There are a multitude of ways to acquire components. First, and most common, they can be salvaged from weapons and armor at a Blacksmithing Forge. The rarity of equipment that can be salvaged depends on your blacksmithing skill. Initially you can only do common items, but with a higher skill you can salvage infrequent and rare equipment. With very few exceptions, unique and armor set items cannot be salvaged.
Secondly, crafting components can be found as loot. Increasing your blacksmithing skill will increase both the quantity and quality of the components you can find in chests and on corpses. Also, the level of the region sets what quality components you can find. Flawless components can only be found in very high level regions.
Lastly, many animals can be harvested for components. These include antelope, scuttlecrabs, and aurochs. These components also come in different qualities, and they are sometimes better than similarly leveled regular components.
Core components are your bread and butter. They form the base of your crafted items. A core component is always required when you are blacksmithing. Core components supply either a base level of damage or armor, depending on the item being crafted. They very rarely have other effects.
A list of core components and their uses are as follows:
These components form the meat of your item sandwich. Where core components only provide damage or armor, support components do that and more. Nearly every effect you see on a weapon or piece of armor can be added with support components. Those effects that can't be added with support components are either not available for custom equipment or must be provided with gems.
When crafting an item, you can choose three support components. The first is always required and is available regardless of your blacksmithing skill. The second and third are both optional (they can be skipped) and require higher blacksmithing levels to access.
A list of support components are as follows:
(*) - Component Required for Item
Rough Scales: +5% Bleeding Resist +5% Poison Resist
Serrated Scales: +10% Bleeding Resist +10% Poison Resist