Future of the Custom Katana Series…

Hi Everyone,

First off, a quick update for casual readers of this blog (customers have already been notified some time ago) – but batch 21 of the custom Katana has ended up somewhat delayed due to two factors:

1) The most senior Smiths father died as we were trying to wrap everything up to go out before Chinese New Year – and naturally he stopped work to grieve and make arrangements for the funeral.

2) Half of the shipment went out before Chinese New Year, but the other half was not completed due to the Senior Smith absense, and as the Chinese New Year celebration lasts almost a full month, I regret to advise that for half of the shipment at least, we are again seriously behind schedule..

It’s all rather unfortunate, because as you can see from the pictures below – some of the swords in this batch are really quite special..

Some of the batch 21 swords (click for larger image)

And the blades have continued to improve, below you can see the prominent natural hamon that this line has been famous for, and the continually refined yokote line and boshi of the kissaki (tip), an area that is so often left unfinished or unsatsifactory on swords around this price point (simply because, it is so time consuming to do).

A batch 21 blade, note the true geometric kissaki with yokote and boshi

Sadly, it would seem that recently – every batch has been delayed much longer than what we are happy with – and the stresses of managing delayed shipments is really getting to be too much. But it is compounded by the fact that we are still selling these swords at 2008 prices despite massive increases in our costs, domestic and international shipping hikes and the fact that with more possible combinations than every before, the slightest error causes us to either remake the sword or offer some kind of compensation – and the losses have reached the point where it is no longer viable to continue the operation as it stands – especially when the amount of time spent managing the project is in the hundreds of hours per batch…

So as customers from batch 21 know, the future of the project is very uncertain..

As such, we are basically left with three choices:

1) Raise the base price and lower the number of orders within a batch to make it more manageable.  The demand is such that now when we open a batch, orders literally flood in and we have to close it up very quickly.

2) Create a new line, custom Katana 3.0 as it were, with less but better options (and again, at a higher base price). Options on ito colors and fittings will still be available, but blade lengths will be standardized and the fittings will be all iron and brass.


3) Call it a day and end the project entirely…

Essentially, we won’t know for certain which direction we will take until batch 21 is all in and accounted for, so I regret to advise to everyone who is waiting for batch 22 – I cannot provide an estimate as to when or if this will happen..

The only good news is that we do not plan on ending our relationship with the forge itself. Their blades are some of the best I have seen, and the SBG exclusive design line – such as the Black Dragon Katana, Yukiken and other limited edition designs that I create myself will continue, and indeed will likely grow larger as the year goes on. Indeed, right now we have two designs in stock and for sale – the SBG Black Dragon Ko Katana and the Oyabun Shirasaya (pictured below)

One of my own designs, the ‘Oyabun’ (Yakuza Godfather). More designs coming soon..

 Anyway, I really can’t say too much more until batch 21 comes in, the forge re-opens from the Chinese New Year shutdown and we sit down and do some serious price calculations..

I’ll keep you all posted, but in the meantime – thanks to everyone for their support. Hopefully we will be able to come up with something in the coming months – I already have some rather interesting designs for the SBG Limited Edition series – but in the meantime for the freestyle custom Katana series, let’s get batch 21 in and see..

Thanks all,

– Paul Southren

New Katana Customization Service Coming VERY soon!

Hi everyone,

Update time – and LOTS going on at the moment. Project X in stock sales are about to begin any moment now (the swords have all landed, been inspected and are basically ready) – the only thing I am waiting on is to complete some listings for a brand new service coming to SBG…

It’s in it’s infancy, and you will see it on the site literally ANY time now (just doing the final testing to make sure that it will work the way it is supposed to). So stay tuned – it’s not going to be cheap as it is a premium service (our customizer is an experienced Japanese Sword Art Sensei based out of Oregon), but it WILL open up a world of options for our customers like never before!

The full skinny will be revealed in the February edition of our online magazine the Sword Buyers Digest due to come out early in the morning of the 1st of Feb, so if you haven’t already I suggest you subscribe!

In the meantime, just wanted to add that Cheness orders will face a shipping lag from now until after the 8th of February as they are taking some time off for Chinese/Lunar New Year (2013 is the year of the snake) – so while you can still place orders for their products they will not ship until around tuesday the 12th.

Got to get back into the fray so talk to you all again soon!

– Paul

Catching Up after the Holidays

Well, the holidays are finally over – it has been a fairly frustrating time to be honest as most of our affiliated shippers and warehouses closed down between Christmas and today, but the vast majority of orders have been shipped by now and by next week things should be completely back to normal.

I should have taken some time off over the period as with all our warehouses closed there was not a lot I could do other than to field emails and concerns. But it is a relief to finally be more or less on top of things, though there are still some bits and pieces that I am trying to get to over the weekend.

With all this activity, I have not been able to post about some new additions to the store – most notably a new special deal by Valiant Armory on their base model Norwich Falchion pictured below:

This Angus Trim designed blade is a SERIOUS medieval cutter, and normally sells for $360 – but is now on closeout, down from $288 to a ridiculous $216 with FREE SHIPPING in the USA and Canada.

Also in the HOT SPECIALS section of the store I am pleased to say that the special Raptor Offer is back – it’s been offered a couple of times in the past but you never can tell how long it will last or when the next time (or even if there will be a next time) will be..

I’ll be posting again soon as in between the utter Chaos of the Christmas holiday season we have been working hard on some new Projects, as well as preparing for the first release of the Project X in stock landed swords – more on this again soon!

– Paul

Pre-Christmas Update

Well, it has been a busy and interesting few weeks in the lead up to Christmas.

We have had several specials come and go, notably the two Christmas Ninja specials from Hanwei, and on the 21st the long anticipated Ronin Restock arrived introducing several new models including my personal favorite of the line up thus far, the strikingly attractive Black on black tsuka with blood red saya 30″ blade ‘Trapped Oni Soul’ Katana pictured below.

Plus I think the new model 18 with it’s green silk ito is rather special looking…

  You can see them all in the SBG Sword Store here (there are over 1,000 Katana in stock).

Naturally, with Christmas now literally around the corner and with most delivery services only having three days between now and new years when they will be actively shipping, any orders placed now will take a little longer to process and arrive. But apart from a couple of days when I will be spending time with my 5 year old daughter over Christmas, the SBG Sword Store will still be open – though communication with some of our affiliated warehouses may be slow as many are either on or about to go on holidays. But I’ll do my best to stay in touch with you and help out with anything as much as possible.

I’ll post again before the new year is over as there will be a few (very) special offerings available that we have been sitting on for one reason or another. But in the meantime, have a great and Merry Christmas!!!

– Paul

Christmas Madness!

It’s a mad house around here – with Christmas just around the corner there are shipments flying every which way, the stragglers from batch 20 of the SBG custom Katana going out – you name it, it’s happening!

But to top it all off, we had a couple of Hanwei sales recently – most notably the Hanwei Practical Ninjato that ended up selling out within 24 hours..! (actually, the Ninjas got to them! I’m not kidding, someone else snapped them up from the warehouse and will probably sell them at a much higher price – we had to reverse 5 orders within a day due to this sadly)..

Anyway, with Christmas FAST approaching – and because sword deliveries are not instantaneous – if you haven’t already now is definitely the time to get any sword orders that you want by Christmas in. Usually we don’t advertise Christmas sales because our store is not amazon.com – we are a small business, not a corporate giant shipping machine.

But this year, especially on the Hanwei’s, we thought “why not” as their warehouse is almost hands down the most effecient in the industry – so when two more deals came along on two extremely cool swords, we jumped on them.

And I suggest if you find them of interest you do the same, especially on that stunning Iga Ninjato in the hot specials section because I would not be surprised if they are snatched up again super fast..

For other products in our store, it’s probably getting a bit too late to order anything else other than a Cheness sword. Here is there official ‘when to order by’ schedule:

International orders, Hawaii, Alaska, PR – Orders needs to be placed by Friday November 30th
PO Boxes in the continental US – Orders needs to be placed by Friday December 14th
Continental US (Eastern, Central) – Orders needs to be placed by Midnight Monday, December 17th
Continental US (West Coast) – Orders needs to be placed by Midnight Thursday, December 20th.

 Personally, I feel it’s leaving it a bit close – as we get closer to Christmas packages fly every which way but where they are supposed to, and delays are to be expected. So if there is something you want, seriously, now is the time to get it..

Once the Hanwei sale is over we will be bowing out of the Christmas madness and concentrating on making sure that any existing Christmas orders make it there in time.

But yes, in the meantime – if you are in need of a sword for Christmas, don’t wait another second..

For our Christmas Specials, please visit the Hot Specials section