One of the primary mechanics in Valheim involves setting up an operating base complete with all of your crafting needs. While my favorite base operation is getting max comfort and making it look good, crafting stations are my primary focus throughout the construction of the base.
The Smelter is one of the most valuable things you can craft in Valheim. I’d even go so far as to say that no base is complete without a Smelter. While you won’t need it like you do a Workbench or Forge, it is the next step after creating the base crafting stations.
Without this essential item, you will be swinging wooden clubs and antler tools the entire game. You can get by doing this for a long time, but before long, you will notice that if you want to progress, you need to start thinking about acquiring higher-tier metals and smelt the metal you already have. Before we continue with our complete Valheim Smelter guide, let’s see what exactly Smelter is.
What is a Smelter in Valheim?
- Ore used in Smelter – scrap iron, silver ore, tin ore, copper ore
- Ingredients for Smelter – 20x stone, 5x Surtling Cores
- Requires stations – basic Workbench
A Smelter is a machine in Valheim that can take metal ore and refine it, allowing it to be used to craft items. Each metal, made with ore, is used to make a dozen or more items. The game’s progression is marked by the type of metal you have access to, as each metal is found in a different biome.
The only exception is tin and copper, which the Forge can fuse together to create Bronze, which is more useful in the long run than either of the metals used to create it. The progression is as follows: Bronze, Iron, Silver, Black Metal, Flametal.
But before you can use any of the metal to craft items, you need to turn the unrefined ore into sheet metal. This new metal can then be used in other stations to craft everything from armor to tools to crafting station upgrades.
What Do You Need for a Smelter?
You can’t make a Smelter right away. You need to at least visit the Black Forest to get Surtling Cores. You also can’t use the Smelter until you make a pickaxe, unlocked after you defeat the first boss, Eikthyr.
This is the easiest boss, and the altar is always near the starting area, so you should happen upon it early on. You’ll likely fight Eikthyr before you even think about making a Smelter. Soon enough, you will be farming the deer for experience and drops.
Surtling Cores aren’t something you will find early on. But all you need to do is visit the Black Forest, and you can find loads of them in the Burial Chambers there. While early on in production, the scores didn’t respawn, it seems that things have changed.
This is something new I have noticed, and it has changed the way I gather those valuable cores that can also be used to make portals. Before long, you’ll be farming the cores for portals as well. Just keep in mind that although you can take the cores through portals, you cannot take metal through portals.
Coal – Rates and Acquisition
The Smelter takes 2-3 coal every thirty seconds and will put out one metal every thirty seconds as well. If you struggle to get enough coal to run the Smelter, consider making a coal farm or a Kiln. Otherwise, you’ll have to keep “accidentally” burning your food and collecting the coal.
A Kiln is ideal since you can place it at your base, and it will constantly produce coal as long as it is loaded with wood. However, keeping enough wood for the Kiln, and the Smelter, can be difficult, especially if your base is somewhere like the Mountains.
Since you need one piece of coal every 15 seconds, that means you also need that much wood. Ensuring you have around 250 wood every hour is nearly impossible. But that’s how much you’d need to constantly turn out metal. Luckily, the chances of you needing constant metal for long are low.
I usually have a Kiln at home for my primary coal and a coal farm somewhere through a portal when I run low at the base. If you visit a few Swamps, you’ll eventually run onto a fire geyser. These geysers will spawn Surtlings. The Surtlings will drop coal when they die.
You can farm them any way you like, but my favorite method is to build a trench around the geyser. If you dig down to the water, the Surtlings will die the second they hit the water. When they do, there will be coal cluttering the water, available for pickup. Keep in mind that they will not spawn unless you are nearby, but as soon as you step through the portal or approach, they will.
Placing the Smelter
To place the Smelter, all you need is to have a Workbench nearby. You don’t need a Forge, and the Workbench doesn’t need to be upgraded. The Smelter cannot be placed on wood floors but works fine on stone foundations and the ground. If you want to place it on a wood floor, you can build up the ground to meet the floor and trick the Smelter into thinking it is on the ground.
The Smelter should be vented, or it will stop working, and you will take smoke damage. I tend to place my Smelter outdoors since it is so large anyway. But if you want to place it indoors, just ensure that the smoke can escape. You don’t have to worry about the rain as it won’t affect the Smelter.
Smelter Vs Blast Furnace
The Smelter and the Blast Furnace can be confusing. I remember the first time I acquired black metal, and I tried to put it in the Smelter. For half a day, I kept the black metal in a box, unable to smelt it. The reason I couldn’t was that black metal requires a Blast Furnace. A Smelter can smelt copper, tin, silver, and iron.
But a Blast Furnace is the only station that can smelt black metal. It’s also the only station that can smelt Flametal, the metal found in the Ashlands that doesn’t have a use yet. I believe that if there is a new metal in the Mistlands that you will need the Blast Furnace to smelt it as well, but this has not been confirmed.
To make the Blast Furnace, you will need an Artisan Table, which you can’t make until you defeat Moder in the Mountains. Then all you need are Surtling Cores, stone, iron, and fine wood.
Ideal Setup for a Metal
Before you can even build a Forge, you need metal, and thus, a Smelter. I find it reduces stress to create a good setup to make metal. To start things off, clear out an area in your backyard that is large enough to house all of the items below.
I already talked about this, so I won’t go too deep this time. If you have a coal farm, that’s great, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add a Kiln too. The Kiln takes up a lot of ground space, but it isn’t tall. There is only one access point, so you only need to have the front accessible.
I find that the Smelter is most efficient if placed next to the Kiln. That way, you can run by and grab the coal and put it directly into the Smelter. The coal needs to be placed in the right side of the Smelter, so ideally, the Kiln should be placed on the right side of the Smelter.
However, make sure you leave space to walk between them because you need access to three sides of the Smelter. The right side – when looking at the Smelter – is for coal, the left side is for metal, and the front is where the processed metal falls.
This isn’t standard, but I always make some sort of portal hut to house all of my portals. It ends up looking similar to the place with the portals from Nightmare Before Christmas. I prefer to use a sign to label each portal so that I don’t have to hover over each one.
In regards to metal, I always have one portal with easy access to each type of metal. I also have one that leads to a surtling spawner. Then, I ensure that I have the materials to build a Workbench and a cart in my inventory at all times.
Since you can’t transport metal through the portal, you should find the deposits that are as close to your home as possible. Then use the cart to tote it home, using a hoe to level the ground in front of you as you do.
I always have one box next to my Kiln for wood and extra coal. Then, another box next to my Smelter that I use for all of the metal, both refined metal and ore. If you’re lucky, you’ll either need to upgrade to an iron box or need at least two regular boxes.
Nearby Work Stations
While some items don’t need to be near anything, I find it best to keep my workstations near the metal refining area. I usually build a shed to house them all with two or three walls and a roof.
The shed is large enough to contain a Forge, Workbench, Cauldron, and Artisan table, along with all of their upgrades.
This can be a challenge to make work as some of the upgrades are touchy with their placements, but it’s always worth it to take the time to make sure it is all cohesive.
Question: Can You Speed Up the Smelter By Sleeping?
Answer: If every online player is asleep, then time will pass, and the metal ore will smelt faster. You can wake up, and most, or all, of the ore that you placed in the Smelter will be ready.
Question: How Fast Does a Smelter Work?
Answer: A Smelter can produce one piece of metal every 30 seconds. So it works at a rate of 120 metal per hour if you keep coal and ore in it. This seems fast, but it isn’t easy to keep up with the coal input.
Question: Do Burial Chamber Items Respawn?
Answer: If you want to find more Surtling Cores, then you will be glad to know that the items inside them now sometimes respawn. Originally, they did not, but with recent updates, it appears to have changed. So put a portal there and don’t forget to bring materials for a cart.
Question: Does a Smelter Need a Roof?
Answer: No, a Smelter does not need a roof. It doesn’t even need any cover at all. You can place the Smelter in the ground or a stone foundation, and it will operate properly regardless of whether it is indoors or outdoors.
Question: How Do I Find Burial Chambers?
Answer: Burial Chambers are in the Black Forest. They can be difficult to find, but if you see skeletons, then you are probably near one as the skeletons often guard these chambers. The chambers look like a man-made stone structure with an entrance.
Playing Without a Smelter
Although it isn’t impossible to play without a Smelter, it would be difficult. Metal is used for almost everything mid to late game. There isn’t a reason not to use a Smelter unless you’re looking for a hook for a new YouTube series. Otherwise, make the Smelter as soon as possible because the game would not be easy if you didn’t have an Iron Pickaxe.
While you can outsmart your enemies without metal weapons or armor, there’s no getting around not using metal when it comes to tools or upgrading crafting stations. WIthout a Smelter, you are locked out of the majority of the content that Valheim has to offer, and that is a real disservice.