Q: What skills should I start with?
A: Always take 50 blacksmithy skill. I don't recommend seriously trying blacksmithy without 50 in that skill. Since you won't have much gold to buy ingots with at the start, you will need to take some mining skill or buy/practice it till you get it up. From around 30 mining skill you can get as much as 60% success in smelting iron ore into ingots; At 75 mining skill, it is at around 80% success [as long as you are smelting with a full stomach].
Tinkering is another skill good for the blacksmith. With it you can make shovels and hammers for your work. You might also want to practice the art of Arms Loring. Many adventurers will want their belongings looked at for possible repair (never turn down an opportunity to repair, but be honest about your skill percentage. Most people who need repairs offer good tips).
Also always start with 45 strength because you will need to be able to carry iron ore and ingots. Sure you can leapfrog your ore, but doing that for your ingots isn't such a great idea. Unless you already know ways to raise your strength fast.
Q: What tools should I have?
A: There are 3 tools you can use to smith with: the sledge hammer, tongs, and the smithy hammer. I personally have had the best luck with a smithy hammer. You might also want to have some tinkering tools to make your equipment with but that requires at least 30 tinkering.
Caution: With the new patch .35, failing at tinkering destroys one ingot; and even if you get to the creation window to select from you might still fail.
Another invaluable tool is food! Always have food. I recommend fish steaks, the lightest food in the game. When you eat, never eat till you're stuffed. If you're full, that's fine. You will notice the best skill gain just below full stomach.
Q: What should I make?
A: This question is very vague. You will get many different answers from it depending on who you talk to.
What I recommend to make will increase your skill fairly quickly and give you the cash you need to continue. Assuming you started at 50 smithing, I would tell you to make ring mail gloves. After every 3 or 4 gloves, alternate by making a chainmail coif until you get to 55 smithing. Once you reach that, reverse that; Make chain coifs and after every 3rd or 4th, make ringmail gloves.
When you get to 60-65 smithing, or when you start making a lot of exceptional chainmail coifs, start attempting to make platemail gorgets. From that point on, make gorgets all the way to Master Smith. As you get better, add to the routine: Around 80 make plate gloves and arms and experiment with what you seem to be able to make best.
I recommend dropping gorgets at 90 blacksmithing all together unless you need to make some cash [they are a sure fire way to get lots of gold just selling to npc vendors]. Around 88 smithing, you should then start making helmets. I have found the open helmet to be the best to make [it sells for more than any other helm]. At about 92 skill even making helmets seem to give less and less skill. I still make them because they give me the gold but you might want to add plate legs and chests. Try making full sets. Depending on the armor class, people will probably buy them. [thats when the money starts coming in big time =)]
And, before you know it you will be a Grandmaster Smith. :)
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