Ok so on skyrim I decided to start a new game and play as a argonian blacksmith. Now as I am only level 3 at the moment what is the quickest way to level up my smithing while using the smallest amount of resources possible?
For the crafting skills, experience gain is based on the value of the created item.
- Look at the Items you know how to make. Take the value of the object to be created and divide by the value of it's ingredients. The item with the biggest ratio will, by definition, give you the most experience for minimal resources.
- Honing an item usually adds significantly to it's value, but I don't believe you can see the the final value before doing so. Experiment at least once at each skill level to find out exactly what your profits will be. This will become increasingly important as you graduate beyond making "perkless" garbage and your effective skill level gets almost doubled. Also, cache the best Smithing enchantment you find in each relevant apparel slot.
- Gems have little use other than either selling or, for a small number of quests, giving away. You might as well earn smithing experience from them by turning them into jewelry before you sell them. Use the Transmute spell to upgrade cheap Iron Ore to Silver or Gold. High value/experience. Little to no profit.
- Dwarven metal is ridiculously abundant. Take advantage of this fact by purchaseing the Dwarven Smithing perk and making large numbers of honed dwarven bows. (Bows are the high profit item associated with this perk.
- The Ancient Knowledge power earned for completing the quest Unfathomable Depths allows you to gain Smithing skill 15% faster.
In the end, if you approach your Smithing like a businessman (businessgecko?), your experience will progress at it's best rate.
Interesting Profit Ratios by perk (as compiled from pages linked from uesp's Smithing page):
- Iron Armor 2.84
- Nord Hero Battle Axe 3.09 (Perhaps not that interesting. By the time you've "rejuvenated" the Skyforge, you'll have much better options.)
- Jewelry ~1 (Don't buy the materials, but when you do find a Flawless Diamond, you might as well make an amulet with a value of 1200 from it.)
- Steel Armor 2.86 (While only a marginal improvement in profit ratio over Iron, due to having a perk, honing at the Armorer's Table will effectively use almost double your skill level.)
- Bonemold Helmet 2.88
- Dwarven - Bow 4.03
- Elven Warhammer 2.42
- Chitin Heavy Armor 7.22
- Orcish - Armor 5.10
- Advanced - Steel Plate Armor 5.39
- Arcane Blacksmithing - At this point and beyond, you'll probably get the most advantage from honing found, enchanted objects for which you have the relevant perk, but for the sake of completeness...
- Glass - Bow 2.98
- Ebony Bow 3.2
- Stalhrim Bow 3.0
- Daedric - Warhammer 3.96
- Dragonbone - If you've got this perk, you don't need experience.
My preferred method is looting Dwemer ruins (Mzulft is a good one, I've just returned with enough metal for 436 ingots after smelting) for Dwarven Metal Ingots, then use these to make Dwarven arrows. This is also fairly practical if you're an archer (you can't shoot necklaces...) However, this is useless until level 30 and you have the dwarven smithing perk. Another downside being, it takes forever to chop firewood.
If you're up for a bit of theft, the blacksmith in Solitude usually has Iron and Silver ingots (and a couple of pieces of Iron ore too) that he won't miss. These regenerate after a few in-game days, so you can always grab more.