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How to set up a metal industry in Dwarf Fortress

Test your metal

A Dwarf Fortress Metalsmith’s Forge with a dwarf working inside. Image: Bay 12 Games/Kitfox Games via Polygon
Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

Mastering a metal industry in Dwarf Fortress will ensure your fortress is economically prosperous and that your military can defend it. Mining, smelting, and crafting metals lets you make weapons and armor for your military, or just make fancier trade good and furniture. But it’s not always easy to know what ores smelt into what metals or how to make alloys.

Our Dwarf Fortress metals guide will help you understand what ores you’re finding, set up your metal industry, and start making valuable alloys and weapons.

Metal industry from start to finish

Any metal industry in Dwarf Fortress starts with finding metal ore. That’s the easy part, really. You’ll find metal ore just by digging — it’ll get left behind as you dig through certain types of rock.

From there, you’ll need to smelt the ore in a Build (b) > Workshop (o) > Furnaces (u) > Smelter (l). Smelting also requires fuel, though. That comes from charcoal made from logs in a Build (b) > Workshop (o) > Furnaces (u) > Wood Furnace (f) or from either bituminous coal or lignite turned into coke at a Smelter.

Smelting produces metal bars that are then worked at a Build (b) > Workshops (o) > Metalsmith’s Forge (i). That’s where you’ll make everything from weapons to furniture to instruments — a process that uses more fuel.

Types of metal ore in Dwarf Fortress

There are 12 types of metal that come from the 17 different metal ores you might find underground in Dwarf Fortress.

Dwarf Fortress metal ores and metals

Ore Metal
Ore Metal
Bismuthinite Bismuth
Cassiterite Tin
Galena Lead, Silver
Garnierite Nickel
Hematite Iron
Horn silver Silver
Limonite Iron
Magnetite Iron
Malachite Copper
Native Aluminum Aluminum
Native Copper Copper
Native Gold Gold
Native Platinum Platinum
Native Silver Silver
Raw Adamantine Adamantine
Sphalerite Zinc
Tetrahedrite Copper, Silver
Dwarf Fortress metal ores and the metals they produce when smelted.

Smelting one piece of each of the above metal ores at a Smelter will produce four bars of metal. For the two ores that produce two different metals — Galena and Tetrahedrite — four bars of the first metal listed will be produced along with up to four bars of the second metal.

Raw Adamantine is slightly different. Raw Adamantine needs to be processed first at a Craftsdwarf’s Workshop with Extract Metal Strands. Those strands are then woven into cloth at a Loom (and then into Adamantine clothing at a Metalsmith’s Workshop) or made into Adamantine Wafers at a Smelter.

Metal Alloys in Dwarf Fortress

Combining those 12 metals at a Smelter lets you make an additional 14 Alloys.

Dwarf Fortress Alloys

Alloy Ingredients
Alloy Ingredients
Billon 1 Silver, 1 Copper
Bismuth Bronze 1 Tin, 2 Copper, 1 Bismuth
Black Bronze 2 Copper, 1 Silver, 1 Gold
Brass 1 Zinc, 1 Copper
Bronze 1 Tin, 1 Copper
Electrum 1 Silver, 1 Gold
Fine Pewter 3 Tin, 1 Copper
Lay Pewter 2 Tin, 1 Copper, 1 Lead
Nickel Silver 2 Nickel, 1 Copper, 1 Zinc
Pig Iron 1 Iron, 1 Flux stone, 1 Fuel
Rose Gold 3 Gold, 1 Copper
Steel 1 Iron, 1 Pig Iron, 1 Flux, 1 Fuel
Sterling Silver 3 Silver, 1 Copper
Trifle Pewter 2 Tin, 1 Copper
Dwarf Fortress Alloys and how to make them.

When you create an Alloy at a Smelter, you’ll have the choice to either use ore or use bars. Using bars is less efficient, producing two bars of Alloy for each operation (1 Silver Bar and 1 Copper Bar produce 2 Billon Bars). Using ores, on the other hand, produces eight bars (1 Zinc ore and 1 Copper ore produce 8 Bronze Bars).

Pig Iron and Steel require additional materials. In addition to extra bars of charcoal or coke, you’ll also need Flux stone — Calcite, Chalk, Dolomite, Limestone, or Marble.

Metal and Alloy values

Below, we’ll list the value — the base rate you’d get when trading with a Caravan — of a single bar of each Metal or Alloy.

Dwarf Fortress Metal and Alloy values

Metal or Alloy Value
Metal or Alloy Value
Adamantine 300
Aluminum 40
Platinum 40
Gold 30
Steel 30
Rose gold 23
Electrum 20
Black bronze 11
Iron 10
Pig iron 10
Silver 10
Sterling silver 8
Brass 7
Billon 6
Bismuth bronze 6
Bronze 5
Fine pewter 5
Trifle pewter 4
Lay pewter 3
Nickel silver 3
Bismuth 2
Copper 2
Lead 2
Nickel 2
Tin 2
Zinc 2
The value of a single bar or each Metal or Alloy.

The base value of a bar of each Metal and Alloy lets you see how (relatively) valuable something created from that metal would be — a Gold throne will be worth more than one made from Bronze, for example.

Metal and Alloy uses in Dwarf Fortress

Every metal can be used in Construction — building things like floors, walls, and Workshops. Every metal except Bismuth can be used in making furniture (things like cabinets, barrels, and thrones) and metal crafts (like earrings, goblets, and crowns).

Picks can only be made from Adamantine, Bismuth Bronze, Bronze, Copper, Iron, and Steel.

Anvils need to be Adamantine, Iron, or Steel.

Armor and Weapons can only be Adamantine, Bismuth Bronze, Bronze, Copper, Iron, or Steel.