Northwest Passage Tools Inc. is a company formed by a group of enthusiastic Canadian hobbyist woodworkers, who enjoy working with well-designed, good quality tools. We have long been fans and customers of various contemporary woodworking toolmakers including Lee Valley/Veritas, Lie Nielsen, Blue Spruce Toolworks, Bad Axe Tool Works, and many others. Many of these companies not only make high quality tools, but also put a lot of thought into the design and ergonomics of what they are making; often taking the best ideas from traditional tools, but not being afraid to go in different directions or make extensive changes if they think there is a benefit.
In 2016, Bridge City Tool Works decided to license the manufacturing of their tool designs to a company in China to better serve the international market outside of the USA and also to protect their intellectual property from unauthorized copying in Asia. The Chinese Company that BCTW licensed to make the tools, Harvey Industries, was the same company making the Chopstick MasterTM for them and their quality system is ISO 9001 certified.
When we heard about this development, we decided to take this opportunity to form a company to distribute these Chinese made BCTW tools in Canada as we wanted to make these high quality, reasonably priced tools available to the Canadian market, with the goal of making these tools available at about half of the cost of the American-made versions. We were one of the first international distributors of these Chinese made Bridge City Tool Works tools, starting in March of 2017.
However in August of 2018 we made the decision to stop selling BCTW tools, once our current stock is sold. Harvey Industries purchased BCTW from John Economaki in August of 2018 and they increased their prices twice in only three months - basically almost doubling the price of their tools. Although these are great tools, we no longer feel that they are as good a value at these higher prices. Another factor in this decision was the various geopolitical issues between China and the rest of the world at the present time.
After starting to sell the tools from Bridge City Tool Works, we also decided that we will add tools from other manufacturers if they meet our criteria of being well designed, high quality and a good value. We also like being able to offer tools to Canadian Woodworkers from manufacturers that we think are under represented in North America and deserve more exposure here. Since November 2017, we have added Shinwa measuring tools from Japan, B&B Artigiana Rasps from Italy, Tome Feteira Rasps from Portugal, Narex Chisels from the Czech Republic, and Thor Hammers from the UK. We plan on adding additional tools in early 2019, starting with Shapton GlassStones in April.
The NWPT Team