Smithing is the crafting skill for combat, providing the ability to create and improve (or temper) weapons and armor. The higher your skill level, the more you can improve weapons and armor. The Smithing skill tree has a total of 10 perks, requiring a total of 10 perk points to fill.
In-game description: The art of creating weapons and armor from raw materials, or improving non-magical weapons and armor.
 Skill Perks
|Perk||Description||ID||Skill Req.||Perk Req.|
|Steel Smithing||Can create Steel armor and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much.||000cb40d|
|Arcane Blacksmith||You can improve magical weapons and armor.||0005218e||60 Smithing||Steel Smithing|
|Dwarven Smithing||Can create Dwarven armor and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much.||000cb40e||30 Smithing||Steel Smithing|
|Orcish Smithing||Can create Orcish armor and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much.||000cb410||50 Smithing||Dwarven Smithing|
|Ebony Smithing||Can create Ebony armor and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much.||000cb412||80 Smithing||Orcish Smithing|
|Daedric Smithing||Can create Daedric armor and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much.||000cb413||90 Smithing||Ebony Smithing|
|Elven Smithing||Can create Elven armor and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much.||000cb40f||30 Smithing||Steel Smithing|
|Advanced Armors||Can create Scaled and Plate armor at forges, and improve them twice as much.||000cb414||50 Smithing||Elven Smithing|
|Glass Smithing||Can create Glass armor and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much.||000cb411||70 Smithing||Advanced Armors|
|Dragon Armor||Can create Dragon armor at forges, and improve them twice as much.*||00052190||100 Smithing||Daedric Smithing or Glass Smithing|
* The Dawnguard plug-in changes this description to "Can create Dragon armor and Dragonbone weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much".
 Skill Usage
Smithing can only be performed at certain locations such as a Blacksmith's shop. In these designated areas you may find several types of tools:
- Grindstone: Sharpen weapons for extra damage. The higher your Smithing skill, the more the weapon damage is improved.
- Workbench: Allows you to improve armor. The higher your smithing skill, the more the armor rating is improved
- Forge: Create new weapons and armor from raw materials. What you can create is determined by your Smithing skill perks. With Hearthfire installed, you will also be able to create certain housebuilding materials.
- Anvil: Same effect as the Forge.
Source materials for smithing are created at other workstations. The following tasks are not directly governed by the Smithing skill, however:
- Tanning Rack: Create leather and leather strips from hides; hides are most commonly obtained by hunting animals.
- Smelter: Create ingots from raw ore or Dwemer scrap metal; raw ore is most commonly obtained by Mining.
While the skill tree might appear to be a circle, it is really two separate paths both ending at Dragon Armor, which allows creation of the best Light Armor (Dragonscale) and second-best Heavy Armor (Dragonplate). Most players will choose to focus exclusively on one of the two branches — either the left-hand branch (primarily light armor), or else the right-hand branch (all heavy armor). The left-hand branch is shorter, requiring one fewer perk than the right-hand branch to reach Dragon Armor.
Since the left-hand branch includes medium-quality heavy armor (Steel Plate, via the Advanced Armors perk), the left-hand branch can also be a good choice for heavy armor specialists. Also note that damage reduction from armor maxes out at 567 displayed armor rating, which can be achieved with nearly any armor in the game given sufficient improvements via tempering and armor skill. Therefore the difference in armor rating between Dragonplate and the best heavy armor, Daedric, is not necessarily significant. The lighter weight of Dragonplate armor may be of more importance, unless you have either the Conditioning perk or activate The Steed Stone, both of which negate the adverse effects of heavy weight.
The available weapons are also an important difference between the left and right branches. Both Ebony and Daedric weapons are better than Glass ones, which is the best type offered by the left-hand branch. However when upgraded to Legendary, the damage difference between a Glass weapon and a Daedric one will be less than 10% (exact number depends on weapon type). The Dawnguard plug-in also adds the ability to create the even stronger Dragonbone weapons, provided the respective perk is purchased.
 Item Quality
Using the Grindstone/Workbench allows the refinement of weapon/armor depending on the character's Smithing level. The levels of item qualities are Fine, Superior, Exquisite, Flawless, Epic, and Legendary. The Smithing level required to unlock these qualities depends upon whether the character has the Smithing perk of the item's material.
|Without Perk||With Perk||Armor||Other|
- For instance, say you have a Smithing level of 45 (with Dwarven Smithing perk), and pieces of Elven and Dwarven equipment you want to improve. With appropriate supplies, you would improve the Dwarven to Exquisite, but the Elven only to Superior.
- Smithing skills higher than 100 can be attained using "Fortify Smithing" equipment and potions, thus allowing any item to be made Epic or Legendary.
- Quality levels continue past Legendary, although the displayed quality will not reflect that. Each new level increases armor ratings by 3.6 and weapon ratings by 1.8, resulting in an increase of about +0.1 per effective skill point for armor, and +0.05 for other items.
- Unlike enchanting, the same improved weapon/armor can be improved again if skill increases (by improving the skill, using enchanted items and potions).
The rating bonus provided from a given quality Q (where 1, 2, 3, ... = Fine, Superior, Exquisite, ...) equals 3.6Q − 0.8, rounded down (we think; additional testing is needed). Non-"Armor" items (weapons, shields, boots, and other secondary armor) receive half the bonus.
The quality crafted at a given skill level equals (effective skill + 38) × 3/103, rounded down, where effective skill in turn equals
- (base skill − 13.29)(1 + perk)(1 + Σenchantments)(1 + Σpotions) + 13.29,
where perk is 1 if you have the relevant Smithing perk and 0 otherwise, Σenchantments equals the sum of your Fortify Smithing enchantments divided by 100, and Σpotions equals the sum of your Fortify Smithing potions divided by 100 (e.g. 20% increase → 0.2 in the formula).
With a base skill of 100, the relevant perk, four 29% enchantments, and a 130% potion, one's effective skill equals 874.84, which yields a bonus of +92 to armor and +46 to other items (Legendary 21).
 Skill Increases
 Character Creation
The following races provide initial skill bonuses in Smithing:
- Ghorza gra-Bagol in Markarth (Common)
- Balimund in Riften (Expert)
- Eorlund Gray-Mane in Whiterun (Master)
- GunmarDG in Fort Dawnguard (Master)
- The Armorer's Challenge
- Cherim's Heart
- Heavy Armor Forging
- Last Scabbard of Akrash
- Light Armor Forging
- +1 Smithing reward from Oengul War-Anvil for completing the quest Find Queen Freydis's Sword inside <Dungeon>.
- +1 Smithing reward from Rustleif for completing the quest Rare Gifts.
- +1 Smithing reward from Ghorza gra-Bagol for completing the quest Skilled Apprenticeship.
- +1 Smithing reward (as well as +1 to all other combat skills) from Giraud Gemane (Bards College) for completing the quest Rjorn's Drum.
- +5 Smithing reward (as well as +5 to all other combat skills), if you choose "The Path of Might" when reading the Oghma Infinium.
 Gaining Skill XP
A few basic tips:
- Crafting items at forges gives overall biggest skill increases.
- Improving items at workbenches/grindstones gives skill increases based on the value added to the item at a rate similar to crafting.
- Smelting items at a smelter does not give skill increases.
- Tanning hides does not give skill increases.
Animal hides provide plenty of free leather, and are lighter than the leather created from them. Process them into leather just before creating/upgrading items. Leather Bracers provide the most XP per leather.
For the fastest leveling, make sure you have the Warrior Stone active (20% faster), and are well rested (+5-15% faster, depending). You should also consider completing the quest, Unfathomable Depths (see §Bugs).
 Crafting Items
XP gain for smithing an item follows the following formula:
- ΔXP = 3 × item value0.65 + 25.
Because of the flat 25 XP for each item created, it usually is of greater benefit to craft many cheap items than few valuable items. For example making 5 Iron Daggers requires 5 Iron Ingots and gives (38.4 × 5 =) 192 XP. Making one Iron Armor uses the same amount of materials but yields only 94.2 XP.
Making gold or silver jewelry can quickly level up smithing without perk investment. Players can cast Transmute Mineral Ore to convert iron ore to silver ore and silver ore to gold ore. An Iron Dagger (10 gold) yields 38.4 XP per ore chunk, whereas 2 Gold Rings (150 gold total) yield 51.5 XP per ore chunk — 34% more efficient smithing XP gain, along with Alteration XP from the transmuting. [verification needed — these values were changed] Halted Stream Camp has a free spell tome and lots of Iron Ore.
Combining gold or silver ingots with Gems increases the value of the item and thus the skill gain. For example, using an additional Flawless Diamond to craft a Gold Diamond Necklace (see Jewelry) boosts xp yield to 163 XP per ore, albeit Flawless Diamonds can only be obtained after level 40. See the following table for a comprehensive list of XP gains using gems:
|Silver Garnet Ring||53.1||Garnet|
|Silver Amethyst Ring||56.4||Amethyst|
|Silver Ruby Ring||68.2||Ruby|
|Silver Jeweled Necklace||83.8||2x Flawless Garnet|
|Gold Jeweled Necklace||96.0||2x Flawless Amethyst|
|Gold Sapphire Ring||97.7||Sapphire|
|Gold Ruby Necklace||103.1||Flawless Ruby|
|Silver Sapphire Necklace||106.3||Flawless Sapphire|
|Gold Emerald Ring||118.5||Emerald|
|Silver Emerald Necklace||130.9||Flawless Emerald|
|Gold Diamond Ring||137.3||Diamond|
|Gold Diamond Necklace||163.0||Flawless Diamond|
 Improving Items
XP gain for improving an item follows the following formula:
- ΔXP = 8 × Δitem value0.6 + 25,
where Δitem value is the amount that the item's gold value increased from the improvement. For example, improving an Iron Armor from Fine to Exquisite is a value difference of (⌊1.5(125)⌋ − ⌊1.15(125)⌋ =) 44, yielding ~119 XP.
With Hearthfire, crafting 10 nails yields the same XP as an Iron Dagger, but doesn't require leather strips.
With Dawnguard, collect all Dwemer scrap metal that you find in your travels, ideally giving them to a follower. Get the Dwarven Smithing perk and periodically unload, smelt ingots, get firewood, and create arrows. A couple of Dwemer ruins can yield 100 ingots; carefully collecting every bit of available metal in every Dwemer ruin will yield over 1200 ingots, producing over 28,000 arrows which can easily raise your Smithing level by 40 or more. You can wait to sell the arrows since they weigh nothing.
With Dawnguard, complete the Lost to the Ages quest and create the Aetherial Crown. Use the Crown to gain the Warrior and the Lover Standing Stones affects, granting a 35% boost. Completing the Ancient Knowledge quest gives you an additional 15% boost to Smithing, and finally, sleeping can give you a 10% (15% with a spouse) bonus. This can be added up to a potential 65% speed boost when Smithing.
One achievement is related to smithing:
- Unlike other Elder Scrolls games, weapons and armor do not degrade with use, and therefore repairs are not necessary.
- One good place for players trying to quickly increase the Smithing skill is inside and outside of Warmaiden's in Whiterun because there is access to all Smithing equipment and Adrianne Avenicci is available to quickly buy and sell items as well as Ulfberth War-Bear, inside the shop. Be aware, however, that Adrianne will occasionally go inside the shop, at which point she shares her available money with Ulfberth.
- Improving or enchanting a stolen item will not remove its 'stolen' status; however, improving items or creating new items with stolen components does not make new/improved items stolen.
- Without the Dawnguard plug-in or the use of mods, it is impossible to craft arrows.
- After improving a weapon, the damage difference with your equipped weapon may not update.
- To resolve this, either equip another weapon, or unequip your current weapon.
- Ancient Knowledge gives a 25% bonus while wearing any type of armor (not just Dwarven) and increases effective smithing skill by 15% when tempering weapons and armor instead of giving a smithing leveling bonus of 15%.
- This bug is fixed by version 1.0 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.