'Tree cutting' vs 'Wood sawing'

I assume that chopping down trees uses the ‘tree cutting’ quality. But what about ‘chop a tree trunk into logs’ or ‘cut a log into planks’? It’s not clear what exactly the dividing line is between cutting a tree and sawing some wood. More practically, when I’m chopping down a tree with a hatchet, should I switch to the wood saw when turning logs into planks?

There really isn’t one. Many things in the code today are simply a result of rather disjointed implementation by different people at different times, exacerbated by technical restrictions of the code framework at the time.

Are you using construction menu or the tool itself?

I believe tree cutting would apply to rough cutting, like chopping down a tree or cutting it into logs. Wood sawing would be for more precise work such as cutting logs into planks.

Woah, what? You can use the construction menu to make planks? That’s confusing.

You can. Just check it out.

It seems like the questions were not fully answered, so I’d like to bring some more insight into this (all information provided here are based on the 0.F stable release and might vary for other releases).

This is correct. There a few things to mention:
A 1 tree cutting quality item allows you to fell a tree (by activating the item and choosing Chop down a tree) and to Chop a Tree Trunk into logs (also on activation).
A 2 tree cutting quality item allows you - aside from also doing what can be done with quality 1 - to also Cut a log into planks (when activating the item).
Higher quality does not offer more action options. However, when cutting down a tree, the game checks the tree cutting quality of the item used. Higher quality means faster cutting, so it’s better to fell a tree with tree cutting 2 than with wood sawing 2 (and chainsaws are even better; for every additional point in the tree cutting quality it halves the cutting time (base time around 1 hour at quality 1 or any wood sawing 2)).

A 1 wood sawing quality item does not offer anything on activation (from this quality alone). It is purely used as a crafting/construction tool quality.
A 2 wood sawing quality item allows you to do the same as a 2 tree cutting quality item on activation (nothing else).
Higher quality does not offer more action options.

Now, the [*] construction menu does also provide you with a Chop Tree Trunk into Planks and - depending on the version and/or mods you’re playing - maybe also with a Chop Tree Trunk into Logs option. These also require tool qualities accordingly.

Now, let’s talk about the differences…

There are two main points here:

  1. You can use a cheap (or self made) axe to chop down a tree and chop fire wood, but not create clean cut, useable planks.
  2. You first have to chop a large chunk of a tree up into smaller pieces to then turn them into planks.

So, you can cut down a tree with whatever you have and hack away on the trunks until they are items that can be moved, but you will need a well made axe or saw to cut them into planks.
Like before, to turn the trunks into logs it takes the tree cutting quality into account to determine the speed of the process.
In my tests the quality did not seem to influence the return rate, though, so the only thing that is lost with a low quality tool is time.

After that, you can cut the logs you’ve made into planks.
As long as the item quality is high enough to provide the Cut a log into planks option, there is no need to take another tool. The time is always the same and it seems to always produce 10 planks.

Now to the options in the building menu. I’m just going to talk about the Chop Tree Trunk into Planks option here.
While this provides a way to automating the clean up of tree trunks, it comes at a cost. It takes one hour and is therfore a bit slower than to cut them into logs (but usually faster than to cut them first into logs and then into planks), and it does only return 10 planks for each tree trunk, while the other method - depending on your skill - might provide more.

One last thing to mention: Using a tool with anyone of the qualities to turn trunks into logs can also chop up tree stumps. This is not possible with the construction menu option.


Thank you for the very very solid answer! This is all helpful to know but it also highlights some confusing inconsistencies in the code.

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This should be changed, to be fair: you can still carve a plank out of a log even without a proper axe, just a knife or something. It will take much longer, but it’s still totally doable.

And produce way fewer usable planks, and way more sawdust. But one of the larger issues with C:DDA is the fact that there have already been several ways multi-use items are implemented, such that it’s very easy to, for example, accidentally mill wheat with a rock (taking 8 hours) instead of with a quern (taking 10 minutes), just because you hit the wrong key, activated the wrong item, or didn’t notice which of the identically labeled recipes you selected.

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Given that C:DDA is a turn-based gamed, there is never any rush to do things quickly and without double-checking.
So, while I agree that it might be somewhat annoying to have multiply similar recipes, it’s hardly a major UI problem.

While I fully agree with that, please keep in mind that some might have Realtime turn progression turned on, which means that there might be a reason to actually do things more quickly…

When crafting?
Also, wouldn’t calling crafting menu pause the game anyway?

Yes. Realtime turn progression is a global option. While I doubt someone would go turn it on while crafting and then deactivate it right afterwards, some might play with it on the whole time, which includes crafting.

While it did pause the game in earlier versions (0.C, as an example), it didn’t the last time I’ve checked (which, admittingly, is a while ago). I’m not sure if that is/was a bug, but I assume it is intentionally.

If you’re in a menu, it will fast forward time after you leave it until it catches up with the defined value. No more “open inventory to pause time”-cheesy stuff.

I don’t mean it in a technical sense, but rather in the “how-much-longer-crafting-takes” sense.
Practically all crafts are measures in minutes, if not hours or days.
As such, I have hard time imagining in-game scenario where you want to craft, but care in the slightest about skipping a few turns due to realtime turn progression being on.

  • Play rouguelike
  • Turn on realtime turn progression
    As Reddit would say, there ain’t enough shiggy for that diggy.

As Reddit would say

I want to print and put this post on a fridge to get some second hand embarrassment everyday, and besides there is no ‘right’ way to play.

Real time turn progression exists but is not a supported way to play. It’s pretty much a proof of concept to demonstrate how bad an idea it is.
As such we do not in any way take it into account when designing features.

Oh, good to know.
It’s still a possible reason why some might rush their decicions and choose the wrong option because of that…

That’s true, but going through the recipes still takes time away, time that could be used otherwise and might be important for survival, even if it’s just one or two minutes.