan.

  • Advantages:
    • Very compact storage, and great fodder for trade caravans.
    • Increases "created wealth" and "created items" count.
    • Trains stonecrafting skill.
  • Disadvantages:
    • High stonecrafting skill is not extremely useful.
    • Easily produces more crafts than necessary to purchase an entire caravan. (Unless you find that a good thing)


Gem cutters can turn stone into cabochons, which can then be encrusted into furniture or crafts by a gem setter. This synergizes well with the two above options, unless most of your boulders are of the same material.

  • Advantages:
    • Decorations aren't considered separate items and so don't contribute to weight, clutter, or lag.
    • Expensive furniture makes dwarves happy.
    • Trains gem cutters and gem setters without wasting valuable gems.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Requires a supply of items to encrust.
    • Items cannot be normally decorated with their base material, nor with the same material twice, which becomes a problem if you have a lot of identical stone.


You can also use stones (or blocks) to build large structures above ground, and floors on soil layers like sand, silt, and loam. The construction interface might be slow, but not only do you use up the stone from your excavations, you also create usable indoor space without having to mine any additional stone.

  • Advantages:
    • Creates more usable space.
    • Can qualify as a megaproject.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Mining creates more valuable and generally safer usable space in a fraction of the time.
    • Dwarves move slowly when hauling loose stone across your fortress and building constructions out of it.


Stone can provide some defense for your fortress as well. Stone-fall traps require one mechanism (which can be created from stone) and one stone. Catapults can use up stone and train siege operators, as well as providing minimal defense. With the recent falling damage updates, simply dropping a stone multiple z-levels proves quite deadly to those unlucky enough to be underneath.

  • Advantages:
    • Provides minimal defense.
    • Catapults train siege operating skill, and can be useful for cross-training military units.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Most other traps are more effective than stone-fall traps.
    • Catapults are generally ineffective against even lightly-armored foes.
    • Dropping large amounts of stone on invaders requires significant micromanagement.