This image is of a "stop". Each Stop is at levels of 16, as in 64, 48, 32, 16, 0, -16, -32, -48, and -59 (because bedrock).
The 3x3 opening seen here is actually at level 49 so if you stand on the anvil, the Y is 49. This makes a step so while you *can* walk over it to get into the borehole, your brain tells you "there is a step here" so you are less likely to do so by accident.
The first thing crafted when I reach that level is usually a workbench, seen on the bottom left. Then I drop a double-chest in the center to shove stuff temporarily. When starting out, it is "The" storage though on my server someone usually builds base storage to store the massive amount of stuff I dig up.
Furnace gets dropped in the bottom right so we can cook things as needed. I'll put in a smoker because we'll soon enough have logs. As I get iron, the stonecutter comes in handy and an anvil. Because I'm a completist jerk, I'll put in the blast furnace. Why not? And it's there to smelt.
I put those on every level so it's an expectation and available no matter what level you are on. You don't have to think about it, it's just "there." Torches are on every 3 high "support column" to light the surrounding area. Torches are also in every starter tunnel to help light things up.
At each level there are horizontal "support beams" connecting the level to the wall and a starter tunnel beyond. While the support beam is "for show to make sense to the brain", it's also a fail-safe when water spills, and as you expand the tunnel, water will inevitably spill. It *WILL* happen, so just go with it and have those fail-safes!
Each beam has a top cobble slab, cobble is cheap. Then bottom slabs on the whole thing EXCEPT I leave a gap between the stop and the starter tunnel wall. This lets you climb vines up & down to reach tunnels without having to mess with the borehole. In fact, you can climb all the way up or down on the vines, and you may have to use this as you dig down.
The Borehole is 5x5 including the 3x3 passage and surrounding walls. One space to stand on, the gap, and then the starter tunnel walls. In the back I START the level breaks with a 2 wide gap between the borehole and the wall. This lets you have a starter tunnel each side at the back. I'll show that in the next post.
This view shows the gap between the stop and the tunnel wall. I have vines growing down the sides of the support beams because "a" they will anyway eventually, and "b" it's a bit of vine sticking out if you need to grab at it in a panic falling out of strip mine tunnel. The reason for the "top" slab underneath is so if an accident happens... creeper surprises you, or you use the pick on it by mistake... SOMETHING is there. The bottom slab on the top? That prevents spawning regardless of light level. If something screws it up and there isn't enough light to prevent spawn... they can't where the bottom slab is. That, and it's back to that extra layer of "bad things happen" protection you won't get from just a single layer.
Time to break this off, but I have more pictures to show tomorrow night. I welcome questions, discussion, or suggestions on how to improve this. I'd really like to learn how to do better. :)
Ok, I skipped a night, but sharing my Minecraft time with my wife is a great delight to us both.
This is a different borehole I'm starting at a different location. I don't bother with blocks in the wall except for several issues: 1) No Holes. If I need an exit to a cave that's there, put in a door that closes behind you. Part of the idea of strip mining is that one can be chill and not sweat mobs overmuch. It *can* get dangerous, you *can* screw up and get killed with lava, falling gravel, drown in water, or nasty mobs waiting for you as you dig down. But on the whole in the hole, I try to make mob surprises difficult. Strip mining is "chill time."
Without the vines, starter mine shafts are easier to see in this photo. If I want more space (or more mineshafts), nibble away at the wall between the stops at the level you want. This would be true of both the back (the 2 wide gap) and the front (the side you see here), depending on what you want to do and what obstacles you encounter such as lava. I picked this size and arrangement as my wife and our friends go into the "are you done yet? How far down? Done yet? Can I help? Are you done yet?" loop. This is "just big enough, but no bigger until down to -59.
Towards the front wall is a gap ready for a gate that you would see hint of in other images. The next photo will show the gate with info of how I think about it.
Oh! I see I missed a bit on the wall in the last post. I use cobble to fill in the holes. Any solid blocks. Gravel? Dirt? Sand? Nope... "solid" blocks. I don't want gravity to move gravel or water blocks should you need to expand. Dirt may "hold", but it doesn't "feel" right. I replace mined out spaces with some kind of stone. While it doesn't actually make the structure more stable, it feels that way to my brain, so I do it that way. You go do your own your way. :)
Gates... I put gates in the overworld on lines that are multiples of 64, such as 0 y 0, 0 y 64, 128 y 256. Naturally, in the Nether gates could be put at 0 y 0, 0 y 8, 16 y 32. I wanted to avoid a situation where someone could put up a gate and "steal" the gates I put up, even if it was not intentional. Other people can put up gates where they want, but mostly it gets left to me as I'm so fussy about it and I build a nice Nether Nexus based off this, so they don't bother.
I build the ages 3 wide 4 high. I prefer building on odd numbers, and having it 4 high keeps it with the same proportions as the basic gate. The corners will have glowstone or shroomlight eventually, as it suits me. But a torch will do fine in a pinch.
Tilly is telling me it's time for her fortune cookie, and we gotta keep the dog happy. Until next time, and I do welcome questions and ideas on how to improve this. :)
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This view of the back of the borehole combined with the front shows a 3x3 opening on those two sides. This is to make it as easy as possible to enter and exit the borehole in those directions.
As you can see, at this point I started to expand the area "behind" the borehole. When I'm building this, my goal is "get to the bottom as quickly as possible while keeping it consistent." Once built, expand as it is natural to do so, especially if you want an area for "base rooms" such as a furnace room (not shown, but that's why I'm digging this area out) or underground farms, or whatever suits you. As you can see with the gap at 2 wide behind the borehole, I have an entry at the stop to walk on into a starter tunnel.
Oh! I should note, and as you can see here and in the next image, I do *NOT* put the cobble slab on top of that gap between the stop level and the starter tunnel wall. Doing so would make the entry only 1.5x1 instead of 2 high x 1 wide. I don't want you to have to think about it, I just want it easy for you to get in and out so you can strip mine!