Players need tools and weapons to get through the game and survive in Minecraft. Without tools, players struggle to survive and rarely accomplish anything in the game. Important tasks such as mining and chopping wood that players must do to progress through the game rely heavily on the usage of tools, and for that manner, players must craft their own set of tools as early in the game as possible.
One of these tools is the shovel. Like in real life, Minecraft shovels are mainly used to dig the soil. But in the game, the shovel has other purposes as well. As there are various ways to use a shovel in the game, this article will tackle each one and discuss its specific uses.
What is a Shovel in Minecraft?
A shovel is a tool in Minecraft that is mainly used for digging. The shovel can dig ground/soil-based blocks such as sand, gravel, dirt, grass, and clay blocks. Like all the other tools in Minecraft, the shovel has a total of 6 tiers which players can craft, namely: wooden, stone, iron, golden, diamond, and netherite. The durability of each shovel will depend on the tier, with the netherite-tier being the highest. The higher the durability of the pickaxe, the faster you can dig.
How to Craft a Shovel in Minecraft?
Crafting your first shovel is pretty easy once you have the right items. All you’ll need is the right materials for crafting and a crafting table. The recipe for each tier of the shovel has the same crafting pattern but varies only on the crafting material used. This means you can use the same crafting pattern when crafting shovels of different tiers and replace the current crafting material with a different crafting material.
To craft a [wooden] shovel, you will need two sticks and one crafting block (in this case, one plank). The pattern when crafting a shovel is as follows as should be followed in the exact order; otherwise, the crafting recipe will not work:
- Open the crafting table menu and look for the 3×3 crafting grid.
- On the top row, place one plank in the center slot.
- On the middle row, place one stick in the center slot.
- On the bottom row, place one stick in the center slot to form a straight line.
- Once the image of the wooden shovel appears in the results slot, click and drag it into your inventory to complete the crafting process.
How to Use a Shovel in Minecraft?
1. For digging
The shovel’s primary purpose is for digging. The shovel can break specific blocks faster than any other tool. Shovels work well on blocks affected by gravity, such as sand and gravel, and on soil-based blocks, such as dirt and grass. When digging a block, the shovel’s durability will be reduced by 1. However, this only applies to blocks that take more than a second to dig. Any block that instantly breaks when the shovel is used will not consume the shovel’s durability. To dig blocks, equip the shovel in your hand and press the destroy/attack key or left-click mouse button to break the block and drop the item.
2. For creating dirt paths
The shovel can be used on grass, dirt, coarse dirt, rooted dirt, podzol, and mycelium blocks to create a dirt path. Dirt paths are a great way to build roads and pathways in villages. For each dirt path created, one durability is consumed on the shovel regardless of the tier. To create dirt paths, you need to equip the shovel in your hand and press the use item/place block key or right-click the mouse button on a grass or dirt block.
3. For Extinguishing campfires
Campfires are excellent light sources and cooking stations that do not extinguish even when it rains. You can cook an unlimited amount of food in a campfire without the risk of running out of fuel or having the fire put out. Although campfires may damage players and mobs that stand on top of them, you can easily place fences around them to prevent accidents.
However, campfires are not only good for cooking and providing light; they can also be used as decorative blocks. When you extinguish campfires, they leave a wood-like block that looks great when used to build bridges and rooftops. For that matter, you can quickly extinguish a campfire flame by using your shovel on one. You do not have to find a water source if you already have your shovel.
4. As a weapon
Like all the other tools in Minecraft, you can use the shovel as a weapon if you are not equipped with a sword. Although shovels do more damage to mobs than being barehanded, using them as a weapon is still not a good idea.
5. As a crafting ingredient
In Minecraft Bedrock Edition and Education Edition, wooden shovels are a vital ingredient in crafting a boat. Since shovels can act as a paddle, they were added as a requirement to craft a boat. In Minecraft Java Edition, the recipe requires you to have five planks only. But in Bedrock and Education Editions, you will need five planks and one wooden shovel.
6. As a fuel source
Wooden shovels can substitute coal, charcoal, or any other flammable material in a furnace by becoming the fuel source for smelting materials. However, just like all the other tools in Minecraft, this method only works for wooden shovels.
Any tool tier of the shovel, such as diamond, golden, or iron, is not flammable and thus cannot be used as fuel in a furnace. You can only smelt one item in the furnace per wooden shovel. Therefore, you need multiple wooden shovels to smelt more items. You can use this method when your wooden shovel is about to break or already has low durability.
7. As a smelting ingredient
Golden and iron shovels, like other tools, can be used in a furnace as an ingredient for smelting. You can obtain an iron or gold nugget by smelting an iron shovel or a golden shovel. This might not be the best way to use your shovel, especially with a tool that has stronger durability than wood or stone, but you can use this method once your shovel’s durability is low or is about to break. So instead of losing your shovel through breaking, you can try smelting them in your furnace to obtain valuable resources such as iron and gold nuggets.
8. As a distraction
Piglins are common neutral mobs that live in the Nether and are hostile to players at first sight, especially when the player is not wearing any golden armor. The piglins will not stop being hostile towards the player unless they wear any armor of gold-tier. The good news is that you can take advantage of their love for gold by throwing them a golden shovel.
So while they are attacking you, they will become distracted for a few seconds by picking up the golden shovel before placing it in their inventory, and only then will they resume attacking you. Fortunately, a few seconds is all you will need to successfully slip away while they still have their attention on the golden shovel that you dropped on the ground.