For most of the items, it's fairly obvious how to do this. A pickaxe can be used on blocks that give you experience (coal, redstone, not sure if diamonds do that)... and it will self-heal, supposing it has the Mending enchantment. Swords and axes (and bows) can be used to attack mobs and receive experience that way.

But it looks as if the enchantment works on shovels, shears, and even flint&steel. I can't figure out the mechanism that would allow the enchantment to do anything. Is there some trick to this, or is it just wasted magic?


According to the Minecraft Enchanting wikia page:

When an item with the enchantment is held (main hand, offhand, or armor slots), XP orbs collected will repair the item at a rate of 2 durability per XP instead of adding the XP to the player's total. If multiple items have the enchantment, one will be chosen at random for each XP orb collected, and if the chosen item does not need repair, the XP will be added to the player's total as normal, rather than choosing another item to repair.

Thus, it looks like just having your Mending Shovel equipped while gaining EXP orbs will allow it to repair itself.

  • 1
    I don't think I realized there was an "offhand" slot. I thought that was only for the shield.
    – John O
    Dec 6 '16 at 19:10
  • @JohnO AFAIK you can put most tools in the offhand, but I don't think you can actually use them unless they are a shield. It's been a while since I've played, though, so I might be wrong about that.
    – Mage Xy
    Dec 6 '16 at 19:20

If you're on Bedrock and can't hold shovels in your offhand (Shield slot), there's not a great solution, but mending is still useful on your shovel. The key fact is that whatever tool you're holding gets the mending at the time you pick up the EXP orbs, NOT whatever tool you used to complete the job.

When you mine EXP granting ores, like coal, redstone, and lapis, stand at the greatest reachable distance you can and mine them with your pickaxe. Quickly switch to your shovel so that when you collect the orbs, you're holding the shovel.

If you have a mob farm, say from a skeleton spawner, you can slay the mob with the sword, and quickly switch to the shovel before collecting the orbs. If you have a fully automated EXP farm, you can simply stand at it collecting orbs while holding the shovel.

Additionally, any other activity that yields orbs works, too. Collect smelted items, breed mobs, trade with villagers while holding the shovel to collect the EXP orbs and it'll mend your shovel.

These things are a hassle, but mending is still worth it on your diamond+ shovel, IMO.


You can smelt sand gathered from the shovel and get EXP from that easily. Hence the shovel does yield exp, just unconventially. The same theory is applied to shears, as gaining leaves allow you to easily build an enderman farm and thus gain loads of xp, fulling mending your shears. Furthermore, we now explore the flint and steel, which is pretty hard to tackle. It might seem hard to use a flint and steel to gain xp, but flint and steel is used to ignite tnt. Hence we can apply this to nether mining, specifically for ancient debris, in which tnt is commonly used for mining. Quartz and gold, valuable resources for xp, is revealed as well, hence xp is gained from a flint and steel. Hope this helped :D


To use mending on a shovel, hold it in your hand or off-hand while getting XP.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.