I almost feel like I shouldn’t make this post as LW is only for the rich, but in the spirit of completeness we will cover it as well.
Base legendary basics
The base legendary items are used together with soul ash and missives to craft a legendary. There are four different variants for each slot, each corresponding to a higher item level, with higher material costs and a better item.
You can craft a higher rank directly, or you can upgrade a rank 1 item to a higher rank by adding a new base and paying the difference in soul ash. This means that all ranks of the base item can be useful to players. Right now players have access to enough Soul Ash for a rank 4 legendary, and alts will be crafting what they can get.
Should you do it?
Leatherworking is by far the most expensive profession to level base legendaries. Only do it if you have a good chunk of gold and you really like risk. I have not personally turned a profit yet, but I’m hoping I will soon.
Getting the recipes
The rank 1 recipe for each item requires you to max your profession and get to level 60. You unlock the recipes from doing the Torghast intro questline up to where you give the Runecarver his first memory. He will then give you quests to take back to your profession trainers that unlock the rank 1 recipes for training.
The higher rank recipes are obtained by crafting the lower rank 1s. You need to craft 15 of the lower rank to increase your rank.
Can you make a profit?
Leatherworking is INCREDIBLY expensive to level. I have personally spent more than 27 million on Callous Hides, and I do not have all the recipes at rank 4. I just started with 1 million, crafted what I could, sold it and re-invested the profits. Profits on rank 2 and 3 are falling as we go, so you have to have a lot of capital and a large risk appetite. Leatherworking is generally the least competitive one though as it is so expensive very few can afford to level it.
You’ll have to decide if you want to pull the trigger
Saving gold on shards
You can save 25 gold per Orboreal Shard by farming exalted with any of the SL reputations or just being a goblin. There is a vendor in Hero’s Rest that sells them with a vendor discount, which is absolutely key. Some other reputations also sell Orboreal shards, so check the wowhead page for whichever you have the most rep with to see where you can get it.
Running a successful leatherworking base legendary operation
Callous hides is the only thing that matters
More than 90% of the crafting cost will be callous hides. You need to get them cheaply. None of the other materials really matter much, but the callous hides are expensive as hell and you need so many. Always look for good deals, and it makes a lot of sense to look up the price patterns on The Undermine Journal to find the best approach.
You will most likely have to level enchanting to get cheaper access to Enchanted Heavy Callous Hides. The difference can often be as high as 100 gold per enchanted bar, which is huge. Without access to discounted crafting materials you are unlikely to be able to compete long term.
Leatherworking has a huge number of slots and you can get away with focusing on some of the faster selling ones. This includes: Boneshatter Pauldrons, Boneshatter Helm, and all of the Umbrahide pieces except the belt. Leather is generally the most popular armor class in the game, with several very popular classes, including several of the FOTM classes in PvE right now.
Lately the addon Legendary Stock Tracker has come to my attention. With this and the spreadsheet linked in the addon description on curseforge you can easily figure out which slots you are missing that are profitable. You simply type /lstock in chat with the AH open and copy the string to the spreadsheet.
The TSM Setup this time is fairly involved. Since TSM does not like the various ranks I have had to create separate operations for each rank. There is no crafting operation, as TSM cannot effectively restock. You will have to craft with the base UI to pick the right ranks and keep track of your stock manually. Hopefully they add full support down the line, but currently TSM will only work well to post your items. Keep in mind that the settings assume you are crafting your items yourself.
What do the strings in the operation mean
The operation strings take the matprice() of the various materials needed for a base legendary. This will use the default material price method to value your Callous hide, desolate leathers and pallid bones. The setup also assumes you can get the full discount for shards, hardcoding the Shard price at 100 gold. If you cannot then you should change the value in all the operations to whatever your current price is.