After you complete the tutorial day on the island and start your first real day, get the Nook Phone and then speak to Tom Nook in the Resident Services tent.
When Tom Nook offers a DIY Workshop, accept his offer, and then bring him 5 Wooden Branches. You can then use the workshop to craft a Flimsy Fishing Rod, which can be used along the edge of rivers, ponds, and beaches to catch fish after a fish has dragged the lure under the water. The flimsy version only lasts for about 10 catches, so be prepared to make more.
Tom Nook will also give you the recipe for the Flimsy Net, which can be used to catch a variety of insects and other floating objects – and even annoy the heck out of villagers… but you probably shouldn’t do that.
To get the Slingshot, you need to obtain the recipe, which is only sold by Timmy for 300 Bells (press R to switch from his furniture selection to his miscellaneous items). While it cannot be upgraded, it will eventually break after many uses. You can use this item to fire upward at passing presents tied to balloons, and you can also hold down the A button to ready your shot – and let go to release the projectile at the target above..
Stone and Iron Axes
To get an Axe, you must first obtain the Flimsy Net and Flimsy Fishing Rod from Tom Nook. When he encourages you to show him any bugs or fish you find, give him at least two examples, and he will reward you with the recipe for the Flimsy Axe. An Axe has many uses, from cutting wood, to chipping rocks, and even cutting trees down, but you’ll need to get an upgraded recipe for an Iron Axe: more on that later.
To get a Watering Can, catch at least 4 bugs and/or fish, and show them all to Tom Nook, and you’ll be rewarded with the recipe for the Flimsy Watering Can, along with a bunch of flowers to plant. The Watering Can is used to help propagate flowers by increasing the rate at which they bloom, and can be used to create additional colors of flowers that can’t be bought at a store.
Shovel and Vaulting Pole
To get a Shovel, you’ll need to entice the museum curator Blathers to join your island. Since you’ve already been giving Tom Nook assorted fauna, make sure he’s given a total of 5 bugs and/or fish, and Blathers will call – prompting you to place a spot down for his tent. Speak to Blathers the next day to get a recipe for the Flimsy Shovel. A Shovel can be used to dig up buried items, transplant trees and flowers, and strike rocks.
Along with the Shovel, you’ll also get a recipe for the Vaulting Pole. This item doesn’t break like the others, and you can use it to quickly cross rivers with ease – both on your island and on mystery islands.
To get the Ladder, you must progress through Tom Nook’s tasks of paying off your tent payment and building your home, building Nook’s Cranny, and then a bridge to start work on the three villager homes that need furnishing.
After placing the lots down, Tom Nook will inform you that one recipe will require use of the flowers atop the island’s peaks, and will give you the recipe to make a Ladder. The Ladder is a tool that will allow you to climb or lower yourself to different elevations on the island without having to use a ramp or incline. Thankfully, just like the Vaulting Pole – it won’t break!
Of course, most of these tools are flimsy when you first get them – so how do you make them last? Once you pay off your first loan with Nook Miles, check out the terminal for a recipe book for better tools that will last much longer. You’ll still have to craft the base flimsy version first, and craft a better version out of them – so keep stockpiling tree branches!
Once you have spent enough bells at Nook’s Cranny to trigger an upgrade to an improved building (which seems to be around 70,000 Bells spent), the new and improved shop will feature an expanded cabinet with custom tools that cost a lot more, but feature stylish designs that can be modified, and will last much longer than flimsy tools!