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How To Collect Iron Nuggets in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

How To Collect Iron Nuggets in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Another sunny day on your Animal Crossing island promises you new and exciting experiences. However, Tom Nook is in desperate need of iron ore, and you have no idea how to find it!

Have no fear, my fellow islanders, I will provide you the best tips to turn you into an iron nugget master.

Get the Right Tools for Collecting Iron Nuggets

Before hunting for iron nuggets, it’s important to have the right tools. You will need an axe and a shovel to get started.

Flimsy Axe Recipe

The axe is one of the first tools you get. Simply donate fish and/or insects to Tom Nook, and he will reward you with the flimsy axe recipe.

Flimsy Axe Recipe

Flimsy Shovel Recipe

The shovel recipe is quite similar to the axe. You must donate 5 fish and/or insects to Tom Nook.

Once you’ve done this, Tom will ask you to place a museum on the island. Blathers, a very wise and friendly owl, will give you the shovel recipe for your hard work.

Flimsy Shovel Recipe


Most everything in Animal Crossing: New Horizons has to be crafted, including an axe and shovel.

Craft a Flimsy Axe

A flimsy axe requires 5 tree branches and 2 stones. Both items can be found scattered on the ground of your island.

Animal Crossing Tree Branch

DIY Workbench

A DIY workbench can be created as well. I recommend using the table found in the resident services tent for efficiency purposes. You can use the workbench to create the tools you need.

Craft a Flimsy Shovel

A shovel requires 5 hardwood. To find hardwood, make your flimsy axe at the workbench, then swing your axe like a crazy lumberjack.

Once you collect the right amount of wood, you can craft a flimsy shovel at the workbench.

Animal Crossing Hard Wood

Start Collecting Iron Nuggets

Once you’ve prepped everything, you can become a proper iron miner.

Hit Rocks

You’ve no doubt seen some large gray rocks scattered across your island. These rocks are where you collect iron nuggets! Simply hit the rock with your newly crafted shovel.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You won’t get iron every time you hit the rock. Sometimes other resources jump out instead!

Hit Rocks In Animal Crossing

All Resources Found in Rocks:

  • Clay
  • Iron Nuggets
  • Stones
  • Gold Nuggets
  • Bells

Tips and Secrets for Collecting Iron Nuggets

Maintaining an island is hard work, so you’ll no doubt want some tips and tricks to help you collect resources faster.

Surround Yourself With Holes

When you hit rocks, you may have noticed that your character steps backwards. This stops you from getting all 8 resources from the rock.

Dig roughly 2-3 holes behind you to prevent this, so your character stays in place.

Surround Yourself With Holes

Fly to New Islands

You can purchase a Nook Miles ticket from a Nook Stop terminal. With this ticket, you can fly to other islands that have more rocks.

More rocks mean more chances for iron nuggets!

Ways to earn Nook Miles:

  • Try to upgrade your tent for daily tasks
  • Participate in island events
  • Visit the terminal every day
  • Talk with villagers and try to befriend them
  • Maintain a beautiful island (pick weeds)
  • Collect fish and insects

Time Travel

Rocks respawn overnight, so if Nook Miles isn’t your thing, you can wait it out. Or, if you’re really sneaky, you can change your Nintendo Switch’s date and time in system settings.

Upgrading Your Tools

Flimsy tools can be helpful in the beginning but can quickly become annoying with frequent breaks. In order to avoid remaking tools constantly, upgrade your axe and shovel.

Acquiring the Recipe

You can find a “Pretty good tools” recipe worth 3,000 Nook miles on Nooks terminal. Once you purchase it, you can upgrade both your shovel and axe.

Upgrading Your Shovel

Upgrading your shovel is quite easy if you’ve been collecting iron nuggets efficiently.

All you have to do is go to a DIY workbench and create a “shovel” with your flimsy shovel and 1 iron nugget.

Upgrading Your Shovel Animal Crossing

Upgrading Your Axe

The axe is a little trickier. If you want to keep your trees intact, be sure to select “stone axe” instead of a regular “axe.”

A regular axe chops down trees, whereas the stone axe just collects the wood. The stone axe requires 3 regular wood along with your flimsy axe.

Upgrading Your Axe Anima Crossing

TIP: Once you’re able to upgrade the store, Nook’s Cranny, you can purchase tools without the hassle of collecting resources!

If you follow these steps, you should be swimming in iron nuggets in no time. Be sure to treat your islanders with respect and create an island worth visiting!