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How to upgrade your workbench in Valheim

Looking to craft a Valheim workbench? Or perhaps you've already got one built but you're trying to figure out how to upgrade it. The workbench plays an important role before you explore your vast Valheim map (opens in new tab). Sure you can use it to craft stuff, but it's also vital if you need to repair your gear or erect a makeshift shelter if you get caught away from home after dark.

Luckily, crafting one is easy. And while you might well end up with loads of them dotted around if you plan on building a decent-sized base, it's worth crafting the upgrades for at least one of them so you can unlock the higher-tier crafting recipes. Here's everything you need to know to craft and upgrade a Valheim workbench, as well as a few tips for its uses that may surprise you.

Build workbench

How to build a Valheim workbench 

To build a workbench you need Wood x10. The easiest way to acquire Wood is by collecting branches on the floor, but I recommend crafting a Stone Axe (Wood x5, Stone x4). While this takes a little longer, you can use this tool to chop down trees much faster. You'll need to build some form of shelter for your workbench, so you may as well stock up on some extra Wood in the process.

You also need to craft a Hammer (Wood x3, Stone x2), which will unlock the workbench recipe. Switch to the Hammer and click Mouse-2 to open the build menu. Select the Crafting tab, then choose the workbench and find some space on the floor to place it.

Shortly after building the workbench you're prompted to create a roof for your crafting station, so this is where your Stone Axe will come in handy. Now is the perfect time to begin building a basic wooden house. Although, if you're in a rush, you can create a tiny shelter exclusively for your workbench. Place a few Wood Walls (Wood x2 each) around the workbench, add a couple of Thatched Roof 45° tiles (Wood x2) directly above the workbench to cover it, and add a Wood Door if you like (Wood x4).

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Upgrade workbench

Valheim upgrade workbench: How to do it

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Valheim Stagbreaker war hammer

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

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Upgrading your workbench is quite straightforward, all you need to do is place specific items closeby. These are easy to spot as they're marked by a star in your crafting menu. However, you'll have to spend some time exploring to get all the materials you need to make these items. After collecting the necessary materials, you'll unlock the recipes required for each item. 

Here are all the items you need to upgrade your Valheim workbench, how to craft them, and where to find their materials:

  • Level 2: Chopping Block (Wood x10, Flint x10) - Recipe unlocked by collecting Flint, found near water.
  • Level 3: Tanning Rack (Wood x10, Flint x15, Leather Scraps x20, Deer Hide x5) - Kill a deer, often found in forests and near water.
  • Level 4: Adze (Fine Wood x10, Bronze x3) - Collect Fine Wood from Birch trees, and craft Bronze (requires a Forge).
  • Level 5: Tool Shelf (Iron x4, Fine Wood x1, Obsidian x4 - Collect Fine Wood from Birch trees, smelt Scrap Iron, and mine Obsidian in the mountains (requires a Forge).

Each of the above items count towards your workbench level. Every time you place one of them nearby, your workbench level will increase. So, if you manage to craft and place two items, your workbench will be level three. This also means that you can also upgrade your tools as you level up your crafting station, making them more durable. 

Below, you can check out specific crafting level requirements for everything available via the workbench. 

Workbench recipes

 Workbench recipes and level requirements 

Tools
ItemLevel requirement
HammerNo workbench required
Antler pickaxeWorkbench Level 1
HoeWorkbench Level 1
Stone axeNo workbench required
TankardWorkbench Level 1
TorchNo workbench required
Abyssal harpoonWorkbench Level 2

Armor
ItemLevel requirement
Rag tunicWorkbench Level 1
Rag pantsWorkbench Level 1
Deer hide capeWorkbench Level 2
Leather helmetWorkbench Level 2
Leather pantsWorkbench Level 2
Leather tunicWorkbench Level 2
Troll hide capeWorkbench Level 3
Troll leather helmetWorkbench Level 3
Troll leather pantsWorkbench Level 3
Troll leather tunicWorkbench Level 3
Wolf fur capeWorkbench Level 2
Lox capeWorkbench Level 2
Linen capeWorkbench Level 2

Weapons
ItemLevel requirement
ClubNo workbench required
Flint knifeWorkbench Level 1
Flint spearWorkbench Level 1
Crude bowWorkbench Level 1
Finewood bowWorkbench Level 1
Abyssal razorWorkbench Level 2
StagbreakerWorkbench Level 2

Shields
ItemLevel requirement
Wood shieldWorkbench Level 1
Wood tower shieldWorkbench Level 1

Arrows
ItemLevel requirement
Wood arrowWorkbench Level 1
Flinthead arrowWorkbench Level 2
Fire arrowWorkbench Level 2
Poison arrowWorkbench Level 2
Obsidian arrowWorkbench Level 3
Frost arrowWorkbench Level 4
Needle arrowWorkbench Level 4

Workbench tips

Workbench tips and tricks

Not every workbench needs a shelter! It just depends what you need a workbench for. In order to build items within the workbench interface, you'll need a shelter. However, if you're just trying to throw up something with your hammer, you'll also need a workbench, but just in the vicinity. Don't waste the wood on walls and a roof if you don't need to. 

Hide those unsightly workbenches. If you're just trying to expand your building range but don't want unsightly excess workbenches ruining your perfect Viking village, whip out the pickaxe and dig a shallow hole. Throw a workbench down there, level out the surface around it, and patch it up with a little flooring. Advanced hoe use will even allow you to 'bury' the floor if you're going for an extra natural look. It's a bit finnicky, but possible!

Take a workbench on the go in the early game for easy wood. It doesn't sound very sensible, but chances are you'll bump into a bunch of old structures in your starting zone. You can chop them down for a lot of wood... or, just plop down a workbench and middle-click to instantly reduce them into resources. 

You can build outside the workbench zone. You'll see the dotted line that appears around the radius of your workbench, but you can build beyond it. As long as your feet are within the circle, you can construct objects outside of the circle. Upgrading your hammer will extend your construction reach further, too.

Unlooted or discarded items won't despawn with a workbench nearby. There might be occasions where you wish you had a bit more inventory space and the only solution might be to discard one thing to pick up another. But as long as a workbench is nearby, items on the ground shouldn't despawn.

Enemies won't spawn within the radius of a workbench. This can be super handy if you have a large fenced-off area around your base. Even Greylings can do a lot of damage to your property if they go unnoticed, so making sure the entire area is covered—with absolutely no gaps—by the building radius of a workbench should ensure your home stays properly protected.

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.