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Valheim guide: How to unlock and craft a pickaxe

First, defeat Eikthyr

At the beginning of Valheim, there isn’t much you can craft. While our early game survival guide will help you get through the opening of the game, you’ll need specialized items to forge ahead. One of the first major tools you can unlock is the antler pickaxe, which opens you up to mining, smelting, and more.

In this Valheim guide, we’ll show you how to unlock the recipe for the pickaxe. Then we’ll explain how to craft the pickaxe and what you can do once you own one.

How to unlock the pickaxe

As you progress through the world of Valheim, new experiences and materials unlock your past memories, giving you access to more craftable items. To unlock the pickaxe, you need to complete one of game’s earliest challenges: summoning and defeating Eikthyr, Valheim’s first boss.

A deer god head on a stone slab in Valheim
Defeating Eikthyr lets you craft your first pickaxe
Image: Iron Gate Studio/Coffee Stain Publishing via Polygon

When you defeat Eikthyr, it’ll drop a crucial item: hard antlers. Upon receiving that item, you’ll remember the crafting recipe for the antler pickaxe. With those items in hand, you can head back to any workbench to craft a pickaxe.

How to craft a pickaxe

Once you have hard antlers, the rest of the pickaxe recipe is simple. Here’s what you need to craft the antler pickaxe:

  • Wood 10x
  • Hard antlers 1x

Other than defeating Eikthyr, there are no other requirements to craft your first pickaxe. Once you have it, you can begin breaking down rocks and mining the earth.

A crafting screen for the antler pickaxe
You can even use the pickaxe to fight
Image: Iron Gate Studio/Coffee Stain Publishing via Polygon

The antler pickaxe is a two-handed tool, which means you can’t carry another tool like a torch or shield while holding it. As your first pickaxe, it’ll help you break down large rocks so you can gather stones that way instead of searching for them.

Your helpful guide Hugin will also will inform you that the pickaxe can be used to mine for copper in the ground and tin. Once you come across any of these deposits, a message will pop up letting you know you’re near one. It’s best to use map markers to keep track of these places.

Raw ore isn’t good on its own, however. You’ll need to learn how to use a smelter, and then work that material in a forge. Not only that, but to make a smelter, you’ll need to figure out how to find surtling cores, which Hugin cryptically informs you are somewhere in the dark places beneath the earth.