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v0.31:Stone management

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This article is about an older version of DF.

An established fortress with a reasonable amount of mining can create excess stones and ores. These may have a detrimental effect on the aesthetics of a fortress, so stone management techniques are often used.


Extra stone lying around causes little problems beyond being unsightly. You can hide stones individually using k-h. You might need to scroll in the Look menu to choose the stone you wish to hide. You can hide many stones at a time by using the designate menu. Choose d-b-h and then select the stone you wish to hide by mouse or rectangle.

Please note, however, that stockpiles with hidden items on them will appear to have space available but can't be used for non-container items (like stone but not a barrel). 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. Use the "Dump" method for stones on stockpiles to fix.


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

  1. Make a zone of 1x1 or 1x2 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 k and find a stone. Press d, and the stone will be marked for dumping. Alternatively, use the stocks menu (faster for mass dumping, but requires some bookkeeper labor first). You can also use d,b,d to designate mass items for dumping. You could also use a dumping macro to designate large amounts of stones at once. However, macros do not discriminate between stones and other items, so it is best to use them right after you dig out a new area. Be careful when you mark areas containing cave spider silk for dumping, as dwarves will actually come along and destroy the webs!
  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' (d-b-c) to reclaim the entire pile. (If you want to only use specific stones, you must press k, find the pile, and press f on every stone you want on the list, using +/- to navigate through the list. Macros may come in handy when employing this method.)
  • Advantage:
    • 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 d,b,h to hide all the stone in a dump quickly.
    • Dumping stone, instead of just hiding, doesn't block stockpiles (unless the dump is on a stockpile).
  • Disadvantage:
    • Anything else you dump will end up on those piles too.
    • Dwarves will crawl over one another to get to a 1x1 dump.
    • Take care not to lose overview if you use several or temporary dumps.
    • It can take a long time to clear all the stone from an area, so you need to be strategic about which stones you should dump and hide the rest.
    • Having lots of garbage dumps on different Z-levels will cause the haulers to occasionally choose far away dump zones, making stone management take longer.
    • You have to claim stones for them to be used after they are dumped. d,b will allow you to claim an entire pile of stones quickly.
    • 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 one area at a time.

Pave Floors[edit]

Digging out a tile (usually) leaves behind a stone. Constructing a floor (b-C-f) on that tile requires a stone. Use the former to do the latter, and you end up with a room with a fancier floor, and no stone. You can build stuff on top of it, too.

  • Advantage:
    • Since you can get a maximum of one stone out of a tile, you'll never run out of tiles to put the stones back into.
    • You can even get the stone back, if you need it later, by designating the floor for removal (d-n).
  • Disadvantage:
    • Paved floors cannot be engraved.
    • Requires dwarves with the masonry labor turned on, which can draw from your hauler base or distract your experienced masons from more urgent tasks.
    • Getting the stone back requires removing the floor, and children and/or nobles are likely to respond first, and they work very slowly.

Due to an old bug Bug:1370, building and then removing a constructed floor like this will cause the stone floor underneath to change into the type of stone that makes up the layer (unless the tile contains downward stairs).

Making use of stone[edit]

Use your masons to the fullest by creating doors, hatch covers, chairs, tables, coffers, cabinets, and statues. This builds up your mason's skill, and the furniture gives your dwarves good thoughts.

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 tons of crafts. As long as you have bins, managing a stockpile of finished goods is easy. Crafts can be sold to foreign traders, who have plenty of room for a lot of goods.

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

Building traps can use up stone as well. Mechanisms are also made of stone, and a stone-fall trap requires one mechanism and one stone.

Catapults can use up stone and train siege operators, as well as providing reasonable defence.

You can make a 'practice pile' where you just have dwarves make lots of furniture out of stones, and then dump those furniture. The dwarves will get lots of skill. Another option instead of dumping is to let them make statues, then plant them outside, to make a huge statue garden. Another option is to craft stone blocks, which can be stacked in bins, and use them in smooth constructions.