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Much like smelting ore gives you ingots, is it at all possible to 'deconstruct' clothing and armour to get the material(s) from them in Skyrim?

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2 Answers

No.

You can disenchant them to learn their enchants. This destroys the item and makes you able to cast the enchant that was on the item.

But you can't destroy an item in order to get back the base materials. Once an item is made the base materials are gone forever.

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Ah, damn. Yeah, comparing it to disenchanting items would have been better, but... d'aww, I wish I could get the materials from clothing and armour :P. Thanks, man! xx –  Musclez Dec 14 '11 at 23:00
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Well, then it would be even easier to level smithing, if you could destroy the items you just made and reuse them again. –  victoriah Dec 14 '11 at 23:00
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Not in the original game. There are several mods that let you melt down weapons, armor, etc. such as this one. Up to you to decide if you want to play with a third party mod. If you haven't tried mods yet, make sure to backup your saves before doing so!

I haven't had any mod break my saves yet, but I have had warnings in the game about "objects no longer available" and such. As mods can add new objects and entities in the game world, it can potentially create a save that you won't be able to load after removing the mods. So keep that in mind.

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Are those mods well balanced (meaning do they give you a low return for your investment) or do they allow for infinite smithing? –  GmNoob Dec 15 '11 at 13:30
    
@GmNoob Afraid I didn't try them. Just in general mods tend to ignore the compromises that the game designers made. However as you can level up smithing just crafting Iron Daggers... I can see why some players wouldn't mind stretching the already absurd "laws" of Skyrim a little further. One reason I would stay away from mods at this stage would be 1) Finish the vanilla game first. 2) It's too early, the Creation Kit isn't out, so most of these are "in the works" projects. 3) It's possible that the savegame no longer works on vanilla Skyrim, which loops back to point 1. –  faB Dec 16 '11 at 1:41
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@GmNoob It's a nice mod, but pretty unbalanced. You can quickly level your smithing by repeatedly deconstructing and rebuilding some cheap(ish) items. While you don't get all your material back, for some items you get more than 80% of the raw materials back. It also allows you to upgrade e.g. two Dwarven ingots into 1 Orcish, etc, up to Ebony, which is also used for Daedric. It is rather costly, but it's possible to quickly get Ebony or Daedric armor pretty early in the game. Some things, like being able to craft the Jagged Crown, are also rather odd. –  Daniel Beck Jan 14 '12 at 12:50
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