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< Skills: Combat
Skill: Smithing

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

Steel Smithing
Elven Smithing
Dwarven Smithing
Orcish Smithing
Daedric Smithing
Smithing Perk Tree
Perk Description ID Skill Req. Perk Req. Notes
Steel Smithing Can create Steel armor and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much. 000cb40d Also create Bonemold armor.DB
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 Also create Stalhrim armor and weapons.DB
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 Also create Chitin armor.DB
Advanced Armors Can create Scaled and Plate armor at forges, and improve them twice as much. 000cb414 50 Smithing Elven Smithing Also create Nordic armor and weapons.DB
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 Also create Dragonbone weapons.DG

* The Dawnguard add-on 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:

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). Players may wish to focus exclusively on one of the two branches — either the left-hand branch (primarily light armor), or else the right-hand branch (almost 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 quality, the damage difference between a glass weapon and a Daedric one will be less than 10% (exact number depends on weapon type). The Dawnguard add-on 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. Unlike Enchanting, the same improved weapon/armor can be modified again if your Smithing skill increases or by using potions or enchanted apparel that provide a Fortify Smithing effect.

Quality Level Quality Smithing Level Required Effect
Without Perk With Perk Armor † Other Value
1 Fine 14 14 +2 +1 1.166x
2 Superior 31 22 +6 +3 1.333x
3 Exquisite 65 40 +10 +5 1.499x
4 Flawless 100 57 +13 +7 1.666x
5 Epic 134 74 +17 +8 1.833x
6 Legendary 168 91 +20 +10 1.999x

† Breastplate

  • 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.
  • "Fortify Smithing" equipment and potions directly improve the effectiveness of refining equipment, 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.

The rating bonus provided from a given quality Q 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.

quality level = (effective skill + 38) × 3/103, rounded down

effective skill = (base skill − 13.29)(1 + perk)(1 + Σenchantments)(1 + potion) + 13.29,

  • perk is 1 if you have the relevant armor smithing perk, otherwise this is 0
  • Σenchantments equals the sum of your Fortify Smithing enchantments divided by 100
  • potion equals the effect of your Fortify Smithing potion divided by 100 (e.g. 20% increase → 0.2 in the formula).

With a base smithing skill of 100, the relevant armor smithing perk, four 29% fortify smithing enchantments, and a 130% fortify smithing potion, the effective skill equals 874.84 (item quality = Legendary 26), which yields a bonus of +92 to armor and +46 to other items.

Skill Increases

Character Creation

The following races provide initial skill bonuses in Smithing:


Skill Books

Free Skill Boosts

Gaining Skill XP

A few basic tips:

  • Crafting items at forges gives the largest overall skill increases.
  • Improving items at workbenches or 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 or 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 have slept in the past 8 hours (+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 Transmute Mineral Ore 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:

Improving Items

XP gain for improving an item approximately follows the following formula:

ΔXP = 3.8 × Δitem value0.5 × ΔQ0.5

,where Δitem value is the amount that the item's gold value increased from the improvement, and Q is the quality number of the item (Q = 0,1,2,... is No Improvement,Fine,Superior,...). Note: The reason that the delta value is used instead of the item value is because calculating the delta of enchanted items using the multipliers doesn't work, and the multipliers are not always accurate on non-enchanted items either.

For example, improving an iron armor from Fine (value = 145) to Exquisite (value = 187) is a value difference of (187 - 145) = 42 and a quality change of 3 - 1 = 2, so the predicted ΔXP = 3.8×(42)0.5×(2)0.5 ~34.8 XP.

With the Dwarven perk and smithing at or above level 40 improving Dwarven bows will garner significant XP using readily available (or smelted) Dwarven ingots and easily craftable Dwarven bows. Once the Ebony perk is unlocked creating and improving Ebony bows will garner five times the XP of improving Dwarven bows.


With Hearthfire installed, crafting 10 nails yields the same XP as an iron dagger, but doesn't require leather strips.

With Dawnguard installed, collect all Dwemer scrap metal that you find in your travels. 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 both The Warrior Stone and The Lover Stone effects, granting a 35% boost to Smithing XP. Acquiring the Ancient Knowledge ability gives you an additional 15% boost, and finally, sleeping in a bed you own can give you a 10% (15% with a spouse) bonus. This adds up to a potential 65% boost to XP when Smithing. Note that you must store the Lover Stone effect in the Aetherial Crown, and remove it before sleeping to gain both bonuses. Also, the sleeping bonus is prevented if you are infected with lycanthropy.


Two achievements are 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 and Ulfberth War-Bear are available to quickly buy and sell items. 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 or creating items with stolen components does not mark the resulting items as stolen.
  • Without the Dawnguard add-on or the use of mods, it is impossible to craft arrows.
  • Smithing jewelry can be the most effective way to boost your skill level after completing the quest No Stone Unturned.


  • 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 1.3.1 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.
    • This bug is altered, but not fixed, by version of the Official Skyrim Patch, which makes the 25% armor bonus apply to all armor except Dwarven (the effective smithing skill portion is unchanged).
  • If you make your Smithing skill legendary, then raise your skill and reselect the Arcane Blacksmith perk, you may be unable to improve enchanted weapons and armor, especially ones that have been given two enchantments.