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Your first crafting

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As the game's name suggests, crafting is core to Minecraft. While there are a small number of items that can be crafted directly from the inventory, a crafting table is required to craft tools and most other items in the game. The crafting table will be your main asset throughout the game.

 
To make your crafting table, first open the inventory and pick up the logs you should have collected from trees. Place a log into the crafting area to obtain 4 wooden planks.
 
The planks will be different colors depending on what sort of wood you have. Different types of wood don't stack together, but all work the same. With a couple of exceptions (slabs, stairs) you can mix and match different planks when crafting. In particular, sticks don't care what sort of wood they came from, for they all stack together.
 
As you convert your first logs to planks you may want to consider saving some logs for later. Usually, 3-4 logs' worth of planks will be enough to get started. In particular, you want to save logs to make charcoal later on.
 
Then, take four of your newly crafted planks and arrange them like so to make a crafting table:
 
You should see this:

Return to the world view and walk to a spot you think appropriate. Select your newly crafted crafting table and place it. Now you can get crafting some more complex blocks and items!
 
Tip: Anything that you can craft in your inventory crafting space, you can also craft in the crafting table.