BLOCK OF THE WEEK: PLANKS
Planks have been a part of Minecraft since 15 May 2009. That’s when pre-Classic version rd-160052 was released, which also happens to be the first release that bore the title “Minecraft” (before that it was “Minecraft: Order of the Stone”, and before that it was just called “Cave Game”).
There are six different kinds of wooden planks in the game which are flammable, and two fungal planks, which are not. The burnable ones are oak, spruce, birch, jungle, acacia, and dark oak, which can be told apart by their various shades of brown but otherwise behave identically. Recently, in the Nether Update, we also added crimson and warped planks, made out of the giant fungi that live in crimson and warped forests. So now you can have purple and green planks too!
If you want some, you’ll need a block of wood or hyphae, stripped or otherwise. Plonk it into a crafting grid and it’ll yield four planks of the same variety. You can also find planks of various sorts all over the Overworld, as part of naturally-generated structures like mineshafts, villages, and shipwrecks. Gather with an axe for mAXEimum efficiency. I know, I'm hilarious!
Planks are pretty fundamental to all of Minecraft. You’ll need them to make a crafting table and the most basic set of tools, which can then be upgraded to better materials. But even after that, you’ll keep making planks – for sticks, doors, fences, shields, boats, trapdoors, pistons, buttons, beds, and much, much more. You can also use flammable planks as fuel in a furnace. Planks will be with you on your first day in Minecraft and your last. Your friend to the very end.