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Are there any feats, classes that can be multi-classed into, or any other mechanic, that would give someone expertise in smith's tools (i.e. double their proficiency bonus), that don't require one to start as a certain class? I was trying and failing to find any.

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The only way I can find relies on Unearthed Arcana material, and requires that you not have proficiency with smith's tools, so it may or may not be useful to you.

The Artificer, from Unearthed Arcana, gets this feature:

Tool Expertise

Starting at 2nd level, your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses any of the tool proficiencies you gain from this class.

Since Unearthed Arcana isn't designed to be multiclassed, we don't know whether you would gain tool proficiencies when multiclassing into it. Luckily, we can choose the Gunsmith archetype, which gives us this feature:

Master Smith

When you choose this specialization at 1st level, you gain proficiency with smith’s tools, and you learn the mending cantrip.

So assuming your DM allows you to use Unearthed Arcana material, and allows multiclassing with it despite it not being designed for multiclassing, 2 levels in Artificer will get you expertise in smith's tools.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I had held out hope that this wasn't the only way, as multi-classing into UA classes is disallowed in my current game, but having someone else come to the same conclusion gives some finality to the matter, thanks. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 3 '18 at 22:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ It may just be because I'm missing context, but I feel like you're using a very narrow interpretation of "gain from this class". It might be something of a waste to take Master Smith but you would still be gaining the proficiency from the class, if you already had it. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 20 '19 at 10:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note: the artificer has since appeared in a 2018 UA (where the Tool Expertise feature appears at 3rd level, and applies to any tool you're proficient with), and finally published in Eberron: Rising from the Last War and in the updated version of Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron (in which the feature appears at 6th level, and again benefits any ability check made with a tool you're proficient with). You might want to update the answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Nov 23 '19 at 2:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ A quick note as well, the Rune Knight Fighter archetype from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has access to the Fire Rune at level 3, and while holding it you double your proficiency bonus for any ability check you make using a tool you're proficient with. \$\endgroup\$
    – RallozarX
    Dec 5 '20 at 1:44
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The Prodigy feat (Xanathar's Guide to Everything) lets you gain a tool proficiency. You must be human or half-human.

The Warforged from Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron gets Specialized Design, which also does this.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think either of these let you get a tool expertise, only a tool proficiency. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 20 '19 at 10:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Specialised Design combined with Integrated Tool would actually get you expertise in a tool, if you want to update your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Feb 20 '19 at 10:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note: the warforged no longer have subraces in Eberron: Rising from the Last War and in the updated version of Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron. All warforged now have the Specialized Design trait (gain a skill proficiency and a tool proficiency), but they no longer have the Integrated Tool expertise that granted expertise in a proficient tool. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Nov 23 '19 at 2:10

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