How to: obtain sand and save on shovels


Some would call me Tim
So I see you wanna be a pokemon trainer master minecrafter?
Wanna catch 'em all mine it all?

So let's say you need to get large amounts of sand for whatever your minecrafting need. On it's own, sand can be pretty annoying to obtain, what with it's odd desire to follow gravity every second. Not to worry though, thanks to the wonders of glitches minecraft, you can obtain large, deserts of sand with nothing more than exploitation and a pickaxe.

What you need:
1x Pickaxe (any material will work)
lots o' torches

Step 1:
Find a desert you want to clear. Deserts formed after 1.2 are best, as most sand has sandstone beneath to support it from falling. Earlier deserts will work as smooth stone supports sand beneath (but hey, we'd all rather have sandstone instead, right?)

Step 2:
Dig down on the side of the sand, so it looks sort of like this:

(click to expand)

You want easy access to the blocks beneath the sand, with at least two blocks holding up the sand.

Step 3:
Remove the lowest block supporting the sand (NOT THE ONE DIRECTLY BELOW IT) and place torches.

(click to expand)

Step 4:
Break block supporting each column of sand. Because sand can't occupy the same block as the torch, it'll break without the use of a shovel/death punch.

(click to expand)

Now pick up your torches, delicious sand, and start all over again.
Efficiency wise: instead of needing to waste 3+ uses of your shovel for each column of sand, you only need 2 uses of your pickaxe per column of sand. Saves your tools.

Step 5:
There is no step 5

*Note: This also works great for removing all that gravel in your mine. Rather than waste time digging it out of your path, place a few torches to remove.


Site Admin & Server Owner
Staff member
You also have to consider the cost of the tools as well. If you're using diamond tools, it takes three diamonds to make a pick, and only one diamond to make a shovel. Therefore, I'd rather dig twice with a shovel than hit once with a pick, looking at it from a standpoint of saving my tools/diamonds.

But, I've used this many times. It's a HUGE timesaver, and for that, it is worth it.