Fallout 4 has a number of great new features, such as the introduction of Settlements, salvaging, and crafting of weapons and gear at various stations—Fallout: New Vegas did have crafting, just to a lesser extent. The guiding factor behind these is resources such as steel, wood, cloth, screws, and more, all of which can be salvaged from items that you can loot, steal, and pick up all around the wasteland. Salvaging Junk and Items in Fallout 4 is easy, and something you'll definitely need to do if you plan on building up a settlement.
In previous Fallout games, such as Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, picking up things like Junk really only served the purpose of either filling up space in your inventory because you accidentally picked up an empty bottle, or filling up space in your inventory so you could sell miscellaneous items for just a few extra caps. In Fallout 4, however, you can now use that Junk at your Settlement to be "scrapped" as a resource for building! Woohoo!
Essentially, you want to use the Junk you find for parts. For example, a light bulb contains glass and copper, while a paintbrush contains wood and cloth. By salvaging these resources, you're able to use them to build buildings, resources, and more at the settlement where you have them stored (or where you're located if they're in your inventory). Once you get to the settlement, you can go to the workshop bench there and press the button that corresponds to "Store All Junk," meaning you put it all there to be pulled apart and harvested as needed.
As for weapons, and armor, to scrap them is a bit of a different process. Avoiding getting into crafting here much (that's a whole other discussion!) you head over to the respective stations to scrap them. Typically, and especially early on, armor will tend to have steel, leather, cloth, and some plastic there. For weapons, early ones that you see tend to be in the steel and wood scrap resources, two of the more numerous scrap resources you'll find ... but also two of the ones you use the most in building up settlements.
Should you want to scrap resources from weapons and armor, you'll have to head over to their respective stations at your settlement or in the wild to scrap them, but if you want to salvage resources from the strange junk you pick up in the wasteland, it's as simple as pressing the button that corresponds to "Store All Junk" at the Workshop bench in your settlement(s). Once you've stored it, it will be used up when needed as you build things! Easy, right?
If your character is Charisma 6 and Level 6, you'll be able to unlock the "Local Leader" perk as well, enabling the ability to establish a link between workshops at your settlements, which means you'll share the junk you drop off at workshops, no matter which settlement it's at!
It's worth noting that this is for items you've picked up in the wasteland. If you want to salvage things lying around in your settlement, just bring up the workshop menu and highlight the object you'd like to salvage to harvest the resource! Once you hit “salvage,” the game will inform you of the resources you receive before you do so. One thing to note though is that the game does let you scrap things with items in it, so before you scrap that first aid kit, probably best to make sure you looted the StimPack and Rad-x from it first—it won't impact what you get and gives you some more tools.
A few quick things here to note when scrapping around communities:
- Trees are excellent sources of wood.
- Bathroom stuff—toilet, sink and tubs—is great for ceramics.
- Ruined Houses clear up areas of foundation and primary building locations that are actually flat with proper grounding. They also tend to give a good amount of steel, so it's worth doing it.
- The same item name can have different materials. There are a lot of different chair models for example, and they can offer cloth, wood, steel, plastic or who knows what else, depending on which model it is.
- When going around town, items that have a use or match something in the creation area generally will have an option to send to storage. Keep that in mind before you salvage, as you can save resources by not having to re-craft them again in the future. Things like grills, trash cans, and mailboxes are really for aesthetic, so it's up to you what you do with them!
Naturally, if you don't want to salvage everything you find, you can sell it to vendors. As a quick tip, make sure you check what you're selling—certain resources and items are much harder to find than others in-game, such as adhesives and circuitry! Make sure you check before you sell!
If you don't feel like building, salvaging, or selling, however, and would prefer to shoot your Teddy Bears, Ashtrays, Nuka Cola bottles, and more at enemies, you can hunt down the Junk Jet (link may contain spoilers) in-game, to blast away! Who doesn't want to blow away their enemies with Teddy Bears?