Looking to make some good coin reasonably early in Skyrim? Don't feel like stealing? Here's a fairly straightforward method that's good returns without being fun-ruining broken.
- Find some Dwemer ruins. Markarth excavation site is easy to get to as you can hire a wagon from Whiterun, though there are others, notably in the region between Windhelm and Riften.
- Collect as much Bent Scrap Metal, Small Metal Plates, and Large Metal Plates as possible. If you have the carrying capacity then grab struts and solid blocks as well. Plates are the best value at 3 bars for a weight of 2 (3:2) where a solid block gets you 5 bars for a weight of 25 (1:5). Struts weigh less than blocks, but are also 1:5. Ignore plain "Scrap Metal." It's useless, even though it doesn't sound that way. Only bent scrap metal can be smelted.
- Smelt that crap. You can easily wind up with several hundred ingots, and 2 lbs. of plate metal becomes 3 lbs. of ingots, so you may want to do the smelting near a safe storage place.
- Get your Smithing up to 30 and put a perk into Dwarven Smithing.
- Buy iron ingots and make Dwarven Bows. The pattern costs 1 Iron and 2 Dwemer ingots, and sells to a vendor for ~100g. You paid nothing but time for the Dwemer metal and Iron ingots will only cost ~14g each. Whiterun has four vendors who will buy weapons: two at the Blacksmith (1100g each), the General Goods vendor (600g), and the Skyforge smith (1100g).
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