A farmer in Stardew Valley needs a good set of tools to get things done around the farm and around town. Luckily, you have a wide arsenal of different tools at your disposal, most of which can be upgraded to increase how efficient and powerful they are. You’ll start the game with only a small set, but you’ll acquire more over time and upgrade many of them in different ways.
This guide will take you through every tool you can acquire and how to upgrade it, if possible. With the recent 1.5 update, there are even more ways to power up some of your tools, and that will be covered as well.
Clint the Blacksmith
First, let’s examine the main way to upgrade tools. By visiting Clint, the blacksmith in the southeast end of town, you can upgrade the following tools: your pickaxe, your axe, your trash can, your watering can, and your hoe. The upgrades always go in this order: basic to copper, copper to steel, steel to gold, and gold to iridium. Each level cannot be skipped.
Copper upgrades cost 2,000 gold and five copper bars; steel upgrades cost 5,000g and five iron bars; gold upgrades cost 10,000g and five gold bars; and iridium upgrades cost 25,000g and five iridium bars. The trash can requires the same metal bars but half the gold for each level.
Each upgrade increases the efficiency of the tool, meaning it’ll cost less energy to use. More specific effects also apply to some tools, which will be covered in each tool’s section of this guide.
It takes two days to upgrade your tools, meaning you’ll spend one full day without it. You can turn it in one day any time before the blacksmith closes, then you’ll spend the next day without it, then the following morning, it’ll be ready for pickup.
The Volcano Forge
In the newest update, there’s an entirely new area to explore called Ginger Island, which you can access after completing the Community Center or Joja Community Development upgrades. Here, you’ll find a large volcano. On the tenth level, there is a forge that can be used to enchant your tools with special effects. This costs Cinder Shards.
You can use 20 Cinder Shards and a Prismatic Shard to add a random enchantment to a tool. Some of these enchantments increase the effect of these tools, others make them faster, some remove the energy cost of using them, and some have unique effects. They’ll be covered in each tool’s respective section of this guide.
Your pickaxe will probably be the tool you spend the most time with throughout the playthrough, remaining useful long into the later years. It’s used to break rocks, mainly in the various mines in the game. With each upgrade, it takes fewer hits to break rocks.
At certain levels, the pickaxe can be used to break more materials than before. The steel pickaxe can break those large boulders on your farm and the large rock blocking your access to the Dwarf on the first floor of the mines. The gold pickaxe can break the meteorites that sometimes land on your farm.
At the volcano forge, there are a few enchantments you can give your pickaxe. “Efficient” makes your pickaxe use no energy. “Powerful” adds an additional power level to it. Finally, “Swift” makes using your pickaxe much faster.
You hoe is mainly used to till soil so you can plant seeds to grow crops. However, it’s also used to dig up Artifact Spots (those little wiggling sticks around the valley). You can also just till random sand anywhere to find things like clay, mixed seeds, or Cave Carrots.
Upgrading your hoe increases the range it will till. The standard hoe tills one tile. The copper hoe can hoe three tiles in front of you. The steel hoe will till five lines in front of you. The gold hoe allows you to till a 3×3 square. Finally, the iridium hoe can till a 6×3 area in front of you. Hold the action button longer to increase the range.
At the volcano forge, there are five possible enchantments for the hoe:
“Archaeologist” doubles your chance of finding artifacts in Artifact Spots, while “Generous” gives you a 50% chance of finding double the items when you dig with your hoe. “Efficient” removes stamina drain, “Swift” increases the speed at which you can use your hoe, and “Reaching” increases the area of tilling to 5×5 tiles.
The watering can will be your nemesis early in the game, burning up all of your energy and requiring constant trips to refill, until you upgrade it or get some sprinklers. It’s used to water your crops, but can also be used to fill your pet’s water bowl and to solidify lava in the volcano dungeon.
The upgrades for the watering can increase its range at the same rate as the hoe, all the way up to a 6×3 grid at iridium quality. However, each upgrade also increases the amount of water it can hold, meaning you need to refill it less frequently.
The amount of water per tile also decreases with each upgrade. At the standard level, it uses one “unit” of water in the can to water one tile, whereas at iridium quality, it only uses five “units” of water from the can to water the 6×3 grid (18 total tiles).
It’s often recommended to upgrade your watering can the night before it rains, since the rain will water your crops the next day and then you can pick up your watering can the day after that.
At the volcano forge, you can add three different enchantments to a watering can. “Efficient,” as always, removes stamina drain. “Reaching” is the same as it is for the hoe, increasing the range of the watering can to a 5×5 grid. “Bottomless” is very appealing, making your watering can hold an infinite amount of water and removing the need to refill it.
The axe is used to chop trees and stumps as well as removing crops and placed objects. With each upgrade, it takes fewer hits to break stumps and chop trees down.
At the copper level, the axe can be used to chop those large stumps around your farm and grant you some hardwood. For chopping those large logs, you’ll need the steel axe. This also allows you to chop the log blocking access to the Secret Woods. The Forest and Riverlands farms also contain some bushes that can be cut down with a copper axe.
At the volcano forge, you can add four different enchantments to your axe.
“Efficient” removes any energy usage from use of your axe “Powerful” adds two power levels to it, and “Swift” makes it faster to use. “Shaving” is a unique enchantment only available to axes. It grants you three extra wood from oak, maple, pine, palm, and mahogany trees and will give you three pieces of wood when chopping down mushroom trees. It also gives you a chance at getting some extra hardwood from stumps, as well as a chance to harvest extra produce from giant crops.
The fishing rod is tacitly accepted to be one of your main tools, but you won’t start the game with it, nor will you be able to upgrade it at Clint’s. Your first fishing rod will be given to you by Willy on the second day of your file. This rod will be a Bamboo Pole, and it’s very basic.
To get a better fishing rod, you’ll need to level up your Fishing skill. At level 2, you’ll receive a letter from Willy stating that he now has a Fiberglass Rod for sale (it’s 1,800 gold). This rod lets you use bait. Then, at Fishing level 6, he’ll have an Iridium Rod for sale for 7,500g. This one lets you use both bait and tackle.
Those of you who have real trouble with the fishing mini-game can purchase the Training Rod from Willy for 25g, which is much easier to use. However, it only lets you catch common fish.
With each Fishing level, you’ll require less energy to use your rod. At levels one, four, and eight, you’ll be able to cast the line a tile further. Additionally, each level increases the following the size of your “fishing bar” in the mini-game and the minimum size of the fish you catch. Each level also decreases the max time it takes for a fish to bite your line.
There are four volcano forge enchantments for fishing rods. “Auto-Hook” automatically hooks any fish or trash that bite your line. “Efficient,” as per usual, reduces the energy cost of the fishing rod. “Master” adds an extra Fishing skill level while holding the enchanted rod. Finally, “Preserving” adds a 50% chance for bait and tackle to not be consumed on use.
There are only two scythes in the game, and the more powerful is found, rather than received by upgrading the original. Neither of them use energy.
The initial scythe is given to you as part of the starter toolset. It is used to cut down grass, weeds, and trees that are small enough. It’s also used to harvest Amaranth, Kale, and Wheat when they’re ready. If you have a silo on your farm, cutting grass gives a chance to add hay to the silo, about a 50% chance for each tile of grass cut. Scythes also work as a weak weapon, if need be.
Once you unlock the quarry, you can enter the quarry mine. Make your way through this cavern and defeat or bypass the enemies to reach the end, where you’ll find a statue that looks like a Grim Reaper. It’ll be holding the Golden Scythe, which you can just take. The Golden Scythe has a larger cutting radius than the standard scythe and has a 75% chance of harvesting hay. Additionally, it’ll inflict more damage if you decide to use it as a weapon.
If you lose the Golden Scythe, you can’t get another one. Be careful with it!
The copper pan is a fun little tool that you might not get a ton of use out of, but is fun to carry around town, just in case.
By completing the Fish Tank bundles at the Community Center, you’ll remove the glittering boulder near the mines. You can also just purchase its removal from Joja, titled “Panning” for 20,000g.
After this is done, Willy will give you a copper pan (and will sell additional ones for 2,500g in his shop).
When you see a bit of glowing or shimmering light in any body of water, you can use your copper pan to pan for ore. It doesn’t consume any energy.
When panning, you’ll find ores, gems, and other items. The amount of luck (with both daily luck and food/other buffs) you have at that moment will determine what you find. If you have the Tracker profession, you can see a small green arrow pointing to panning locations off-screen in your current area.
Amazingly, you can wear the copper pan as a hat.
Milk Pail, Shears, and the Auto-Grabber
These are two more tools that may not stay in your inventory long term, as they’re easily replaced a fair way into the game.
The milk pail allows you to gather milk from cows and goats. You can purchase them from Marnie’s Ranch for 1,000g. The Shears sell from Marnie’s shop for the same price and are used to collect wool from sheep. Both use energy and both increase your Farming skill when used.
At Farming level 10, Marnie begins selling an Auto-Grabber. This machine, when placed inside a barn or coop, will do the job of shears and milk pails, collecting wool and milk and placing them inside to retrieve like a chest. They will also collect laid eggs, duck’s feathers, and rabbit’s feet. They sell for 25,000g each. Occasionally, you can also find them in the Skull Cavern’s treasure chests.
Note, though, that milking and shearing your animals by hand increases your friendship with them, while an Auto-Grabber will not. Auto-Grabbers also do not increase your Farming skill.
You might not even recognize the last tool on this list as a tool until you see it’s upgradeable at the blacksmith. This tool is the trash can visible on your inventory screen, which is typically used to delete items without selling them.
When upgraded at Clint’s, the trash can will “reclaim” some of the value of the item. Basically, you’ll sell it for a portion of its value instead of just deleting it.
Each upgraded level reclaims more of the value of the item. For copper, you’ll reclaim 15%, for steel, you’ll reclaim 30%, for gold, you’ll reclaim 45%, and for iridium, you’ll reclaim 60% of an item’s value.
NEXT: Stardew Valley: Complete Guide And Walkthrough
- Stardew Valley
Michael is a journalist with several years of experience writing about video games, television, and social issues. He loves indie platformers, Pokémon, and Hack ‘n Slashers.
Currently playing: Animal Crossing New Horizons, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and Stardew Valley.
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