Similar to how grindstones upgrade weapons, workbenches are used to increase the effectiveness of armor, improving its armor rating. Upgradable armors in the inventory of the Dragonborn are listed in the workbench list, along with the material required to upgrade them. The effectiveness of an upgrade is dependent on the Smithing skill level (including any Fortify Smithing enchantment boost) as well as the Smithing perks the armor falls under (if any).
- Next to Alvor and Sigrid's House in Riverwood
- Directly next to Warmaiden's in Whiterun
- Outside the Blacksmith in Solitude
- At Ghorza gra-Bagol's blacksmith's forge in Markarth
- At the blacksmith's forge in Riften
- Outside and inside the Blacksmith Quarters in Windhelm
- Next to Lod's House in Falkreath
- By the Penitus Oculatus Outpost in Dragon Bridge
- In Sinderion's Field Laboratory, a sub-location of Blackreach
- Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary
- Embershard Mine
- Gloombound Mine
- Rift Stormcloak Camp by campfire
- Silent Moons Camp (Lunar Forge)
- The Katariah, a ship docked in the Haafingar Hold
- Fellglow Keep
- Fort Greymoor
- Fort Kastav
- Fort Greenwall
- Castle VolkiharDG
- Lakeview ManorHF
- Smithing perks can significantly increase the armor improvements. With the relevant perk and a Smithing level of 100 or above, it is possible to improve a piece of armor to Legendary quality. The armor rating of Legendary quality armor continues to increase past level 100, hence it is worthwhile to use Fortify Smithing enchantments even if the base skill is at the maximum.
- Enchanted armor can only be improved with the Smithing perk Arcane Blacksmith.
- When a blacksmith works at a workbench, clicking on the workbench will result in a message "someone else is using this item." However, the user gives way to the Dragonborn in a couple of seconds.