/Valheim Workbench Upgrades – How To Enhance Your Crafting Station To Level 5
Find good places to keep your Workbench improvements; as long as their within a certain radius, they'll work with your bench (so maybe don't leave them in the way like we did).

Valheim Workbench Upgrades – How To Enhance Your Crafting Station To Level 5

The Workbench in Valheim is more like your crafting workhorse. It’s the first crafting table you’ll build when you start to establish your viking base, and it remains essential all the way through the game, allowing you to craft key items like arrows and to construct buildings even after you’ve moved on to higher-level materials. The Workbench is one of the first things you’ll craft, but upgrading it will take some work–and unlock some key items you’ll need along the way.

Here’s everything you need to know to get your Workbench going, including some requirements that might not be obvious right away, what it’ll cost to make, and what benefits it’ll give you as you explore Valheim.

We’ve got even more Valheim coverage so be sure to check out our guides for crafting armor, hunting down Iron, and beating The Elder.

Workbench Level 1

  • Cost: 10 Wood
  • Requirements: Needs a roof
  • Unlocks: Buildings, bonfire, bed, crafting stations, rag armor, wood weapons, wood shields, Antler Pickaxe, hoe, tankard

You can craft a couple of tools out of sticks and rocks when you first start Valheim, but in order to make just about anything else, you’ll need to build a Workbench. There are a few things you should keep in mind before you grab 10 pieces of wood and throw down your bench in any old spot, however.

First, having a Workbench automatically augments your hammer, allowing you to build new stuff–so just having a Workbench is an improvement you need to make. But you can’t actually craft anything at the Workbench right away, which means you can’t use it to make new weapons or armor right after you make it. In order to make anything at the bench, you need to build a roof over it, which can be an annoying extra step.

With the Workbench built, however, your Hammer will gain the ability to construct building pieces from wood. It’s pretty easy to throw up three walls and a thatch roof to create a quick tool shed around a Workbench, and in a pinch this will do. If you’re planning to build a bigger base, you might want to think a little more critically about where you want your Workbench, and the building that will surround it, to be. Then again, you can always bust everything up and move it around with your Hammer, since Valheim refunds all construction materials when you disassemble something from the Build menu.

Once you’ve crafted a Workbench, you can make all sorts of critical things, including a bed that will allow you to set a new respawn point, a bonfire that will allow you to get the critical Rested bonus, and a cooking station to make food.

You can also use any Workbench to repair anything can you craft from it, free of charge–so don’t go building a bunch of extra axes or bows once the durability of one runs out. It’s good practice to just stop by your Workbench periodically and nail that Repair button a bunch of times to make sure your gear is in tip-top shape.

To further upgrade your Workbench, you’ll need to create other key buildings within the bench’s radius.

Workbench Level 2 – Chopping Block

  • Cost: 10 Wood, 10 Flint
  • Unlocks: Deer Hide armor, Abyssal Razor, Stagbreaker, Flinthead arrows, Fire arrows, Poison arrows, Wolf Fur cape, Lox cape, Linen cape

The ability to create a Chopping Block unlocks once you find Flint, which you can snag near water. You’ll need this upgrade to get better armor and a few key weapons–including new arrow types. A Level 2 bench gets you a lot of items and while you’ll need to upgrade to reach higher-tier gear, a lot of the stuff you’ll use for most of the game requires a Chopping Block. That’s something you should keep in mind if you make multiple benches–it’s usually good to bring them up to Level 2 so you have more convenient locations for making arrows.

Find good places to keep your Workbench improvements; as long as their within a certain radius, they’ll work with your bench (so maybe don’t leave them in the way like we did).

Workbench Level 3 – Tanning Rack

  • Cost: 10 Wood, 15 Flint, 5 Deer Hide, 20 Leather Scraps
  • Unlocks: Troll Hide armor, Obsidian arrows

The Tanning Rack is the last major upgrade to your Workbench for making armor. After this upgrade, you’ll move on to making metal armor at a Forge, but don’t sleep on Troll Hide, which can be very helpful in dealing with the Black Forest and starting to venture into Swamps.

Workbench Level 4 – Adze

  • Cost: 10 Fine Wood, 3 Bronze
  • Requirements: Forge (within radius)
  • Unlocks: Frost arrow, Needle arrow

You won’t be able to make an Adze until you defeat Eikthyr, craft the Antler Pickaxe, and start mining Tin and Copper. You’ll also need a Forge, so make sure to build it within the radius of your Workbench, so that you can also build your Adze. There aren’t too many things you need the Level 4 Workbench to build, but it will allow you to continue to upgrade your items.

Be sure to leave yourself wall space near your workbench to craft a Tool Shelf.
Be sure to leave yourself wall space near your workbench to craft a Tool Shelf.

Workbench Level 5 – Tool Shelf

  • Cost: 1 Fine Wood, 4 Iron, 4 Obsidian
  • Requirements: Wall space near Workbench
  • Unlocks: Equipment upgrades

The final upgrade for the Workbench doesn’t unlock much in the way of new items, but it is essential to keep upgrading your various other items and tools. To unlock it, you’ll need to build a Tool Shelf, which goes on the wall near the Workbench, so make sure you’ve left enough space in your building to place one. This last upgrade also requires gathering Obsidian, which is only found in the Mountain biome. The cold Mountain weather will kill you if you don’t make Frost Resist potions, so keep that in mind. You’ll also need an Iron Pickaxe to mine Obsidian, but it’s relatively easy to find once you start climbing into Mountains.

Other Workbench Tips

Not Every Workbench Needs A Roof

Especially as you advance into the game, you’ll start to expand your base and venture out into the world to make additional outposts, especially as you start to find Iron in distant Swamp biomes. Workbenches are essential to expanding bases and outposts, but if a Workbench isn’t your main one where you’ll be doing most of your crafting work, don’t bother upgrading it. You can get most things done with a base-level Workbench when it comes to building. If you’re not intending to craft at a particular Workbench, you don’t need to bother throwing a roof over it, so save yourself the hassle.

Put Workbenches Near The Edges Of Your Base

Enemies won’t spawn within the radius of a Workbench, so you can use benches near the edges of your base as extra defense. You’ll want to be sure to put the Workbenches away from where big enemies like trolls might smash them, but coupled with a moat and other defenses, a Workbench near the border of your territory can help to keep it a little more clear.

You Don’t Have To Build Inside The Workbench Radius

Yes, Workbenches create a radius around themselves that allows for building, but that doesn’t mean your buildings must be inside that radius. You can actually add stuff outside of the ring, provided you’re standing inside it. That’s useful to know when you’re trying to make repairs on certain structures or vehicles–namely boats.

If you're stuck with lower-level armor and weapons, you can still get a lot of utility out of it by using the Upgrade tab. Even Rag and Deer Hide armor can be pretty useful when it's upgraded.
If you’re stuck with lower-level armor and weapons, you can still get a lot of utility out of it by using the Upgrade tab. Even Rag and Deer Hide armor can be pretty useful when it’s upgraded.

Don’t Sleep On Upgrading Your Gear

Unlocking new recipes and climbing the tech tree is nice, but note that your Workbench will allow you to upgrade things you already own, often pretty significantly and at a lower cost than building all new things. You can get far in the world by continually upgrading your lower-level weapons and armor, and if you’ve got the resources from fighting early-game enemies especially, it’s worth it to do so. Even upgrading tools can be useful over the long term since it’ll increase their durability, meaning you’ll be able to do more out in the world before returning to your Workbench to repair them. It can be easy to ignore the Upgrade tab on your Workbench, but amping up your gear can help you stay alive longer and brave tougher biomes even before you get higher-tier armor and weapons.

Use Workbenches To Quickly Dismantle Ruined Buildings

A useful early tip is to build your base on a ruined village or town you might come across, since it’ll give you a cheaper, quicker way to get some structures created while you’re advancing up the Valheim tech trees and getting acquainted with the game. These villages are also great quick sources for resources, since you can repurpose the wood in a building you don’t want to build one you do. Don’t bother chopping away at a building you’re trying to level for wood, though–instead, whip up a quick Workbench next to the building and use your hammer to dismantle it nearly instantly. It’ll save your axe and get the job done much more quickly.

Make Boat Repair Stations For Your Adventures

Before long, you’ll probably want to start exploring your Valheim world to go in search of new biomes and new materials to advance your viking. To do that, you’re going to need to build a boat. The good news is that you can cobble together a raft with low-level resources, but you’ll still need a Workbench near water to build it. Making a small boathouse near where you intend to land your craft is actually a good idea, however, since boats can be destroyed by aquatic creatures or smashing them into underwater rocks too often, and the only way to repair them is with a nearby Workbench. As you explore, it’s a good idea to create small Workbench stations in likely spots where you intend to land your boat. That’ll allow you to repair or construct new craft if you need to, while also giving you semi-permanent waypoints where you can build bonfires and other useful items to help make exploring easier.

Now Playing: The Valheim Viking Guide For Beginners

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.