Northwest Passage Tools Inc. is a small 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.
One of our favorite toolmakers is Bridge City Tool Works from Portland Oregon USA. Since being established in 1983, their founder John Economaki has designed many beautiful, innovative tools, that are a joy to use. Their tool designs are often thoughtful renderings of traditional tools, made to a very high standard, with various functional improvements. However, many are also unique and original designs that present a completely new and better way of performing a task.
We love woodworking, but had never planned on trying to sell tools, let alone a great brand like Bridge City Tool Works. However, in 2016, they 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 BCT licensed to make the tools, 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 small company to distribute these Chinese made BCT tools in Canada as we wanted to make these high quality, reasonably priced tools available to the Canadian market. We were one of the first international distributors of these Chinese made Bridge City Tool Works tools, starting in March of 2017.
At the time that Harvey Industries in China started making the BCT tools, part of the licensing agreement was that the quality of the tools had to be as good or better than the made in the USA versions and the quality is monitored by BCTW USA. Now as a further development, Harvey Industries has purchased BCTW USA, so these Chinese made versions of the tools will also be available in the USA. The quality of these tools will continue to be monitored by John Economaki, who was the president and chief tool designer for BCTW USA.
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. We will sell these others tool brands in Canada, but will also ship them worldwide if there is interest.
The NWPT Team