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Valheim iron: How to find iron locations from muddy scrap piles and smelt iron ore explained

Make the most of your metal with our iron explainer.

Iron in Valheim is something you'll want to track down as you progress up the ladder of resources in Valheim, discover new biomes and develop your homestead.

This is one of Valheim's greatest challenges, as you need to venture far and defeat multiple bosses to even have the privilege of mining it.

We're going to explain why Iron is so useful, how to find Iron locations in Valheim, and what items you should craft once you've smelted your own supply.

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Cover image for YouTube video19 Beginner's Tips to Get You Started in Valheim - Valheim Beginners Guide Tips & Tricks PC Gameplay
19 Beginner's Tips to Get You Started in Valheim

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Iron in Valheim explained

Players will start to see the importance of Iron in Valheim after they craft Bronze tools and armour. After beating the first boss Eikthyr, players will receive the means to craft an Antler Pickaxe and with it, they can mine ores.

Found in The Black Forest biome, Tin and Copper are the first resources you can mine. When they are smelted and combined, they produce Bronze. Using a forge, you can melt Bronze to craft powerful weapons, tools and armour.

These items are sturdy and will serve you well up until you defeat the game's second boss The Elder, who is the overlord of The Black Forest biome.

But once that's done, you'll need to head to the Swamp biome to find locked Sunken Crypts, which make use of the Swamp Keys that The Elder drops. Bronze doesn't really cut it against the onslaught of Draugr, poisonous Blobs and fiery Surtlings ready to ruin your day, so you'll want Iron as soon as you get here.

Having Iron lets you craft better weapons, armour and tools that will make your life far more efficient in Valheim, and keep you defended from all manner of evil beasts and environmental hazards. But beyond the defensive and offensive capabilities of Iron weapons, tools and armour, Iron is also useful because it allows you to craft stone buildings and the Stonecutter.

The Stonecutter lets players craft stone building assets, replacing wood as a building material, and levelling up the safety of your homestead, protecting you from the intermittent hordes of enemies that try to raid your home.

Scrap iron locations: Where to find scrap iron from muddy scrap iron in Valheim

Before we craft Iron, we need to find Scrap Iron. To find Scrap Iron, we need to find Muddy Scrap Piles. To find Muddy Scrap Piles, we need to find Sunken Crypts. To find Sunken Crypts, we need to be in the Swamp biome.

Open up your map and look around to see if you've stumbled into any muddy-looking areas tinged with brown. You can tell it's a Swamp biome if you hover your cursor over it, as the name of the biome will appear in the top right of the map screen.

Every world is procedural in Valheim, so you're just going to have to explore until you find a Swamp biome before you can proceed. Once you've found one, put your Swamp Keys that you got from defeating The Elder in your inventory and explore.

You now need to get lucky and find a Sunken Crypt. Like the hovels in The Black Forest, they're easy to spot, and signposted by green flames, enemies and a reinforced gate. Once you find one, simply approach the door and unlock it with the Swamp Key.

You'll enter a flooded underground dungeon full of enemies. Look around until you find round deposits, sometimes with skulls in them.

If you hover your cursor over them you should see "Muddy Scrap Piles" appear, at which point you know you've found one. Take out your Antler or Bronze Pickaxe and whack the deposit until it breaks, and you'll retrieve Scrap Iron.

Remember that you aren't able to teleport precious metals, so you'll need to make your way home on foot or by boat once you've got a stack in your inventory. Alternatively, you could bring the materials with you to create a Smelter and a Forge at the Sunken Crypt, but it's not at all safe - monsters will quickly destroy anything you build and make your life misery.

How to smelt Iron in Valheim

Now that you've got your Scrap Iron at your home base, you'll need to build a Smelter and a Charcoal Kiln to work it.

You should already have one as you need it to create Bronze, but if not, you can use the Hammer's right-click function to build them.

  • Smelter Recipe: Stone x 20, Surtling Core x 5
  • Charcoal Kiln Recipe: Stone x 20, Surtling Core x 5

Stone is found randomly on the ground and Surtling Cores are found in the dungeon hovels in The Black Forest. Again, you should have these resources already if you're trying to smelt Iron.

Once you've got the two main machines, you need to stuff Wood into the Charcoal Kiln to create Coal. Take the Coal and put it in one side of the Smelter, and then put the Scrap Iron in the other side.

After some time, the Smelter will spit out bars of worked Iron for you to use. Once you've loaded up the Smelter with both resources, you can go to sleep to speed up the process, if it's nighttime.

How to farm Iron in Valheim

There's no easy way to farm Iron in Valheim. The amount of Iron you can find is dependent on the amount of Sunken Crypts you can find and by proxy the number of Swamp biomes in your procedurally generated map. However, one thing you should do is stock up on Swamp Keys by killing The Elder boss multiple times, so that you can open the crypts when you find them.

The best thing you can do to maximise your Iron profit is to pilfer all of the Muddy Scrap Piles from the crypts that you find and return home with multiple stacks where possible. You can use the storage compartment in your boat to offload the weight from your inventory, if necessary. Travel light to Sunken Crypts so you can make the most of them!

What is Iron used for in Valheim, and the best Iron items to craft explained

The main benefit of Iron is that you can use it to craft upgraded versions of the weapons, tools and armour you're likely already using. Iron items will let you survive longer in battle, deal more damage against enemies and harvest resources with greater efficiency. This is very important as you start to dig into the tougher biomes like the Swamp, which is full of ruthless enemies and difficult resources.

The Iron Scale Mail should be your first priority, as it provides a whopping 14 armour, nearly double that of the Bronze cuirass which precedes it. And if you're going to pick up an Iron weapon, consider the Ancient Bark Spear, which deals 55 base Pierce damage, and can be thrown, making it very versatile in combat.

The Banded Shield can't hurt either - it's a smaller, rounded shield that is great for parrying enemies and blocking dangerous attacks. The first tool you should grab with your Iron is the Iron Pickaxe, which is the best in the game at present. With a higher durability rating, it will be so much more efficient when mining resources in the wild.

Beyond the statistical benefits of Iron, smelting the resource also lets you access the Stonecutter recipe, so you can craft a station that lets you create stone building assets. This is a big step up from flimsy wood and will provide your homestead with some much-needed fortification.

Excess Iron will also let you craft the Forge Toolrack and the Smith's Anvil, upgrade stations for the Forge that let you upgrade weapons, tools and armour to a higher level.

Iron is also part of the Reinforced Chest recipe, which has eight more storage slots than your typical Wooden Chest. You'll also need it to craft a Personal Chest, which is great if you don't trust your teammates with your hard-earned resources.