Valheim: Where to find iron | How to mine and smelt scrap iron

By Rebecca Jones
15 March 2021 12:15 GMT

Iron is one of the most versatile resources in Valheim. It’s used in a huge number of crafting projects, from armour and weapon sets to tools and base building.

You may be surprised, then, that you can’t get hold of any until the mid-game, and even then it’s not particularly obvious where to look for it.

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Read on for everything you need to know to find, mine, and smelt scrap iron into pure iron.

Where to find iron in Valheim

Most metals in Valheim are mined as ores from natural deposits. Things work slightly different in the case of iron, however.

For whatever reason, there are no iron ore deposits in Valheim. Instead, you dig scrap iron pieces out of muddy scrap piles.

These are found exclusively in Sunken Crypts within the Swamp biome — which means you can’t even get close to them until you defeat the second boss and collect the Swamp Key.

Fortunately, once you get access to the Crypts, scrap iron is ubiquitous. Muddy scrap piles are the primary and most reliable source of it, but you can also loot the chests you find in the Crypts for a chance at getting a few more pieces.

After you defeat the third boss, Bonemass, and collect the Wishbone, you’ll be able to use it to search for muddy scrap piles elsewhere in the Swamp. However, this isn’t as quick or reliable as just searching for them in the Sunken Crypts.

How to mine iron

Despite the superficial differences, you still mine iron like any other metal resource in Valheim. You’ll need to take a pickaxe to those muddy scrap piles to dig out the scrap iron and other resources contained within.

Like a lot of things in the Swamp, this is pretty gross if you think about it. Just how long has that mud been solidifying for you to literally need a pickaxe to get through it? For that matter, why are these muddy scrap piles full of pre-worked scrap iron and leather scraps, and also withered bones?

Unfortunately, the drop rate for muddy scrap piles is pretty low. You’ve only got a 25% chance of digging anything of use out of the muck. On the bright side, iron is the most common drop within that. But you’re going to need a lot of it going forward, so it’s best to just roll up your sleeves and get mining as soon as you enter the Crypts.

How to smelt pure iron in Valheim

Like most metal resources in Valheim, iron isn’t much use to you in its raw form. To turn it into something you can actually work with, you’re going to need a smelter.

Smelters can be constructed in your home base, where they need to be placed near a workbench. You’ll unlock the ability to craft the smelter the first time you collect a Surtling core. Progressing through the game, you should encounter Surtling cores somewhere between the first and second bosses, so you’ll have some by the time you can get hold of iron.

Other than your five Surtling Cores, the only thing you need to construct a smelter is 20 pieces of stone. Fortunately, stone is really easy to find in Valheim from the start, so that shouldn’t be an obstacle.

You also need coal to heat the smelter in order to produce purified metals. Coal can be obtained in a couple of ways. Carelessly burning food will leave you with a piece of coal as your consolation prize. However, you’re better off burning wood in a dedicated charcoal kiln to produce coal.

Once your workshop is in place, you can feed scrap iron into the smelter. It’ll take about 30 seconds (and approximately two pieces of coal) to produce a bar of purified iron.

Unlike turning copper into bronze, there’s no next step after smelting iron. What comes out of the smelter is a craftable resource you can start using straight away.

Iron crafting recipes

Iron has many uses in Valheim, from crafting some of the best mid-game weapons and armour to improving your base’s building capacities — and even making the place look nicer.

Below is a full table of recipes in Valheim which use iron:

WeaponsArmourToolsBase buildingCrafting tables
Ancient bark spearIron greavesIron axeIron gateBlast furnace
Banded shieldIron helmetIron nailsPersonal chestForge toolrack
BattleaxeIron scale mailIron pickaxeReinforced chestSmith's anvil
Huntsman bowPadded cuirassStanding green-burning iron torchStonecutter
Iron atgeirPadded greavesStanding iron torchTool shelf
Iron macePadded helmetWood iron beam
Iron sledgeWood iron pole
Iron sword
Iron tower shield
Ironhead arrow
Porcupine
Serpent scale shield
Silver sword

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