With the long awaited (since around March this year!) and long delayed restock of swords from our friends at Ryujin Swords, including the classic bo-hi and solid bodied blade versions of their standard Shinogi Zukuri Custom Katana series and associated sub swords comes some news that is NOT so welcome..
Long dreaded price increases..
You see, the pandemic has been putting massive upward price pressure on pretty much everything around the world – and we have been warning that swords were not going to be exempt. But with global shipping jammed up and at unprecedentedly high prices, we are completely unable to absorb all of the additional costs and have been forced to raise prices accordingly.
This is not something that we take lightly – we fight price rises at every turn and do our best to absorb additional costs at our end for as long as we possibly can. But while we are absorbing a lot – we cannot afford to shoulder all the additional costs – so while the restock is great news, prices are a little higher on all the restocked swords and components..
While prices are a little higher, the increase is MUCH lower than it should be – but with the holiday season rapidly closing in on us, continued worldwide shipping chaos and spiraling inflation pushing on us we worry that this is just the start of a disturbing new trend.
So grab what you can while the prices are still relatively low (we really went out of our way to bear as much of the cost increase as we could muster), because at the end of the day we just don’t know how long we can hold them down:
P.S. We ALSO have a lot of price pressure on our flat rate $20 shipping for 2 swords and FREE shipping on 3 or more. This is becoming very unsustainable – so do not be surprised if we are also forced to overhaul shipping prices in the not too distant future.
While the industry generally is still struggling to restock and find the ‘new normal’ balanced between supply and demand, we are pleased to show you some brand new (and quite revolutionary) swords from our friends at Ryujin Swords.
First up, an almost perfect entry level traditional Katana from the new Sengetsu (War moon) series.
With tightly wrapped cotton itomaki, solid brass Samurai themed fittings and a beautiful, traditional 1095 carbon steel blade with unenhanced natural hamon – this sword ticks all the boxes, and is amazing value at just $229.99.
The next sword is one of the most unique, standing tall at the head of new releases of the so called ‘Art Line’ of Swords – and boy is this one unique..
With a stunning mix of folded 1045 and 1060 carbon steel it has a very prominent Damascus steel pattern – and a very unique, serrated forge hammered spine – again for just $229.99 (click here to see the pictures, the patterning really is something else).
Following hot on it’s heels, 5 more art swords – but these ones are a bit different..
While most swords under $100 use very cheap wooden saya that are prone to crack and rarely fit as well as they should, the new art swords line uses form fitting, crack and scratch resistant PVC plastic – taking the best of modern manufacturing processes on their line of well tempered, and great value, $69.95 range of 1045 carbon steel blades.
And one last addition to the line up, a sword that pictures really do not do it justice on – the new Ryujin Oxtail Dao with a whopping 30.5″ blade makes it the largest sword of all those listed here today (though it does not look it).
It was the very first sword in Jason Woodard’s Doomsday Series and it stretched the capabilities of Chris Palmer’s small family business forge in every capacity – creating these swords with longer blades that he specializes in. And over time, it became apparent that not every blade leaving his workshop was receiving the benefits of the heat treatment that was the foundation of the toughness his short bladed swords were famous for..
It was a rocky time as swords were recalled, refunded or exchanged. And out of the ashes it rises once again – the Badlands Katana Version 2.0
After learning that the longer blades were hit and miss in the heat treat department, Jason Woodard went back to the drawing board to redesign his flagship sword. Below is a picture of the original Badland Katana 1.0:
To ensure it had the same basic mass and cutting power, Jason widened and shortened the blade – optimizing it for the cut and creating a unique design that still keeps to the spirit and the cutting power he first envisaged.
After discussing the design features in detail, Chris went to work cutting out the basic shape that would be the template for all future orders of this design – grinding the beveled edge, drilling holes for the multiple steel pins that peg it all together and adding a shallow fuller to the blades spine.
From there it is given a proper heat treatment – something that proved difficult to achieve a consistently good temper with on the original Badland Katana, but is more reliable and predictable when making the shorter blade styles like version 2.0. Below you can see clearly how the steel looks very different where it has been tempered and where it has been left as is to allow for a shock resistant handle.
Once tempered, the sword is cleaned up, refined, polished, sharpened and mounted by pinning and epoxying in Black Mircarta scales on the handle, later bound with deerskin.
I think the end results speak for themselves..
Available to order below, the other previously discontinued swords in the Doomsday line are also in the process of being redesigned and updated, so stay tuned! But in the meantime, check it out below:
Some more good news! Following hot on the heels of the successful relaunch of the Forge Direct Custom Katana we are pleased to see the second major restock for Cas Iberia, one of the largest sword companies around whose brands include Paul Chen’s Hanwei Forge, A.P.O.C., Kingston Arms, Dragon King and more..
With this restock, we see a temporary increase of sword stock across the board. However, as there is a LOT of pent up demand, many of the best and most popular items are not going to remain restocked for very long..
As such, NOW is the perfect time to check what is currently on offer in each of their restocked product lines. So take a quick look and see for yourself if something has come back that you had your eye on now is the best time to pull the trigger because despite a lot of pressure to do so, we have NOT raised our prices yet – and the most popular items are likely to sell out in a matter of days:
It has been over a year in the making, but we are over the moon to advise our customers that one of our best quality products – our flagship of the Forge Direct Japanese Sword line – the Custom Katana, is finally taking new commissions!
The biggest change between the current version, the Custom Katana 4.70 and 3.0 is we have had to re-release it with a standard blade length of 28″ (measured from the munemachi – the back notch of the habaki to the tip, add around an extra 1.5″ if measuring from the guard) which is pretty much the default for a comfortable feeling sword for the majority of modern practitioners (who are on the average, a fair bit taller than historical Samurai).
While we realize that this may preclude some people with specific blade lengths in mind from ordering this time around, it was either this or order 400 saya just to be able to take the first order, so for those of you requiring different blade lengths, please wait until we release a specific new sword design in a specific blade length (feel free to email me with suggestions as to what blade length you might need).
For everyone else who just wants a REALLY nicely made blade in beautiful custom fittings (now with hishigami as standard, plus buffalo horn kurikata on the saya), the wait is finally over and it is time to fire up the forge..
We already mentioned it, but there are four main changes between the current incarnation of this sword (version 4.0) and when we closed off on new orders in June 2020 (version 3.0):
Fixed blade length of 28″ (this is non-negotiable)
Hishigami triangles now used as standard
Buffalo horn kurikata on every saya (the higher end ones often have more)
And we have narrowed down the saya selection to only the most popular models
To this end, I want to preserve the old pics of the previous saya options in case previous customers need it as a reference, so here it is. The old saya options from the Custom Options Page (which has of course been updated to reflect what is on offer for version 4.0).
FOR POSTERITY: The Old Forge Direct Saya Options
Elite Saya (additional charges usually apply)
We absorb as much and sometimes ALL of the extra charges we face with these higher end to truly Elite level Saya. Because of this, they are not sold separately and only one saya can be ordered per sword.
Please also note that the hand painted swords may add additional time to the total lead time as each colored layer is allowed to dry.
While it does seem a little sad to have to reduce the saya options down from 35 choices to only 8 – when we checked our records we found that time and time again, our customers selected almost exclusively from the 8 saya we selected. And so being forced to have to try and make saya ahead of taking orders to keep production times tight, we let our past customers good taste guide us and so what is available is the most popular designs around.
It seems that while the other saya are nice to look at, the 8 we settled on are the ones that people actually want to own..
When I see what they choose from, I have to admit – our customers have good taste!