For the longest time I've been combining smaller enchantment books (e.g., sharpness I) into larger enchantment books to put on gear. I'm now in 1.12 and it doesn't seem to work anymore, it just becomes too expensive.

For my sword, I started out combining sharpness I books into II's and so on. Once I had done this for all the other sword enchantment books, I began putting them on, starting with the highest level enchantments. Right off the bat sharpness V alone cost 28 levels on a brand new sword, free of any enchantments. From there everything else was pretty much too expensive. I began to do some testing with anvils and apparently you can't combine low level books into higher books anymore because they'll just become too expensive when you're ready to put them all on your gear. Instead, you have to start out with high level books (e.g., sharpness IV) and then combine them as usual before putting them on your weapon or tool. Since when did this change and how do I go about maxing out my sword?

  • 1
    You may start out with low-level books to build one (the second) of the books to Sharpness IV. Then apply that one (2nd slot) to a "natural" Sharpness IV (in 1st slot). This should not cause the cost to skyrocket.
    – SF.
    Jul 29, 2017 at 3:16
  • 4
    Possible duplicate of Is there an optimum enchantment strategy in Minecraft?
    – pppery
    Jun 25, 2021 at 21:03

2 Answers 2


Try swapping the two items you want to combine, that often makes a big difference. I don't know why that is the case, it was reported as a bug before, but resolved as "working as intended".

  • This is because enchantments are seen as being added to the item in the first slot from the item in the second slot Aug 15, 2017 at 7:27
  • I know, but it's still not very intuitive for players. I know that it can help to swap out the items, but most other players don't. Aug 15, 2017 at 7:56
  • There are many things players don't know about that would otherwise be useful Aug 16, 2017 at 21:30

An interesting trick you can do is called an "XP-gamble" where you shift-click on the third enchantment available on an enchanting table. This costs significantly less XP and can give you multiple, high-level enchantments from an unenchanted sword instantly. The chance of this working is about 80%, and i havent tested it in 1.12 or 1.12.1 (I stick with 1.11.2 most of the time) I have successfully enchanted diamond chestplates with prot4 and unbreaking3 using this technique.

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