No one can truly call themselves a warrior or dragon hunter without the knowledge and mastery of the forge. To be able to cleave through a dragon’s scaly armor and resist a molten blast of fiery breath, you’re going to have to have top-notch gear.
Skyrim is home to many masterful blacksmiths such as Eorlund Grey-Mane, the Skyforge blacksmith in Whiterun. Still, you can learn the art of Smithing and become a master in your own right. Smithing is extensive in Skyrim, more so than other forms of crafting in the game. There are numerous stations to improve gear, process raw materials, and create items, weapons, and armor.
Like all skills in Skyrim, the higher your Smithing skill, the better weapons, and armor you’ll be able to create and improve. I’m going to break down all the different stations before getting into the nitty-gritty of Smithing.
Beginner’s Smithing Tips
Here are some essential items and actions you can take to get a head start in the skill to get started in Smithing. However, before investing your perks into Smithing.
I recommend investing in at least two combat skills, as attributing all your perks into utility will make your character weak in combat. This can make the game considerably harder on more challenging difficulties.
After escaping Alduin and completing the “Unbound” quest, you’ll be guided to Riverwood. Speak to Alvor, the Riverwood blacksmith, and he will give you a brief tutorial on how to use the forge. You’ll learn how to craft weapons and improve gear. You’ll not only gain experience in Smithing, but you’ll be able to steal or buy crafting materials from Alvor.
Practice your Archery
I’d recommend getting familiar with your bow. Hunting is a great way to collect hides and pelts to create leather and crafting materials.
You’ll also get a headstart training your Archery skill doing this. You can additionally speak to Faendal, a Wood Elf who can often be found working at the Riverwood Lumber Mill for Archery training. You can find an abundance of game to hunt surrounding the City of Whiterun.
Obtain a Pickaxe
Although a heavy item to haul around, I recommend obtaining a pickaxe for mining any ore veins you discover on your adventure. There are ore veins located close by to Riverwood. Pay Embershard Mine a visit while in Riverwood to obtain some ore. Though you’ll have to clear out the bandits occupying the mine.
The Warrior Stone
Activating the Warrior Standing Stone will grant you a 20% increase in training your Smithing skill. The stone is located outside of Riverwood.
Collect Raw Materials
I Recommend collecting as many raw materials as you can early in the game, may it be from harvesting, mining, or purchasing from merchants. You will use these resources to craft items and then sell them to merchants to improve your Smithing skill and make gold early in the game.
Key Smithing Locations
- Whiterun – This is a great starting location to train your smithing skill. You have access to Warmaidens and the Skyforge, giving you access to all available smithing stations.
- Halted Stream Camp Mine – Located just north of Whiterun, this bandit camp features a mine with an abundant supply of iron and includes a copy of the Transmute spell. Make sure to pick this up!
- Silent Moons Camp – This is a bandit hideout located north of Whiterun that features the Lunar Forge. The forge is located in the barrow at the top of the staircase. A journal can be found that explains that the Lunar Forge contains a magical ability to harness the power of moonlight. Unfortunately, this is not the case. However, several weapons can be found around the forge imbued with this magic. Disenchanting one of the weapons will allow you to learn the Silent Moons enchantment.
- Gloombound Mine – An Ebony mine owned by a tribe of Orcs located southeast of Windhelm.
Key Smithing Quests
The following quests will raise your Smithing skill by one point. I’d recommend saving these once you have a smithing skill. The amount of experience required to level up becomes increasingly more, making it time-consuming to level up even using the upcoming Smithing power leveling methods.
- Talk to Giraud Gemane at the Bards College in Solitude, and he will task you in finding Rjorn’s Drum. Retrieving the drum for him will reward you with a smithing level.
- Talk to the Argonian From-Deepest-Fathoms located at Riften Docks to start the “Unfathomable Depths” quest. Completing this quest will reward you with the “Ancient Knowledge” active effect increasing your Smithing skill growth by 15%
Is Smithing Necessary?
Improving your Smithing skill is extremely valuable if playing a warrior-based build. However, it is also beneficial for all kinds of character builds.
Applying the smithing techniques in this guide will also allow you to train your Speech skill by selling your crafted items. It also makes it easy to train your enchanting skill if you desire to do so and your Alteration skill using the Transmute spell and technique. Highlighting the value of Smithing for mages.
Training in Smithing early in the game allows you access to robust armor and devastating weapons. Giving you an edge over your opponent, may they be dragons or monsters.
Understanding the Forge: Crafting Stations
- Smelter – Used to smelt raw ore into metal ingots used as the primary material in creating weapons and armor.
- Tanning Rack – Used to create leather from collected hide and pelts.
- Workbench – The workbench is where you will improve armor using materials.
- Grindstone – Used to enhance weapons.
- Forge and Anvil – This is where you will create weapons and armor from your processed materials.
You won’t always need to use all five stations; however, note that blacksmiths will not always be equipped with every station. Meaning you may have to travel to a significant city to find all five.
Smithing Skill Tree
The Smithing skill tree is broken up into two paths. The left path focuses on light armor, and the right concentrates on heavy armor. Note that if you want to create powerful Daedric and Ebony weapons, you will have to invest in the right path of the skill tree. However, fortunately, the left path of the skill tree is significantly shorter than the right.
- Steel Smithing (0) – allows you to craft Steel weapons and armor and improve them twice as much.
- Elven Smithing (30) – This will enable you to craft Elven weapons and armor and Improve them twice as much.
- Dwarven Smithing (30) allows you to craft Dwarven weapons and armor and improve them twice as much.
- Advanced Armors (50) – This will enable you to create Steel Plate and Scaled armor and improve them twice as much.
- Orcish Smithing (50) allows you to craft Orcish weapons and armor and improve them twice as much.
- Arcane Blacksmith (60) – This will enable you to enhance magical weapons and armor.
- Glass Smithing (70) allows you to craft Glass weapons and armor and improve them twice as much.
- Ebony Smithing (80) – Allows you to craft Ebony weapons and armor and improve them twice as much.
- Daedric Smithing (90) – Allows you to craft Daedric weapons and armor and improve them twice as much.
- Dragon Armor (100) allows you to craft Dragon weapons and armor and improve them twice as much.
Building Blocks for Good Steel: Raw Materials
All items in Smithing require raw materials to be used in their creation. Therefore you must collect as many hides, pelts, metal ores, and ingots as you can. At the beginning of the game, you will be limited to using lesser quality materials such as leather, iron, and steel. But as you level your Smithing level, you’ll have the opportunity to spend perks to unlock access to the use of better materials.
There are many different kinds of ore to mine in Skyrim. Here is a list of all available ores:
- Iron Ore – The most basic and common mineable ore in the game, it’s used for basic iron weapons and armor.
- Corundum Ore – Used to create Steel weapons and armor.
- Malachite Ore – A rarer ore used to create Glass weapons and armor.
- Geode Vein – Located only in Blackreach, a Geode Vein once mined can supply either Corundum Ore, Ebony ore, Soul Gems, and Precious Gems.
- Ebony Ore – Used to make Ebony weapons and armor but is also used for Dragonbone, Daedric, and Nordic Carved weapons and armor. Making Ebony ore one of the most valuable ores in the game.
- Gold Ore – Gold is a valuable ore used for crafting jewelry and can be transmuted from iron and silver ore.
- Silver Ore – Only used for creating jewelry.
- Quicksilver Ore – Used to create Elven and Nordic weapons and armor.
- Moonstone Ore – Can be used to make either Elven or Glass weapons and armor when combined with Quicksilver or Malachite.
- Orichalcum Ore – Used to create orcish armor and weapons.
- Madness Ore – Used to create Madness weapons and armor in the Saints and Seducers Creation Club Mod.
- Amber – Used to create Amber weapons and armor in the Saints and Seducers Creation Club Mod.
Skyrim is a fruitful region that is rich in ore and minerals. Twenty-eight mines dotted across Skyrim are all different house types of ores. Mines can sometimes be worked by civilians and be home to bandits and unsavory creatures. Therefore it’s best to come prepared for a fight.
Note that ore veins typically refresh after thirty in-game days. Ore veins within unclearable mines will restore every ten days instead.
Here is a list of all mines in the game:
- Embershard Mine (Iron) – Located in the Falkreath Hold.
- Fort Fellhammer (Iron) – Located in Winterhold.
- Halted Stream Camp Mine (Iron) – Located in the Whiterun Hold.
- Iron-Breaker Mine (Iron) – Located in The Pale.
- Whistling Mine (Iron) – Located in Winterhold.
- Rockwallow Mine (Iron) – Located in Hjaalmarch.
- Northwind Mine (Iron) – Located in The Rift.
- Left Hand Mine (Iron) – Located in the Reach.
- Damphall Mine (Iron, Silver) – Located in Solheim.
- Knifepoint Mine (Iron, Corrundum) – Located in Falkreath Hold.
- Darkwater Crossing (Corundum) – Located in Eastmarch.
- Dead Drop Mine (Corundum) – Located in The Rift.
- Goldenrock Mine (Corrundum) – Located in Eastmarch.
- Bilegulch Mine (Orichalcum) – Located in the Falkreath Hold.
- Dushnikh Mine (Orichalcum) – Located in The Reach.
- Mor Khazgur Mine (Orichcalcum) – Located in Haafingar.
- China Mine (Silver) – Located in The Reach.
- Fenn’s Gulch Mine (Silver) – Located in The Reach.
- Sandarac Mine (Silver) – Located in The Reach.
- Quicksilver Mine (Quicksilver) – Located in The Pale.
- Kolskegger Mine (Gold) – Located in The Reach.
- Lost Prospect Mine (Gold) – Located in The Rift.
- Broken Tusk Mine (Ebony) – Located in Solstheim.
- Gloombound Mine (Ebony) – Located in Eastmarch.
- Raven Rock Mine (Ebony) – Located in Solstheim.
- Redbelly Mine (Ebony) – Located in The Rift.
- Steamscorch Mine (Malachite) – Located in Eastmarch.
- Sound’s Sinkhole (Moonstone) – Located in The Reach.
Techniques to Improve Smithing Fast
Leveling your Smithing skill can be tiresomely slow; however, there are a few techniques that you can apply to get you crafting weapons that would make even Thor blush. I’d recommend choosing a method that utilizes your skills to best suit your character. Training unwanted skills can set your character back at greater difficulties.
Level Up Faster with Skill Boosts
As mentioned before, activating the Warrior standing stone is a must. However, there are other ways you can increase your experience boost to your Smithing skill. Keeping your character Well Rested will grant a 10% experience boost to all skills. To become Well Rested, you must sleep in your own bed or rent a room in an inn. The Well Rested bonus will last eight hours of in-game time.
If you are married and sleep in the same room as your spouse, you will gain the Lover’s Comfort active effect, which will give you a 15% experience boost to skills. Alternatively, you could sleep in any bed to grant yourself the Rested effect. However, this will only grant you a 5% experience boost.
If you have Dawnguard installed, I recommend completing the Lost to the Ages quest. You will be able to obtain the Aetherial Crown that will allow you to have two standing stones activated at a time when equipped. Combining the Warrior standing stone and the Lover standing stone will grant you a 35% faster Smithing skill increase.
However, note that Werewolves do not receive any resting bonuses for sleeping. I highly recommend completing the “Unfathomable Depths” quest to unlock a permanent 15% experience boost to your Smithing skill.
This technique requires you to learn the Transmute Alteration spell, found at Halted Stream Camp, a bandit camp near Whiterun northwest of Whitewatch Tower. The Transmute spell allows you to transform iron ore into silver ore and silver ore into gold ore. Which can then be later used to create jewelry.
It’s recommended that you create gold rings with the ore as this is more cost-effective. Note that the Transmute is an Adept spell and will consume a considerable amount of Magicka. Therefore this technique is best used for those who incorporate magic into their build. However, there are methods to get around a low Magicka pool and slow Magicka regeneration.
If you have low Magicka regeneration, you can use the “Wait” mechanic and wait an hour to fully restore your Magicka. However, in my playthrough of Skyrim, I had Survival Mode enabled, which made this method somewhat a challenge. I managed my character’s hunger and fatigue by carrying enough food supplies and periodically sleeping.
As a result, this slowed down the Transmuting process. I found myself hunting animals for hides and mining ore between casting the Transmute spell. As opposed to waiting, as this was draining my gold and resources.
“Some may call this junk me? I call them treasures…”
Ensure to collect Dwarven junk and scrap metal when delving in Dwarven ruins, as this can be smelted down into ingots. Giving you an abundant source of valuable raw materials.
To make this process even faster, travel to Markarth because the city is an old Dwarven city. You will find many Dwarven items to smelt into ingots. To make the most out of trips to Dwarven ruins, I’d recommend bringing a follower to dump all the Dwarven junk into, as it can take up a lot of your inventory space.
This process levels up your Smithing as some Dwarven metals can produce five Dwarven Ingots when smelted. Here are the types of Dwarven metal you should look out for:
- Solid Dwemer Metal – Produces five Dwarven Metal Ingots.
- Small Dwemer Plate Metal – Produces three Dwarven Metal Ingots.
- Large Dwemer Strut – Produces three Dwarven Metal Ingots.
- Large Dwemer Plate Metal – Produces three Dwarven Metal Ingots.
- Large Decorative Dwemer Strut – Produces two Dwarven Metal Ingots.
- Bent Dwemer Scrap Metal – Produces three Dwarven Metal Ingots.
Smithing Skill Books
Skill books are a type of book that, once read, increase a specific skill by one point. There are five Smithing skill books and the Oghma Infinium, a unique skill book that can raise either mage, thief, or warrior skills by five points.
There are multiple copies of skill books located all around Skyrim. Note that skill books are a one-time use item, and you will not be able to gain extra skill levels for reading the same book. I recommend saving the skill books for the last skill levels in the Smithing skill tree. This will make those last five levels easier to level.
Here is a list of the available Smithing Skill books and where to find them:
- Cherim’s Heart of Anequina – Can be located in Broken Oar Grotto, Sulfur Soaking Pools by the bathing nords, Morvunskar, Purewater Run, and, in the Quicksilver Mine in Dawnstar.
- Heavy Armor Forging – Located in the East Empire Company Warehouse, Gloombound Mine, Pinepeak Mine, and Whistling Mine.
- Light Armor Forging – Embershard Mine, Silent Moons Camp, Lod’s House in Flakreath, Cracked Tusk Keep, and Reachwind Burial Mound.
- Last Scabbard of Akrash – Gallows Rock, Fort Sungard, Black-Briar Lodge, can be brought from merchants.
- The Armorer’s Challenge – Located at the Skyforge in Whiterun, Bilegulch Mine, Tower of Mark, The Scorched Hammer in Riften, and Mor Khazgur.
- Oghma Infinium – Is only obtained through completing the “Discerning the Transmundane” quest, given by Septimus Signus. They can be found at Septimus Signus’s Outpost. You can activate the quest by talking to Urag in the College of Winterhold about the insane book.
Skyrim is home to many masters of craft and skill, but few are willing to share what they have learned. However, there are four Smithing trainers in the game that you can pay to increase your Smithing skill level. These trainers are tiered in different skill levels, and you’ll only be able to train in a skill five times. Therefore I recommend training them nearer to their smithing cap to get the most out of them.
I’d ignore Ghorza gra-Bagel in Markarth as they are a common tiered blacksmith and therefore is not worth your gold. Don’t forget to use a Fortify Barter potion to lower the training price.
Here is a list of the Smithing trainers in Skyrim and how to access them:
- Garza gra-Bagel – is a common blacksmith and can train your Smithing skill up to level 50. She can be found in Markath and will train you if you bring her the Last Scabbard of Akrash skill book.
- Balimund – an expert blacksmith that can train your smithing skill up to level 75. Located in Riften, he will only train you if you bring him ten Fire Salts.
- Eorlund Gray-Mane – A masters blacksmith who works the Skyforge in Whiterun, he can train your Smithing skill up to level 90. But he will only train you if you complete the “Take Up Arms” quest for the Companions faction. This is the first quest you will be given in the Companions faction. Therefore you don’t have to worry about becoming a Werewolf just yet, and losing the skill boosts from being “rested.”
- Gunmar – Another masters blacksmith who can train your Smithing skill to level 90. You must have Dawnguard installed to access Gunmar. He is accessible in Fort Dawnguard after completing the “A New Order” quest.
Saints and Seducers: Smithing Additions (CC)
To unlock Madness and Amber Smithing, you must complete the “Balance of Power” and “Restoring Order” quest. Notes on Amber and Madness smithing can be found when looting Thoron’s belongings. Which will then lead you to Mistwatch, where you will be tasked with killing Evethra.
Loot her body to obtain her journal on Madness and Amber Smithing. Make sure to take the Blacksmith’s Apron item as it will grant you a 20% increase in weapons and armor improvements. Note that you will need Smithing level 70 and the Glass Smithing perk.
To get access to Gold and Dark Smithing, you will need to start the “Balance of Power” quest. Loot the Saints Bandit Leader and pick up the “Notes on the Blacksmith,” which will then lead you to Half-Moon Mill. With a little bit of investigating, you will discover Joften’s notes.
Upon reading his journal, you learn how to craft Gold and Dark items. However, you will also need the Daedric Smithing perk.
The Dawnguard expansion adds new weapons and armor to enhance and craft. Suppose you want to improve your Smithing skill somewhat early in the game. In that case, I recommend joining the Dawnguard faction, as you will be granted access to craft crossbow bolts after completing the “A New Order” quest. More importantly, crafting bolts will award you a smithing experience.
Giving you a different way to level, although this will be a lot slower than the previous methods mentioned. To craft bolts, you will need the Steel Smithing perk, one Steel Ingot and, one Firewood. Making them a simple item to craft. Dawnguard also introduces craftable Dragonbone weapons that require 100 smithing.
Build Your Own Home: Hearthfire DLC
I recommend utilizing the Hearthfire DLC early in the game if you have it installed. The DLC adds three house plots into the game located in The Pale, Falkreath Hold, and, Hjaalmarch and can be purchased from each holds steward.
Unlike other houses in Skyrim, you will have to build your home from scratch with a plethora of new craftable items and raw materials to get stuck into. Building your home is a practical way to increase your Smithing fast with the benefits of your acquiring your very own base.
Once you have completed your house, you can add furnishings and create your own personal forge. This can serve as a great place to store raw materials you have collected on your adventures. Therefore I recommend building your home early in-game before mining valuable Ebony Ore. So that you can craft high-level weapons and armor as soon as you have reached a high Smithing level.
Question: Should I Train Smithing or Enchanting First in Skyrim?
Answer: I recommend training Smithing before Enchanting. Creating apparel and weapons will give you an abundant supply of items to farm your Enchanting skill. Additionally, you will need the Arcane Blacksmith perk to upgrade enchanted items.
However, for lower-level characters, make sure to invest in at least two combat skill trees. Otherwise, your character will fall behind in combat, especially at higher difficulties.
Question: Can you Smith Dawnguard Armor in Skyrim?
Answer: You cannot craft Dawnguard light or heavy armor; however, you can improve both with Steel ingots. You can use the Advanced Armor perk to further improve the Dawnguard armor.
Question: What Kind of Precious Gems can be Found Mining in Skyrim?
Answer: When mining an ore vein in Skyrim, there is a slight chance that you can unearth Precious Gems. There are six different kinds of Precious Gems varying in value. There is an additional chance that the gem will be Flawless, improving the value. You can uncover the following gems.
Skyrim Smithing Guide: Conclusion
Investing in the Smithing skill is a must and was essential in my Master Survival playthrough. Creating and improving powerful weapons allows you to keep an edge over your opponent in combat.
While it is good to train your Smithing skill as early as possible, be careful not to surpass your combat skills. However, don’t be afraid to begin training enchanting along though, as this will improve your creations even further.