As the clock ticks away…

…I’ve been busy adding quite a few options in preparation for batch 19. And I must admit, I am pretty excited by what has just been readied..

First off, the blog itself has been restructured slightly – you can sign up to be notified when there is a new post towards the top, there is a search box to the right which will search through both the site and the store for any SBG custom Katana related questions – the countdown to Batch 19 ticks away at the top of the blog, and quite a few other tweaks of one kind or another (better internal linking, a page with bigger pics of all the components, etc).

But the real meat and potatoes added is a brand new page which lists no fewer than 80 new tsubas that we can source for an additional $20! Check them all out here:

Special Order Tsuba List

If that wasn’t enough, due to frequent requests, we have added two new major options to the extras line up – blade and tsuka extensions! (though not both, as to do so creates a sword that sticks out too much from the others and cannot be batched effectively).

Tsuka’s from 12″ to 14″ long for those with big hands or who just prefer a longer handle, from $20 to $30 extra depending on length.

Blades from 30″ to 33″ long (O-Katana) for an additional $20 per inch added.

You can see both options listed at the bottom of the SBG Katana order page here.

Add all of the available options now together and I really have no idea just how many possible combinations there are! But no doubt about it, Batch 19 has more variety than ever before – I really look foward to seeing the designs people come up with!

Ok, well, that’s enough for now – plenty more behind the scenes preparation that needs to be done over the next 4 and 1/2 days to launch, and still several hundred emails to get around to, so sign up to the blog notifcation list to keep abreast of it all! 🙂

– Paul

It’s nearly time!

Indeed, to be precise – a date has been set for the opening of batch 19 click on the custom Katana page to see the countdown!

In the meantime I have been updating the SBG custom Katana pages (as it kind of grew ‘organically’ over the years, it had become a bit confusing) and hopefully making some things a bit clearer, as well as providing all the various links (like to this very blog and the FAQ) all in one spot. Was actually quite interesting as I found some bad links and some information I had forgotten I had even put on there (as a webmaster, THAT is definitely a sign that an update is in order if ever there is one! Lol).

Batch 18 – the one sent to the forge on the 25th of November is going out to my agent this week, and as promised here are a few pics from the forge of some random blades! 🙂

Quite a bit of prep work from now, plus batch 18 incoming and I don’t know how many emails to get to (I prefer to deal with SBG custom enquiries shortly before a new batch opens as I want to provide the most up to date information) so if you are waiting on an email from me, please bear with me just a bit longer.

Shipping module update

Just a quick note about the newly added shipping module – while I tested it extensively before roll out, a customer recently emailed me to advise that he was having trouble – and it would appear that there is one ordering scenario that it has trouble getting its ‘head’ around.

If you order more than one sword with a different shipping price (for example, a SBG Katana with free shipping and a Cheness iaito with $30 shipping) the system gets confused and doesn’t know which shipping rate to use – and despite spending the better part of a day trying to teach it this simple concept, it still doesn’t ‘get’ it.. (gotta love computers!).

Anyway, sorry about this – but for the time being if you wish to place an order for more than one product with different shipping rates (i.e. the example above of a free shipping offer and a $30 shipping option) please place two seperate orders.. 🙁

Hopefully I should be able to find a better solution to this shortly – as SBG ships from several different warehouses it’s hard to make the software understand when it thinks everything is coming from the one central spot.

We will figure it out (note – the store and site is still working fine, apart from this one scenario. If someone does find something else not adding up right with the shipping though please let me know and we will get it working like it should).

Thanks all,
– Paul

Store Functionality Upgrades

Over the coming weeks and months I will be spending a lot of time updating the store and working on ways to make my customers experiences better.

Two of these changes have been added in the last couple of days – the first one is a much better and more robust shipping module. In the past we had some orders come in for products that cannot be shipped to some countries, or that did not automatically calculate the shipping cost which created a fair amount of extra work and delayed the order. This has since been fixed, and it would seem the new module is doing a great job.

The second update is an ‘out of stock’ notifier so if you click the order button on a sword that is out of stock you get the option to enter your email address and be notified when it comes back in.

Many more changes and updates are on the books – our goal is and has never been to be the biggest store. The store is, after all, just a way to fund the site and SBG community. So competing with normal sword stores is not something that we want to or will do – the more varied the vendors the better for everyone!

Our goal has always been to highlight a few really good swords that are not widely distributed elsewhere – and do it in a way that makes it as easy and informative for the sword buyer as possible.

More coming on this shortly, we have some very exciting months ahead. 🙂

Talk again soon,
– Paul

Batch 18 and 19 – quick update

Ok, just a very quick update – I’m actually waiting on some pictures from the forge of batch 18 – but in the meantime, since we are a bit overdue for an update, this quick blog update will have to suffice.

Batch 18 is running a couple of weeks behind schedule as suspected due to the Chinese New Years celebration that lasted the better chunk of January, but the forge promised 100% completion by the 21st of March at the worst.

Naturally I am waiting until the swords are completed and shipped out from the forge to my agent in Canada before opening up on new orders for batch 19. So in the meantime I will be contacting everyone who has asked a question about the custom swords as we usually prefer to answer such questions as close as possible to when we start to take new orders again to ensure we provide the most up to date information (because as anyone who has been following the SBG custom Katana over the years will know that we do add new options and improvements every few batches).

Anyway, just wanted to let you all know where we are up to – stay tuned, not long to go if you are waiting for your sword to come in or waiting to place your order.

– Paul