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Sand is one of the many specific types of soil that can be found in Dwarf Fortress. As all sand types are soils, farm plots can be built on them without need for irrigation. Sand can also be used to make glass (see below).
There are five different colors of sand – yellow, white, black, red, and plain (no color) – but their only difference is their appearance on the ground, as there is no difference between them for purposes of glassmaking. Sand typically appears in deserts and along ocean beaches, but is occasionally found in other biomes as well.
Sandy clay, sandy clay loam, sandy loam, and loamy sand are not considered sand by the game and thus cannot be used for glassmaking.
When an underground plant grows on a muddy stone floor tile (after finding an underground river or pool), the floor tile turn into a soil type appropriate to the biome - for biomes which lack soil layers altogether (such as mountains and glaciers), a random soil type will be selected, which might sometimes be sand.
When a tower-cap grows on a muddy stone floor tile (after discovering an underground river or pool) and is either trampled or cut down, the floor tile turns into a soil type appropriate to the biome. Although certain biomes lack soil layers altogether (such as mountains and glaciers), their geology data still contains at least one soil type which may be a type of sand.
Sand, unlike normal soil, is always depicted using the
~ symbols and it cannot be furrowed, thus causing unpaved sand roads to be covered in vegetation much more quickly.
Sand is used in the production of green and clear glass items at a glass furnace (crystal glass items require rock crystal in its place). To collect sand, first locate some appropriate sand tiles. They will appear as "[Color] Sand [Tile]" when inspected with the look tool. Next, set an activity zone over the sand tiles by pressing i and then designating the sand tiles as an activity zone (note that sand cannot be collected from sand walls). Once you've done this, activate sand collection by pressing s; however, this will not yet result in any sand being collected. You must build a glass furnace and activate the collect sand task. Each Dwarf collecting sand will require a bag, only one dwarf will collect sand per furnace, and no other tasks can be performed at the furnace while sand is being collected. Sand collection requires the "Item Hauling" labor.
Filled bags of sand are considered furniture, and as such require the "Furniture Hauling" labor to move. Sand bags are stored in furniture stockpiles with "sand bags" enabled. Collected sand is listed under powder on the stocks menu.
To get bags to fill with sand for your fortress, create a leather bag at a leather works or a cloth bag at a clothier's shop, or buy the bags from a caravan. To have sand bags stored near your glass furnace, create a furniture stockpile with only "sand bags" enabled (this is selected via the u key in the furniture/siege ammo submenu of the stockpile settings menu) but with all materials and quality levels still permitted. It may be useful to construct several glass furnaces so that you can have several "collect sand" jobs queued on them at the same time, which helps ensure that you have enough filled sand bags on hand to keep your glassmaker(s) supplied.
An immigrant glass maker will occasionally request glass on a sand-less map.[Verify] The best way to deal with this is to train them higher in another applicable skill to avoid moody glass makers or you can just let the dwarf die. Or you could just draft them, as a glassmaker without sand is more worthless than a Soaper. Cheating would help too: Add [SOIL_SAND] to any soil you do have, in the object raws.
Nobles will sometimes request the production of glass items on sand-free maps. The only way to fulfill that request is by cheating. Should it happen too often (it will, since it is triggered by the nobles likes), an unfortunate accident may be advisable. Another way to deal is to not have a justice system at all, which will also neutralize the hammerer (40d).