I’ve just come back from a short business trip to Vietnam to catch up with my friend and business associate Sam from Ryujin Swords as I documented in the November edition of the Sword Buyers Digest Online Magazine (click here for access to that issue from our backissues section of the main site if you aren’t a subscriber or haven’t seen it already) and so of course have some catching up to do of my own now..
First order of business, update the status of Project X Japanese – which actually went slightly OVER our limit of 30 swords..
Luckily I have caught it in time so we don’t overwhelm the forges limited capabilities to produce these stunning blades – but for anyone who wanted to get in on this round, sorry but we will not be taking orders again until approximately February/March 2020 (or once the vast majority of existing orders have been completed – for real time updates and more information, sign up to the Project X Newsletter).
We have just surpassed the 80% point for Project X Japanese – and last time that happened, the last few spots were gobbled up in a matter of days..
It’s no real surprise that despite the relatively high price tag (which is actually a total bargain, these swords are easily worth at least twice as much as what we are charging for them) – orders for Project X Japanese have been coming in hard and fast over the course of this month. So if you want the good stuff that ‘John West didn’t reject’ – here it is.
At least, for the next few days – after which it won’t be until sometime in 2020 that the next opportunity will present itself..
Don’t miss out..
Forge Direct Japanese – supply and demand issues..
Pitting one forge against another can be good for the sword buyer.
In the case of Forge Direct – a price drop from $899 to $699 for the ‘standard’ Forge Direct Custom Katana (if there is such a thing as a ‘standard’ custom Katana!) – but it can lead to some other issues. Namely, supply not being able to meet the demand.
Since the price drop and special promotions, we have literally been flooded with orders for these swords that are second in quality ONLY to Project X (though the truth is, it’s a little bit subjective too – the main difference is that Project X is an advanced laminate while Forge Direct are simply the best made T10 blades on the market. Period – so it depends on what you like really).
With demand exceeding the forges capacity to supply them and a total refusal to send out an inferior quality or flawed blade for the sake of speed – we are a bit backlogged right now. And there are still some supply chain issues with some of the more exotic hand made or hand painted saya and fitting sets for reasons that are too complicated to go into in this blog post (such as the saya below – it takes time to do something like that by hand)
So we highly recommend that if you want to get ahead of the queue you order NOW as the later you leave it, the longer it will take to complete your order.
Okay, I’ve been working around 14 hours straight with only coffee and the occasional snack to keep me going, but we made it..
Project X Japanese is live and ready to order. Indeed, subscribers to the Project X newsletter have already jumped in and out of the 30 pre-order spots available, 20% have already been snapped up!
And then, the one that gave me the biggest headache – changing the pricing and options on Forge Direct Japanese. After much number crunching, some prices are slightly higher than we anticipated and others slightly lower, but when you consider what you can get for your money with even the basic options, well – the value for money factor is off the charts..
In addition to this however, I have also been spending countless hours creating pages explaining all about the two product lines, both the pros and the cons of each, and then a mammoth of a page for Forge Direct here which lists full size images of all the available components so you never have to squint to figure out what the design looks like again.
For your ease of reference, here are the new relevant pages:
These pages are not 100% complete yet and will need to revamp the page about the differences between the various custom lines we have and create a few more helpful pages, as the more info you have, the easier it is to make a clear decision right?
So enjoy the new prices, products and sword buying opportunities. Like I said, its not perfect yet – there’s still more tweaking to do – but right now even coffee number 18 won’t keep me up any longer, time for a rest and then we get back into it! Phew..
If you notice any errors, PLEASE contact me directly so I can fix them. I will be going over everything a second and third time, but as a typical male can quite easily miss small details that are glaringly obvious to a casual visitor but completely invisible to me because I am seeing what I expect to see, not necessarily what is actually there.
Now its over to you.
Have a look at both lines and see what you think. It’s been a lot of hard work, but I stake my reputation on both of these swords as being some of the best if not THE best custom Katana anywhere near the under-priced point we are offering them for..
Time for a little nap and then straight back into it so that I can be ready for business as usual on Monday. Hope you like what you see – it’s been months in the making, and with so many different options available all based on the very best Katana around, I’m pretty sure it won’t be all that hard to make a design from one series or the other that you will fall in love with..
We were originally planning this for late September, but delays getting information on some possible new options for Forge Direct Swords and preparing three new models for Project X took up more time than I had available (end of the month is always crazy busy – and is usually taken up writing each edition of the Sword Buyers Digest Online Magazine).
So let’s get down to brass tacks.
PROJECT X JAPANESE
Round one of the customizable Project X Japanese was a resounding success – so much so that we have several customers wishing to order a second sword! Only 30 places are available, and once filled it will take 3-4 months before they are complete and so after this, the next opportunity to buy them will be sometime in February 2020.
What we learned is that with complex lamination, you can’t rush the process. As with in Japan, it often takes 4-5 swords to make one good one (with the scraps being picked up by the eBayers) but from the feedback we have been getting so far, 3-4 months is not a long time to wait for such a quality item.
But that’s not all, for as I believe I mentioned in a previous post – three new models will be joining the round 2 line up. Whether or not they are permanent additions or one off’s remains to be seen, but here’s a sneak preview..
From left to right, the Miyamoto Elite has several FREE upgrades in exchange for less custom options. For even less options, and for those who like to keep it simple and save a few extra $, there is the Kihon which only has a few sets to choose from and cannot be mixed and matched like the other lines. And finally the unique Black Crow Kogarasu with its double edged tip.
No matter what happens, the launch date begins on midnight Eastern time, 5th of October – only 30 pre-order slots are available and as per last time, we will show you how quickly the spots are being taken up so you don’t have to wait until February if you miss out on this round.
FORGE DIRECT JAPANESE
Meanwhile, the biggest reason for the delay launching Project X Japanese is we needed to make some big changes to our previous top of the range Custom Katana, the Forge Direct line.
The base price of all models will be coming down significantly, but at the same time we are also offering MORE optional extras to make up for it and allow you to take your forge design sword to a whole new level. Plus I am also in the process of creating a page on the blog showing large resolution pics of EVERY custom component so you can see it up VERY close and make out every detail. And then there will also be more custom options like with Project X and the soon to be discontinued SBG Custom Katana.
For example, one popular custom option we have been asked for many times is a leather wrapped tsuka. Here’s an example of one about to be wrapped at the forge (and yes, they too will have hishigami).
And then there are the saya. Forge Direct Japanese will have even more saya than ever before for the standard custom Katana, though we will be forced to charge extra for the most ornate ones, many – especiallu those that are hand painted – worth more than many entry level swords alone.
And finally, a folded steel option and maybe even a laminated version too (we aren’t 100% on the lamination yet, but here is an example of what the folded version looks like).
As mentioned, confirming these modifications, pricing them and making sure we don’t hurt the reputation of either brand is what has been slowing things down so much.
Regardless and come what may, at the stroke of midnight on the 5th, Project X opens up come hell or high water. And if it all goes to plan, so does the lower priced Forge Direct Custom Katana with more options than you can poke a sword at..
At the end of the day, the Forge Direct Katana will be more affordable and with more options and take only around 2 months to make, while the Project X series have far more complex blades and higher price, higher quality fittings and take around twice as long to make (and is only available in batches until we are 100% confident we can run it all year round like we can with Forge Direct).
The countdown to the best deals and the best Katana designs ever made at SBG has begun.
In the meantime, we STRONGLY recommend you sign up to the exclusive Project X Newsletter. If you knew the bonuses and extras available to subscribers, you would sign up in a heartbeat..
Until Project X Japanese revived itself with its new premium Soshu Kitae Laminated Custom Katana line – our premium offering for custom made Katana were the T10 blades made by the Master Smiths at a different forge. Well known for exceptional handling, effortless cutting on a wide variety of targets and excellent build quality and QC control – priced so close to the Project X blades, they are feeling the pinch (basically, this is the two best forges in Longquan with their best Katana going head to head!).
As such, we have negotiated a serious price reduction in the entire Forge Direct Katana Line and trimmed down our prices as low as they can go WITHOUT sacrificing the quality and the QC this line is known for (99% satisfaction rate!)
The Forge Direct Price Mark Downs
Each sword in the series has been permanently marked down, and as usual, every penny of the savings are passed on to you guys. So now it’s $799.99 $699.99 for the Laminated Muramasa$899.99 $749.99 for the standard custom Katana, $999 $879.99 for the O-Katana and $699.99, $549.99 for a Wakizashi or Ko Katana (sorry, we don’t have good enough fittings available to make a decent matching Tanto as well).
The only bad news is that because some of the saya in series are considerably more ornate and expensive to make than others (Some cost us over $150), the high end ones will have to be made as optional extras.
The good news is though is that from now on every saya will have buffalo horn components. (We would love to be able to keep these high end saya in with the price reduction, but the margins are so thin now we require an additional charge so we don’t end up losing the shirts off our backs).
In addition to lower pricing and the more custom options generally, the other major difference is lead time. From ordering to completion, the turnaround for a Forge Direct Katana is 4-6 weeks and is available almost all year round. Project X on the other hand still needs to be made in batches that only come around 3-4 times a year as they are so complicated to make that there will be a maximum of 30 swords per batch and the lead time will be 3-4 months..
So a longer wait and only available 3 times a year, but that’s what it takes these days to make the very best possible custom swords (and still quite reasonable when the waiting lists alone for some smiths is years)..
This will make choosing which custom sword to go for easier. Our very best blades take longer and a lot of patience is required – but because of what you end up with and all our quality guarantees – for those with the patience it is well worth the wait.
The ever popular Forge Direct Custom Katana on the other hand will be readily available almost all year round, has more custom options and boasts a simpler but incredibly beautiful and refined cutting blade that has to be seen in person to truly be appreciated.
And of course, with the the new price adjustments, they are several hundred dollars more affordable.
And of course, for those of you who want INSTANT gratification, there is the Ryujn Custom Katana line. All the blades and components are imported into the USA and assembled within a day or two based on what custom options you select.
Started well over a decade now, they were the original custom katana concept and model we hoped more honest businesses would follow and was originally designed as a valid alternative to the rip offs and fake custom swords being offered on eBay at the time..
Well, over the years the eBay sellers have gotten craftier, stronger and bolder with their claims to the point where the truth falls on deaf ears. Our attempts to underpromise and over-deliver simply cannot continue to compete with the aggressiveness of the China based sellers who overpromise and underdeliver (sometimes shockingly so – if you haven’t already, read THIS article on some of the hi-jinks these companies get up to – every dirty trick in the book and then some).
We can’t and won’t stoop to that level of lying about the steels used or promising something which we know we can’t make. So instead of going out with a whimper we will be going out with a bang. Later this month will be the FINAL Batch of the SBG Custom Katana.
Anyone who was ever on the fence about getting one or long thought about getting a matching blade of some type but never quite got around to it, the final opportunity to do so is coming very soon.
After this final batch is done, the only swords we will continue to get from the forge are some of our stocked designs like the Black Dragon Elite and other swords of my own design like my Yakuza tribute ‘Oyabun’ Shirasaya.
So that’s the situation!
In a few days time – the prices on the Forge Direct Katana line will drop, Project X will open up the second and last batch for 2019 and as Project X orders wind up, the final hurrah on the SBG Custom Katana line will begin accordingly. So stay tuned!!