Smelting Bronze in Valheim: The Project Manager’s Approach
How to organize an operation to smelt all the bronze your clan will ever need in Valheim
The craze and hype for Valheim are real. From my first day in the game, I knew I had found something truly special. And with a little bit of persuasion, I convinced one of my friends to buy the game and play alongside me. The snowball was rolling, and the rest of my friend group quickly scooped up the game.
With some advanced configuration of my internet router, I was able to convert an old laptop into a dedicated private game server for me and my friends so that we would have a persistent world regardless of who is online and playing at any given time.
We have made the world our own, exploring and building a civilization and village that grows by the day as we work toward both common and individualistic goals. We take care to share and divide up the valuable resources we extract from our world to make sure no individual player too quickly progresses through gearing stages.
After defeating the rather underwhelming first boss, we then had the tools to catapult our civilization into the age of bronze. We quickly discovered that while the Black Forest biome of the game was full of many treasures to discover, it also came with considerable risk. To face that risk, our characters needed much stronger armor, which would have to be crafted out of bronze.
Here is how to smelt all the bronze you will ever need in Valheim, even if you have ten players on your server. This technique was refined through my group’s efforts (hah, pun intended) and uses the same principles of the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) that I use as a project manager with my clients and consulting teams at work. Best of all, you don’t need a spreadsheet.
The recipe for bronze
The recipe for bronze is rather straightforward. Two Copper ore for every one tin. Smelt ore from each in the smelters, and create bronze ingots at the forge. Each ingot of metal will consume two coal which is equal to two wood-fired in the kiln. Therefore, to fuel the production of bronze, it will require six processed pieces of wood to create a single bar of bronze.
Because we only need one tin for every two copper, your main goal will be to find large copper deposits and prioritize mining those. One Karve-load of tin (4 slots, 30 ore each, 120 ore total) will provide enough tin for two full mining expeditions of copper. Pro tip: You can load different types of ore into the same smelter. Production will always be first-in-first-out. I.E. you put one copper ore into the smelter first then add nine tin ore. The copper ingot will smelt first, followed by the nine tin ingots.
Initial setup requirements
At the minimum to begin this mass-scale bronze smelting operation, you want to have materials to build one smelter, one kiln, and an antler pickaxe for each member of your clan who will be mining. If you can swing it, two kilns and two smelters from the start will go a long way in speeding up and optimizing your production.
For larger scale bronze production where your goal is to fully equip and upgrade every player on your server (four players +), we create defined project roles to optimize production. For groups with over four players, consider adding additional sailors/explorers, and miners, keeping only one smelter, and one woodcutter regardless of your clan’s size.
Note: While you can freely change roles to keep things fresh, you will learn and improve (becoming more efficient at your task than someone who hasn’t done it before) if you stick with the same role until your clan has comfortably smelted all the bronze you will need for the foreseeable future.
Here are the defined roles for a mass-scale bronze-smelting operation:
The Sailor/Explorer (1+): Just as it sounds, your job is to explore the Black Forest and mark/ping the location of copper deposits. Note tin deposits where applicable, but the main focus is exploring for copper. Once you have constructed your clan’s Karve boat, you will lead mining expeditions to distant shores with the sole focus of working with your miners to fill all four inventory slots of the boat with copper ore.
Park the boat on a shore, find copper/tin, and fill the boat’s storage with the ore. Do this, and you will have 120+ copper/tin ready for smelting. If you have plenty of miners, consider scouting ahead and searching and pinging more ore for them rather than assisting with the mining itself. As the explorer, don’t pass up opportunities to raid any burial chambers you find for additional Surtling Cores that can be converted into additional smelters or kilns at the smelting outpost.
The Miner (1+): Your goal is to mine all the ore you can. Work with your sailor/explorer to plan mining expeditions to distant shores once you have exhausted the ore sources within the Black Forest Biome near your smelting outpost (mentioned below). Mine ore and work with your sailor/explorer and the rest of your clan to haul it back to your smelter after a completed mining expedition.
The Smelter (1): Your job is to process all the ore and wood that is brought to you, fire the wood in the kiln to create coal, forge bronze from your finished copper and tin ingots, and store the finished product. Each smelter will hold 10 ore and 20 coal, meaning it can fire all 10 ingots before needing to be refilled. Each bar will take 31 seconds to smelt. 10*31= 310 seconds/60 = 5.16 minutes between each fill of the smelter that you can perform a ‘flex’ role in helping mine, organize storage, woodcut, or haul ore depending on the current needs of the clan’s operation.
The woodcutter (1): The goal of the woodcutter is really quite simple. Of the four jobs, it’s the easiest but is equally important for the success of the operation. Your job as the woodcutter is to chop a lot of wood in the Black Forest and store it in a chest/in front of the kilns so that the smelter has a constant supply of coal for smelting.
After your bronze ax is crafted, your temporary job then becomes securing the fine wood necessary to create the Karve and at least two portals before returning to ordinary woodcutting.
If you deem there is a surplus of wood stored for the smelter already, consider working on building up the outpost and making sure it has a secure perimeter of spiked wooden walls to protect it from a stray troll or swarm of Graydwarves.
The smelting outpost
If you are like us, you likely settled in the Meadows where things are a lot safer and less stressful. Depending on how much you’ve built up your initial village, you probably noticed that you have depleted the trees surrounding your village for the seemingly endless demand of wood required for construction and pretty much everything else you craft in Valheim.
However, if your village is close to a large Black Forest Biome, you can most likely smelt from your village with minimal investment/additional requirements.
The goal of the smelting outpost is to create a FORTIFIED location in the Black Forest that touches the water and gives your boats access to distant shores once you have inevitably exhausted the nearby supply of localized ore. Aim for constructing two smelters and two kilns within your walls. The Black Forest Biome will provide you with all the wood you will need to fuel your kilns and smelt your bronze, even though it requires six wood per bar of bronze you will be forging.
The optimal order of upgrades as you scale your bronze-smelting operation
Forge: the first thing you will need to create with all your new copper ingots is a forge. The forge will allow you to smelt two copper and one tin ingot into bronze as well as craft Bronze Age gear. The forge should be located at your smelting outpost so you can forge the ingots you are smelting at the location of creation.
Bronze Axe for your Woodcutter: The Bronze Axe is a fine weapon upgrade, but it also servers as a powerful tool. The first goal of your woodcutter once they have their bronze ax is to chop down birch or oak trees in the meadow to get 30 fine wood to construct the next upgrade: the Karve. After securing the fine wood, work to cut normal and core wood for the kilns to continue to produce a steady stream of coal for your smelter as they smelt the stream of ore. As you find fine wood, locate an additional 40 for creating two portals.
Karve: The Karve is the first real boat you will own and sail in Valheim. It is as good for the exploration of distant islands and landmasses as it is for a powerful means of transportation for raw ore in bulk. To craft it, you will need 40 bronze nails (4 bronze ingots crafted into nails), 30 fine wood, 10 deer hide, and 20 resin. Once your clan has your Karve, the Sailor/Explorer should explore distant shores and transport the clan’s miner(s) back and forth after filling the four storage slots of the boat with ore for the smelters.
Note that stored weight within the boat currently has no effect on how the boat handles/max speed.
As a pro tip, once the boat is full of copper ore, try to have everyone mine tin (which will always be found around water in the Black Forest) to cap their remaining carry weight and maximize the profits of the mining expedition. Tin ore weighs 8 Kg VS 10 Kg per copper ore, so you can carry a little bit more on your person.
Portals: Note: ore/ingots cannot be teleported, but your clan's folk can. Setting a portal in your smelting outpost then giving your miners/sailors/explorers the other portal to setup is a great upgrade. Not only will this allow them to quickly teleport back to repair broken tools at the forge, but it will also remove the need to construct additional outposts overseas to get everyone to bed at night time.
Bronze Pickaxe: The goal of the bronze pickaxe is to speed up the rate at which you are able to mine copper. In addition to better mining speed, the bronze pickaxe also has better durability meaning you can extend your mining trips before you need to sail/teleport back. It will also be required to start mining iron once you reach the Swamp.
Cart: For a minimal bronze investment, the cart allows characters to carry unlimited weight. The goal of the cart is to haul the ore from the shore located by your smelting outpost back to the outpost itself. Your Karve will use this location to dock and unload all your hard-earned ore.
Everything else: after completing the previous upgrades and crafts, the remaining bronze will serve to benefit you and your clan! Craft new and more powerful gear to your heart’s content.
Good luck with your new bronze-smelting operation! I hope your time in Valheim is as fun as mine.