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How to find and mine iron in Valheim

Valheim iron
(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Looking for a way to get Valheim iron? It's not at all obvious how to find this valuable resource and you're going to need a bit of preparation before you head out in search of it. But if you're ready to step into the Iron Age, you'll need to locate a swamp biome on your Valheim map and find some way of hauling it to safety where you can smelt it.

If all of that sounds like a lot of effort, it's more than worth it as you'll find all kinds of uses for Valheim iron. It can be used to craft some of the best Valheim armor, as well as making stronger, more durable tools and structures. But like copper or tin, you can't carry iron ore through Valheim portals so if nothing else, it's a great excuse to find your sea legs and put that longship to work. Here's what you need to know about Valheim iron.

Location

Valheim iron ore: Where to find and mine the precious resource

Before you can begin crafting shiny axes and longswords, you need to get your hands on some scrap iron. This material is essentially just iron ore, and it can be found in Muddy Scrap Piles. These deposits can be mined in the Sunken Crypts in the Swamp region. Visiting these biomes isn't exactly a walk in the park, and you'll need to keep your eyes peeled for hostile mobs. That said, once you have a pile of scrap iron safely nestled in your inventory, you'll see that was worth the treacherous journey.

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Unfortunately, I can't point you to the exact location of this zone, as Valheim's procedurally-generated world is different for everyone. However, the Swamp is a darker area that will be displayed as a named region on your map after you discover it (pictured below). The Sunken Crypts are stone structures with green torches outside. 

To access the Sunken Crypts, you first need to score a Swamp Key. These drop when you beat a Valheim boss called The Elder. You can find this scary tree-like creature in the Black Forest, but you'll need a set of specific items to beat it, including tough armor and flame arrows before taking on this brute.

After that gruelling fight, with the Swamp Key in hand, enter the Sunken Crypts and search for Muddy Scrap Piles. Use a pickaxe to mine these deposits for scrap iron. It's also worth checking the chests in the crypts as they often contain more materials, including more scrap iron. Once you've got a stash of this material in your inventory, you need to smelt it to create iron bars.

Smelting

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Valheim scrap iron: Let's get smelting

Once you have your smelter (stone x20 and surtling core x5) up and running, you can begin using coal to smelt copper, tin, iron, and silver. Just remember that you'll need two units of coal per bar. One unit of scrap iron will create one unit of iron when smelted.

Consider how you'd like to spend your reserve of iron, rather than crafting something straight away. If you're keen to take on more bosses, iron weapons and armour are your best bet. However, if you'd rather improve your base, investing in a stonecutter (wood x10, iron x2, stone x4) is worthwhile. This station can be placed near a workbench, so you can begin building stone structures.

Crafting

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Valheim iron: How to craft an iron pickaxe

While the antler pickaxe is a handy beginner tool, you need to craft an iron pickaxe to begin mining resources like obsidian and silver. If you're planning a trip to the Mountains biome anytime soon, don't leave without one. You can mine every type of ore using your iron pickaxe, making it one of the most valuable tools in the game. Here's how to craft an iron pickaxe in Valheim:

  • Equipment: workbench, forge, smelter.
  • Core Wood x3: Chop down Pine trees in the Black Forest.
  • Iron x20

How to craft a Valheim Iron Sledge

If you like the Stagbreaker weapon, you're going to love the Iron Sledge for its devastating AoE smash effect which makes short work of nearby enemies—even if they happen to be behind a wall in a crypt. The Iron Sledge isn't quite as easy to craft as its early-game counterpart though and you're going to need to be prepared to venture into the swamp to get much of what's required.

  • Equipment: workbench, Forge (level 2), Smelter
  • Ancient Bark x10: Chop down trees in the swamp.
  • Iron x 30
  • Ymir flesh x4: Buy from the trader for 120 coins.
  • Draugr Elite trophy x1: Kill Draugr Elites until one drops. These are almost always present at Draugr spawners.

How to craft a Valheim iron gate

As you defeat more Valheim bosses, you'll need to build stronger defenses to protect your home from enemies. Once you're able to smelt iron, you can build an iron gate to keep pesky greydwarfs, necks, and other creatures away from your prized chests. Here's what you need to craft an iron gate in Valheim:

  • Equipment: workbench, forge, smelter.
  • Iron x4

Fun fact: Iron Gate Studios also happens to be the name of the developer that makes Valheim. Chris spoke to the devs recently and they say that "the game's success is 'quite incredible and very humbling."

Here are all the items you can craft with iron:

  • Iron atgeir
  • Iron axe
  • Iron pickaxe 
  • Battleaxe
  • Huntsman bow
  • Ironhead arrow
  • Iron sword
  • Iron longsword
  • Iron helmet
  • Iron scale mail 
  • Iron greaves
  • Iron tower shield
  • Iron nails
  • Iron mace
  • Banded shield

You'll also unlock these iron building recipes:

  • Stonecutter
  • Smith's anvil
  • Forge toolrack
  • Wood iron pole
  • Wood iron beam
  • Iron gate
  • Reinforced chest
  • Personal chest
  • Standing iron torch

As PC Gamer's guides writer, Emma is usually juggling several games at once. She loves competitive first-person shooters like CS:GO and Call of Duty, but she always has time for a few rounds of Hearthstone. She's happiest when she's rescuing pugs in Spelunky 2.