There are so many things to build in Brunelleschi, and every harvested Resource and processed Good is used in the construction of at least one building. Many of these uses are specialized, like Olives to build an Oil Press and Groceries to build a Grocer. Most buildings are constructed out of common building materials. These come in the form of Hemp, Lumber, Sandstone and Marble and their more popular processed forms - Canvas, Boards Bricks and Slabs. Slightly less commonly used are Linen, Wool, Iron Ingots and Steel Ingots. This post will help you build your production chain from your Hemp farms up to the most common materials: Bricks and Slabs. Watch for future posts to guide you to Boards, fabrics and ingots.
The Production Chain is a self-sustaining building chain that ensures your processing buildings function. Let's look at the Bakery as a very simple example. In order to build the bakery you'll need some grain, but after the bakery is built, it needs a steady supply of grain to process into bread. It will also require an upkeep of it's construction material (grain) once a week. This means you can't just buy some grain off the market and get a working bakery, you need a grain farm or two to harvest the grain that the bakery will process. Not all buildings are this straight forward. Many processing buildings are built from 1-3 materials but process their goods from different stuff. For instance, the Barber Shop is constructed and up-kept with Glass, but it processes Herbs into Tinctures. This means you may need a steady supply of several materials in order to run your processing buildings.
Start at Hemp
Every Rank 1 Sovereign starts with a Fields and enough starter-Grain to build a few Farms. From these Farms, they can produce the Grain needed to maintain and expand their Fields district (and much more) and initiate their supply of Hemp for further building projects. Hemp doesn't unlock everything at the lower levels, but it's pretty close. Used to start the Fishing Outpost and Residential District. Hemp builds Hunting Camps, which in turn unlock the Forest Outpost, inside which Hemp builds the Logging Camps needed to harvest all the Lumber from your settlement. Hemp allows you to build a Quarry and is part of a set of materials needed to build the Stonecutter and Weaver.
For our current production chain, the most important thing Hemp can build is the Quarry. From this building comes stone-like resources. These buildings are most efficient when built in the Rank 2 Mines district, but you can build one in your Fields without ever having built another District. This building requires Hemp to build and upkeep and, because it's a harvesting building, doesn't eat anything to produce it's output. Of the 5 resources harvested by the Quarry, we're focused on Marble and Sandstone. The Marble alone is useful and will unlock Rank 2 Districts by allowing you to build the Town Square. Sandstone isn't used to build much on it's own, but Bricks made from the stuff are used to construct 36 buildings in the game.
Brickmakers are one of those blessedly simple buildings. Like the Bakery, they process the same resource as is required to construct them. This means all you need is a Sandstone-harvesting Quarry or two in order to build and run your Brickmakers. These buildings work best in the Rank 3 Plaza district, but again can be built anywhere so you never actually have to leave your Fields district to make Bricks. It should be noted several Main buildings throughout the Game. The Barbican of your R2 Main Gate district processes Bricks, as well as the Forum of your R3 Marketplace district. Later in the game the Piazza Navona, Maintenance Office, Highway Infrastructure and Curtain Walls will also process Bricks from Sandstone in addition to performing their other functions.
When considering how much of a pain building a Stonecutter is, one should remember that it's tecnhically a Rank 12 building linked to the Monument District. Also that Slabs are incredibly fancy, made of easy-to-ruin Marble, and are used to construct 34 buildings in the game. To construct, upkeep and upgrade the Stonecutter, you'll need Hemp, Marble and Lumber. That Lumber requirement means that, if you haven't yet, it's time to build that Forest Outpost. Fortunately, Hemp has already unlocked that path for you, outlined in the Start at Hemp paragraph. Once your Stonecutter is built, you'll still need those materials for upkeep, so don't stop producing Hemp, Marble or Lumber (as if you would). Producing Slabs from the Marble you're already producing is now the easy part.
Something that cannot be forgotten in Brunegame is that the game (and each lonely new Settlement) starts with 1400s technology. Further knowledge must be researched in Research Buildings in order to raise your effective tech level. High-rank buildings are more likely to be locked behind a research chain and the Stonecutter is one of them. In order to build even a level 1 Stonecutter, you must first have researched at least one level of Mathematics and then Masonry. A Level 2 Stonecutter will require two levels of Mathematics and two levels of Masonry to be researched and maintained. Fortunately, if Stonecutters are too much of a hassle early-on, the Sorting Station doesn't require a Research unlock. The Sorting Station is the default building of the Rank 2 Mines district, is constructed with Sandstone, and processes Marble into Slabs. This handy short-cut will hold you over on Slab need for a while. By the time you need more slabs than the Sorting Station can produce, you've probably built a large enough Settlement to meet the challenge of building Stonecutters.