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I've enchanted a ring, necklace, and apron to each give me a 20% bonus to smithing which is already at 100. On top of that, I have some blacksmith elixirs that give a 50% smithing bonus. Using all these items at the smithing wheel, I've been able to improve my ebony greatword and war hammer to legendary status without the perk that allows me to craft ebony armor and improve it twice as much. The damage output on these weapons is pretty nice.

I've been grinding like mad to get the four perks I need to get to advanced ebony smithing, but then I got to thinking: When I do get that perk, will I experience even higher damage/armor ratings when improving ebony gear or am I pretty much able to use my magical items to augment my smithing ability as far as the game will allow?

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There currently isn't a weapon damage cap, so you'll be able to create stronger ebony weapons with the ebony perk than without. This goes for all weapons and their respective smithing perks.

That answers your question, but I think maybe the question you should be asking is, "How easy do I want to make this game".

I'm a level 57 with 100 in smithing and all perks. Using only 25% Smithing Ring and Necklace, I can great 200+ damage bows and 100+ swords, before dual enchanting them with additional stats. I'm on Master difficulty where I do half damage, and I'm still incredibly deadly and near invincible. This is without using any potions to boost while smithing.

So if you want to create the stronger armors/weapons, you'll need the perks, but I wouldn't say you need them to become super powerful.

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You are correct abotu the perk. Without the ebony perk, I was only able to max my ebony greatsword at 135 with all my smithing items. After the perk, I was able to max it out to 185. After replacing all my 20% smithing bonus items with 25% smithing bonus, I was able to get it to 192. As for asking how easy I want to make the game, you're basicall asking that every time you upgrade to better equipment or add more powerful perks. If you're going to ask that, you may as well just go through the game naked and fight everything with fists. –  oscilatingcretin Jul 4 '12 at 17:32
1  
Oooh, idea for a new playthrough. Thanks, @oscilatingcretin! –  Shadur Jul 5 '12 at 8:06

Armor caps out at 567 total points, so if you can reach that with your current setup you will not experience a boost to protection. Arms however can always increase in power with smithing.

That said, base damage matters little at high smithing levels, so if you have steel smithing you can create a steel sword that will be 95% (or so) as powerful as a deadric sword with daedric smithing.

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I have 4 items equipped that increase smithing by 40% and a pick axe that increases smithing. Also can make potions that increase smithing by 130% I can make armor with higher than 567def and I made a Dragon Bone Maul that does a little over 1000 dmg after buffs from 40% two handed enchantments varried through-out my fighting gear. Dragon bone bow deals 811 with bow skill gear. If you monopolize your potions, enchantments and smithing you can make an invincible character.

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