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Durability is a characteristic of mining tools that decreases their effectiveness with use. With every action, mining tools become more 'blunt', increasing the amount of swings it takes to mine material. Tools can be repaired by using ore, but you have to smelt it you don't use the ore to repair the mining tool, more powerful the ore the better the repair. Tools are also repaired completely when the player returns to their ship (not implemented yet). Tools aren't destroyed when their durability runs out, they're just less effective.

A tools durability can be measured by a status bar found under the tools icon on the Hotbar. When the bar is red the tool is completely repaired. To repair a tool, right click on the appropriate ore and then right click the tool you want to repair.

Repair Ore Durability Added
Copper Ore Icon.png Copper
Silver Ore Icon.png Silver
Gold Ore Icon.png Gold
Platinum Ore Icon.png Platinum 1875

Durability only effects mining tools, it is not present on armor or weapons.[1]

  1. http://playstarbound.com/31st-july-progress/