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How to get iron nuggets, axe, and shovel early on in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

You'll need these essential items to build your island paradise.

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In Animal Crossing New Horizons, players are in a constant cycle of destroying and rebuilding to keep up with the available crafting features and the numerous requests from Resident Services. Early in the game, certain materials are scarce. Iron nuggets, which are needed to build your island's shop, amenities, and upgrade tools, are nearly impossible to find. That is unless you have the right tools for the job: an axe and shovel. We're breaking down how to get all these things below.

To get the proper tools, you'll need to build them via your DIY bench. Before going on the hunt for any materials involved, make sure that you've unlocked the corresponding recipes. You can also opt to simply buy an axe or shovel from Timmy, who sells both under 'miscellaneous' in his Resident Services shop.

How do you get an axe in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

Before you can begin your hunt for iron nuggets, you need to acquire the proper tools. A flimsy axe can be made by combining five branches and a stone. Branches can be found by shaking any nearby tree. Shake the closest tree enough times, and it should release between three and seven branches. Finding stones can be a matter of chance. Walk past nearby light grey boulders; sometimes, you'll see a much smaller rock beside it, which can be picked up and added to your inventory. That's a stone.

A boy and his branches


You can now return to a nearby DIY bench to craft a flimsy axe. Be warned: The flimsy axe will break after 30 uses.

Now that you have your trusty axe, you can best any tree, allowing you to harvest them for wood, softwood, and hardwood. Additionally, you can also harvest those grey boulders to obtain all sorts of goodies.

If you have a DIY plan for a Stone Axe, that can be built using your flimsy axe and three pieces of wood. A regular axe can be crafted using the stone axe, three more pieces of wood, and an iron nugget.

How do you get a shovel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

The second tool you can use to harvest iron nuggets is a shovel. To build a flimsy shovel, you'll need five pieces of hardwood, which can be obtained by hitting trees with an axe. Hardwood is distinguishable from other woods for being exceptionally darker than either of its wooden contemporaries.

Once you have the shovel, you can harvest fossils from ground-based x marks, bury some mischievous pitfall traps, and remove tree stumps. Similar to the axe, the shovel can be used to harvest grey boulders.

If you have the DIY plan, your shovel can be upgraded by combing your flimsy shovel with an iron nugget.

Where do you find iron nuggets in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

Iron nuggets are charcoal-colored items that you might use in crafting a cast iron pan or creating your first DIY Workbench, both of which require only a couple. (You'll eventually be asked to assist in opening a store for Timmy and Tommy, which will require 30 iron nuggets.)

Iron nuggets are found by repeatedly hitting large light grey boulders with either a shovel or an axe. Each boulder you encounter has a chance to contain any number of nuggets. Some boulders will be flush with iron nuggets; others might contain just one or two.


Unfortunately, the boulders native to your island contain a limited number of materials each day. Like other assets, they'll reset at midnight, but their limited availability might make it difficult to collect enough in a timely fashion. If you're having trouble collecting them, try purchasing a Nook Ticket via the Nook Shop in Resident Services. It should be available once you unlock Nook Miles+ on Day 2. Take the ticket to Orville at Dodo Airlines to partake in a Mystery Tour island, where you can harvest a new selection of boulders.

If you still don't have enough, try joining a friend's island. They should have plenty of boulders to spare!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available for Nintendo Switch.

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