If you've attempted to craft a wooden pickaxe, you might have noticed something intriguing: it doesn't work! This is because we have a mod called Iguana's Tinker Tweaks, which encourages using Tinkers' Construct tools.
To start out, you'll need a few things from Tinkers' Construct.
4x Blank Patterns
Creating your first pickaxe
Once you have the aforementioned items, you're ready to start making some Tinkers' Construct tools! The first thing you'll need is 2+ pieces of flint. Iguana's Tinker Tweaks adds a recipe to create flint for your convenience: put three pieces of gravel in a crafting table.
Next up, you'll need to create some patterns in your Stencil Table.
Pickaxe Head Pattern
Tool Binding Pattern
Tool Rod Pattern
After you have the patterns you need, you're ready to start creating some parts in your Part Builder.
Create one of each part from the patterns you just created. The pickaxe head should be made out of flint, while the handle and tool binding can be made of either wood or bones. If you have them available, use bones; they are much more durable.
After you're done creating all of the necessary parts, you're finally ready to craft your pickaxe!
Put the parts you've made into your Tool Station like such:
Leveling up your pickaxe
Now that you've crafted your pickaxe, you might have noticed it has some interesting stats.
Here's a quick explanation:
Mining XP - After a pickaxe is crafted, it will have a given mining level based on the pickaxe head material. In the case of the flint pickaxe you've just created, the mining level is "Stone." Mining XP increases as you mine, granting more XP for more rare ores. When your mining XP reaches 100%, your pickaxe will be able to mine a tier higher.
Skill XP - Skill XP is one of the useful features of Iguana's Tinker Tweaks. Skill XP increases in a the a very similar fashion to Mining XP. However, the effects of leveling up in skill XP are very different. Every time you level up your skill level, your tool will get a random bonus (e.g. haste [mining speed], luck [fortune], durability, etc.)
Now that you understand how your pickaxe works, it's time to get mining! The initial stages of the game might feel a bit grindy, but you're going to have to mine a fair bit of stone to level up. This is a good time to start digging an underground tunnel to find ores that you'll be able to mine later.
While mining, you'll run into an inevitable problem: your pickaxe has broken! However, this is nothing to worry about, as it is easily repaired, as is every pickaxe. All you need to do to repair a tool is put it in a Tool Station with the material used for the tool head, like such:
Once your pickaxe levels up, you'll be ready to progress to the next tier.
Creating a smeltery
Once your pickaxe has reached copper mining level, you'll need to mine a few pieces of copper ore. However, if you've attempted to make a copper pickaxe head, you'll have noticed that you aren't able to do so with a pickaxe head pattern! In order to make metal parts, you'll need a smeltery.
The first step towards making a smeltery is to gather lots of clay, sand, and gravel in order to craft grout.
You'll need around 64 pieces of grout, so plan accordingly. Once you have all of your grout, you'll need to smelt it to create seared bricks.
Now, on to building the smeltery.
You'll need to craft a few basic blocks to start yourself off.
Seared Bricks (at least 9)
Once you have the basic blocks, you'll need to build your smeltery.
If you aren't sure exactly how to build it, here's a good article on how to do it.
You'll likely want to make your smeltery at least a 2x2.
Creating a cast
Now that you have your shiny new smeltery, you're ready to start creating things. The first thing you'll need is a bit of aluminum brass. Right click your smeltery controller and place some copper and aluminum ore into it. However, there's just one problem -- smelteries need lava in the seared tank in order to function! Since you don't have iron yet, craft a clay bucket, put it in your furnace, and then grab yourself some lava for your seared tank.
Next, you'll need a pickaxe head made out of cobblestone. Grab your pickaxe head pattern, place it in your Part Builder, and create a stone pickaxe head.
Once you have the stone pickaxe head, place it in your casting table and right click the seared faucet to pour out aluminum brass.
Now you should find yourself with a pickaxe head cast.
Creating a metal part
With your first cast at the ready, it's time to create a metal part for your pickaxe. Place some copper in your smeltery if you don't already have some extra in there. You'll need at least one ingot's worth.
TIP - Click a liquid in your smeltery controller to shift it to the bottom and organize your liquids.
Once you have your copper at the bottom of your smeltery's liquid hierarchy, just pour out the copper into your pickaxe head cast.
Getting an upgrade
At last, you finally have your next pickaxe head! But don't start creating a new pickaxe yet. Tinkers' Construct gives you the ability to swap out parts. Simply make sure that your tool is fully repaired and add your new pickaxe head like so:
Excellent! Now all of your skill XP has been preserved.
With your new pickaxe, you can continue the earlier process of mining until your pickaxe levels up, at which point you will be able to create the next tier pickaxe.
To infinity and beyond...
There are many tiers of tool parts.
The general progression goes something like this:
Flint < Copper < Iron < Bronze (alloy, copper + tin) < Alumite (alloy, obsidian + iron + aluminum) < Ardite < Cobalt < Manyullyn (alloy, ardite + cobalt)
Note: ardite and cobalt are found exclusively in the Nether.
You can also upgrade your pickaxe using various materials! For example, adding lapis lazuli to your pickaxe will give it Luck (fortune). If you get a bit ambitious and craft yourself a Tinkers' Construct sword, you'll be able to collect mob heads on occasion from slain mobs. Most mob heads can be used to upgrade your pickaxe's mining level and give you a big boost.
Have fun, fellow tinkerers!