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Is there a way, and if so how, to be sure to enchant one generic item (sword, pickaxe, armor, box etc...) with only one enchantment? If so, will it be possible to get the maximum level of that single enchantment?

Use case

Reason for asking:

Repairing an item with an anvil costs depending on the amount of enchantments and level of enchantments the item has. Now let's consider this scenario:

We have two jobs:

  • Mining a lot of stone blocks
  • Mining important resources (diamonds / iron / gold etc...)

The ideal pickaxe for this situation would require at least:

  • Efficiency IV
  • Fortune III

Let's say you have such a pickaxe.

Mining a lot of stone blocks would destroy the durability pretty fast and repairing such a pickaxe would require a big amount of XP. The whole system is clearly inefficient.

Now assume you have two pickaxes now. And you find a way to have Efficiency IV on one and Fortune III in the other; the first one would be the one that would be repaired more often and would be pretty cheap to repair. The second one would be the one used only for very important resources and would therefore rarely need to be repaired. The second system seem more efficient for the job because:

  • It splits the enchantments for specific jobs
  • It's cheaper to repair
share|improve this question
Why do you want only one enchantment? I'd take multiple enchants over single enchants every time. – Unionhawk Aug 17 '13 at 20:37
I still am not quite understanding why 2 picks, say, Efficiency IV Unbreaking III, and Efficiency IV Unbreaking III Fortune III can't be an option. Levels are almost trivial to come by these days. – Unionhawk Aug 17 '13 at 22:04
@Unionhawk, sure they are an option. But not a cheap one. And no, in my SP world I don't have an XP farm yet so not that trivial for me :) – Shoe Aug 17 '13 at 22:12
Your question and your title don't match anymore. This seems to be more about how to control what set of enchantments you get on a tool, rather than how to get only one enchantment on a tool. – SevenSidedDie Aug 17 '13 at 22:19
@SevenSidedDie, edited to clear that out. – Shoe Aug 17 '13 at 22:23
up vote 10 down vote accepted

You can enchant books instead, which always puts only a single enchantment on it, and then use the book in the anvil to apply it to a tool or weapon. You do have to go through a lot of books to get exactly the enchantments you're looking for, and it costs extra to transfer the enchant from the book to the tool on the anvil, but what you get for the loss of efficiency is precision in having exactly the enchants you want.

Note that you can also combine enchanted books of the exact same level on the anvil to get one book that has that enchantment level +1. So, you can take two Efficienty III books, combine them, and get one Efficiency IV book as the result. In this way you can slowly gather together the pieces for your ideal set of magic tools and, with enough XP lying around to go through this XP-inefficient process, get a set of tools to your precise specs.

share|improve this answer
I know from your perspective the books are an afterthought, but they are in fact the answer to his question. It's not about the efficiency of what he wants to do, its about what he wants to do which is get one enchantment on an item guaranteed, and the way to do that is use books. I suggest you change your answer to better reflect this. – Ender Aug 17 '13 at 22:19
@Ender I misunderstood the original version of this question, thinking it was about minimising XP spent up-front. Now that it's rewritten to be about minimising repair XP, I can fix it! – SevenSidedDie Aug 17 '13 at 22:24

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