I'm still on 1.2.5; I'll wait for the kinks to get worked out before updating. But I hope someone who has updated can answer a few questions.
I'm wondering about what happens with the "old" style wooden slabs in the update. Do they stay just as they are (nonflammable, pickax breakable, etc) or do they become new oak wood slabs? Is the answer different if they're placed in the world vs in inventory/chests? And is there any way to craft the old slabs anymore?
I like that they're flame-retardant, and I'm wondering if I should start stockpiling, is why I ask.
Currently placed half-slaps stay as they are. They will not become flammable. Those that are in chests otherwise, I can't say for sure, but currently placed stay fireproof. Bugged half-slabs cannot be crafted.
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I was wondering about this.
I had a fear that, after upgrading to 1.2.6, sometime later I'd happen upon a structure I'd built with a fireplace (wooden ceiling fittings double slab protected) and find it a smouldering ruin.
I'm hoping that the old slabs remain unchanged. If the block continues to exist, it will be possible to hack them in and place them. Then, the realism issue is solved while still allowing admins and such to build with fireproof wood.
On the Version History page on the Wiki for 12w17a it says:
New block IDs 125 for double wooden slabs and 126 for single wooden slabs.
Wooden slabs created in older versions of Minecraft are still stone-like and fireproof and will not change to the new slabs when placed or mined.
So it seems that as long as the current (1.2.5) wood slab block ID isn't overwritten we'll be able to keep our old fireproof wood slabs. But I don't think it's in the plans to allow us to craft them anymore. Personally I have been stockpiling them.
Any wooden slabs prior to colored slabs update will still need a pickaxe and is non-flammable. This goes for placed slabs and stored in chests. In addition, tha tool tip will still say wood slab while any new ones will say oak-slab.