Block of the Week: Stonecutter
Cobbling things together
Let’s talk about stairs. Stairs are not our Block of the Week, but we need to talk about them anyway because they’re a bit of a pain to craft. Every time you make stairs, you get four of them – which is not useful at all if you just need one. What do you do with the rest? They usually end up getting tossed into that most dreaded part of any storage system – the “miscellaneous” chest.
If only there was some way to make just a single stair block at a time. BUT WAIT! There is. And it’s so nifty that we’re crowning it out Block of the Week. Everyone, meet the Stonecutter. Stonecutter, meet everyone. Don’t worry, you won’t have to remember their names.
The stonecutter was added to Minecraft pretty recently, as part of the Village & Pillage update. Fans of fun facts (funactans, as I like to call us ahem them) will want to know that there was also a stonecutter block in older versions of Pocket Edition, Bedrock Edition, and the Nintendo 3DS edition, with kinda similar features, but that got removed and we no longer speak its name.
The not-singing, not-dancing new stonecutter block is easy to acquire. You can steal one from a stonemason’s house in a village, but honestly, it’s probably easier to just toss three stone and an iron ingot into a crafting bench?
Once you’ve got one, put any stony block (including sandstone, prismarine, quartz, purpur, end stone, bricks, basalt, and blackstone, but not netherrack) into the slot on the left, choose a recipe in the centre, and then grab the results on the right-hand side. Simple and easy, with no waste – except that a full block will always become two slabs.
As well as cutting stone, stonecutters can be used to turn a villager into a stonemason, and create a bass drum sound when placed under a note block.
In the real world, cutting stone is a very complex, very important, and very old job. One of the oldest jobs in the whole world actually – all of the oldest temples, monuments, fortifications, and cities that we’re aware of are made of cut stone. Some are thought to date back as far as 800,000 years – long before modern humans evolved. Famous stone-cut structures you might have heard of include the Egyptian Pyramids, Stonehenge, the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, and the statues of Easter Island.
There are lots of different kinds of stonecutting. Quarrying is where stone is extracted from the ground. Sawyers then chop it into cuboids. Masons then form that stone into buildings, while carvers carve it into fancier, more detailed shapes. Each is a highly-specialised job that requires years of experience to do well.
In Minecraft, though, we’ve made it easy for you. Get yourself a stonecutter block, and the rest of your architectural problems will solve themselves. You’re welcome!