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Statues are building which can be built from the build menu under statue. They can be made using one stone at the mason's workshop, one bag of sand at a glass furnace, or three bars of metal of the same type at a metalsmith's forge (via the blacksmithing labor).
Statues have a base value of 25, compared to 10 for all other types of furniture. This makes them a good choice for raising the value of room — to create a legendary dining room, for instance, or to meet nobles' requirements for rooms of a certain value. The final value of a statue can vary greatly depending on its quality and material; a no-quality regular stone statue is worth only 25☼, whereas a masterpiece platinum statue is worth 12,000☼.
You can create a sculpture garden from a statue's query menu. Dwarves will spend time at a statue garden appreciating the statues (which generates a happy thought) and may even organize parties there. For the purposes of building appreciation, it is the overall value of the statue that is important: a base-quality platinum statue will generate a happier thought than a masterpiece stone one. Furthermore, the highest value a dwarf will perceive is 20000☼, so there is a point at which additional decorations will have no added effect.
Be careful when placing statues, because dwarves cannot move through the same square they occupy. (This will also prevent dwarves from smoothing or engraving the floor underneath a statue.) A poorly placed statue can potentially seal off parts of your fortress.
For certain types of ore, it is more efficient in terms of value and time spent to make statues from ore rather than to smelt the ore and create a statue out of the metal. Silver, gold, platinum, and aluminum statues, especially, should be made from raw ore instead of smelted bars (for instance, native gold instead of gold bars). Ore is treated as a type of stone, and making a statue out of it only requires one unit of ore at a mason's workshop, versus three bars at a metalsmith's forge plus fuel. Some ores, such as the ones listed above, have the same material value as the metal smelted from them. A statue made from such an ore has the same value as one made from the metal, and it is easier to get a high-skill mason than a high-skill blacksmith, further increasing the reasoning for ore-based statues. Other ores may seem to be not a good choice if the resulting alloy is considerably more valuable than the base metals, but the 3:1 difference in materials consumed would not even be balanced by skill between the crafters (which at most could create a 2:1 quality value difference). Sometimes, however, this is not true; for instance, Sphalerite (zinc) and Malachite (copper) each have a material value of 2, whereas brass has a material value of 7, making up for the tripled material usage in crafting metal statues. Also, there may be occasions where the quality of a single statue matters more than total value created (e.g. limited space in a room, less hauling/stockpile usage).
However, a dwarf's good thoughts do not come directly from value, but from perceived quality of items they encounter, and that quality can be affected by their preferences. Stone and metal preferences are separate, and listed in that order (ore first, metal second). It's possible for a dwarf to have a fondness for native aluminum ore but be unimpressed by that metal, and likewise a dwarf who prefers the metal won't be extra-satisfied by a statue carved from the ore. So, if a dwarf's preference is for a metal rather than an ore, or a mandate calls for it, and that's your goal, there is no substitute.
By default, ore is reserved for use for smelting. To lift this restriction, press z, then go to "stone" and enable (make green) whichever ore(s) you wish to use. To get your mason to use the ore, it must be the nearest type of stone to the mason's workshop. This technique can also be used to make high-value ore-based stone crafts at a craftsdwarf's workshop.
Statues versus mechanisms
As an alternative to building statues to increase a room's value, you can use mechanism-based structures such as gear assemblies and levers, which have a base value of 30, versus 25 for statues. An additional advantage is that these structures, unlike statues, do not block the passage of dwarves. And levers are useful for, you know, controlling stuff. Be careful exactly what you control, though. You wouldn't want to go to the trouble of boosting up the value of the Duke's room just for him to be mesmerized by his diamond-encrusted masterwork lever, pull it, and blunder into some sort of unfortunate accident, now would you?
To build high-quality levers and gear assemblies, you will need to make high-quality mechanisms, which requires a mechanic instead of a mason. By using the techniques detailed in ore-based statues, above, you can make very high-value mechanisms out of ore. (Unfortunately, this technique cannot be used to make magma-safe mechanisms from the ore of a magma-safe metal, as ores have a different melting point than metals.)
Barracks • Bedroom • Dining room • Jail • Meeting hall • Office • Sculpture garden • Tomb • Zoo
Animal trap • Anvil • Armor stand • Bed • Bin • Bucket • Cabinet • Cage • Coffin • Container • Restraint • Seat • Statue • Table • Weapon rack
Fortification • Floor • Stairs • Ramp • Wall
|Machine & Trap parts|
Axle • Gear assembly • Millstone • Screw pump • Water wheel • Windmill • Lever • Pressure plate • Trap • Support
Archery target • Kennel • Shop • Siege engine • Trade depot • Wagon • Well