I am acquiring emeralds. I am having the issue that if I destroy 4 double chests of paper at my location with a pickax, I can't run through it all (i.e. exchange the paper for emeralds) in time before the paper starts to disappear.

What I would like, is a mechanism to "time release" paper to my position. That is, have a redstone circuit timer, time out, and destroy chests standing above water, and have the water bring the paper to me.

The only way I can figure out how to destroy a chest (without using a pickax, I'll be too busy trading to do that) is to use TNT. Is there another way?

If using TNT is the best way I'll live with it. Was curious if there was another way that I had missed.

  • 4
    – BlaXpirit
    Sep 22, 2012 at 13:42
  • 1
    Can't crush them with pistons, TNT and fire charges are dangerous, that basically leaves dispensers, as is suggested by @BlaXpirit. If you don't watch to the end of the linked video, you should know that even Etho thinks his design is overkill, though.
    – MBraedley
    Sep 22, 2012 at 14:23
  • 2
    I'm somewhat unclear on why you need to do this. Is there a reason just opening the chest and taking the contents normally doesn't work? Sep 22, 2012 at 15:34
  • 2
    Nevermind, I figured it out. It's so you don't have to close the trading interface and you can farm emeralds. Just so you know, that's nerfed in the upcoming update. :) Sep 22, 2012 at 15:47
  • @MBraedley Ethos. Overkill. Synonyms?
    – John
    Sep 23, 2012 at 13:53

3 Answers 3


In order to drop the contents of a chest, it must be actually destroyed. The only way to destroy specific blocks using redstone devices is to use pistons to accomplish one of these things:

  • Remove the support of a block that is attached to another block.
  • Attempt to move blocks such as plants and torches, which drop instead of moving. (Interestingly enough, this property doesn't seem to relate to anything else — most such blocks are insta-break and washed away by water, but e.g. pumpkins aren't; conversely, attached blocks such as rails and trapdoors may be moved as long as the destination also has a valid attachment point.)
  • Remove the support of a falling block and drop it onto an invalid location.

Since chests have none of these properties, your idea of TNT is probably the only way to destroy chests on command.

However, given your purpose, you could probably effectively use droppers (or dispensers) instead, and have a completely reusable system with no blast shielding. A single dropper holds only 9 stacks, but you can expand its capacity by connecting it to a chest via a hopper; this is limited by the hopper's transfer rate, but multiple parallel chest/dropper systems will take care of that.

Simply connect a suitable number of droppers, facing a water stream or open shaft above you, to a single redstone clock, and adjust the period of the clock so that you get the appropriate rate of paper output. Etho's Trading Hut (thanks @BlaXpirit for the link) is an example of such a construction (made in the pre-hopper days, so it uses many dispensers alone); it's very large, but the size only depends on how much paper you want to trade.

  • There are hoppers in 1.5 so you may consider updating the answer...
    – Alvin Wong
    Mar 19, 2013 at 8:44
  • @AlvinWong Thanks for the nudge! It doesn't make a whole lot of difference in the design since hoppers have a transfer rate much lower than is desired here, but it's worth mentioning.
    – Kevin Reid
    Mar 19, 2013 at 17:47
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    @AlvinWong Of course, in 1.5 this entire question is irrelevant, because they closed the trading bug/loophole that this is trying to exploit a few versions back. Mar 19, 2013 at 18:03

You can use minecart with chest. To destroy a cart, let a skeleton shoot it


You can just use a command. If you want to do it with a command,

  1. Stand directly on the chest.
  2. Copy this command:
    /fill ~ ~ ~ ~ ~-1 ~ minecraft:air 0 hollow
  3. Press T, hold Ctrl, press V, and let go of Ctrl.

But if you don't have cheats, place and power a piston facing directly toward the chest.

Easy as pumpkin pie!

  • TNT also works. Dec 27, 2017 at 3:32

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