Project X - Model 003 "Kurobuke" Katana Mk II - Custom OptionBe the first one to write a review
Premium Quality, Master Smith Forged Soshu Kitae Blade with custom options. Due to complex nature of the Soshu Kitae lamination and the difficulty of making these blades to our high standards, please allow 3 to 4 months for completion.
About the Kurobuke Model 003 Mk II
The Kurobuke, model 003 of Project X Japanese, means "Dark Warrior" in Japanese. Not necessarily evil, dark in this case refers to the outsiders and the rebels, and the default design is a tribute to the legendary Ronin and 'Sword Saint' (Kensai) Miyamoto Musashi.
The default iron tsuba was actually designed by the infamous sword saint himself and while initially appearing quite simple, is actually made up of a series of 9 concentric rings. Combined with all black fittings, the custom options for this sword are simple and classic in style yet have a distinctive streak of rebellious individualism running through them.
To properly compliment the beauty of the blade, all fittings used are the best quality available - real silk ito wraps with hishigami triangles used for extra tightness and perfectly even lines, buffalo horn inserts on all saya, FULL premium quality rayskin wraps (frequently with at least one prominent emperor node) - in short, no expenses are spared to ensure the end result is the absolute best of breed for any sword near this price point.
As each sword in the Project X series is made to order, most models allow various customization options so you can personalize the design without losing its theme or accidentally creating a rather ugly or bad handling sword. Customization is free and you can either leave the design as the default, customize it a little or customize it a lot. The choice is yours and you really can't go wrong - and if you want to you can also mix and match components that you like from other swords in the series.
About Project X Japanese
Quite simply, Project X is a collaborative effort between Ronin Katana, SBG and Longquan's top sword forge - all working together to create arguably some of the the absolute best quality Katana ever made outside of Japan.
The blades are hand forged by Certified Master Smiths in the Soshu Kitae tradition (seven panel steel). This school was developed by the legendary and all time greatest Japanese smith Masamune, and combines panels of hard, medium, and soft steels.
TYPES OF KATANA LAMINATION
Soshu Kitae Lamination - far right. It is by far the most complex and desirable lamination technique.
The core of the blade is formed from softer, more malleable steel giving it exceptional flexibility. A layer of slightly harder steel is bonded to each side of the core to add support. The last layers are a very hard steel bonded to the top, bottom, and both sides of the core forming the ha (cutting edge) mune (back edge) and shinogi-ji (blade flats). This form of laminar construction provided for a sword that could be sharpened to a razor edge due to the hardened steed used for the ha, but was extremely resilient to battle damage due to its softer more flexible core.
As a by product of the process, the blade features not only a hamon, but also attractive lamination lines, resulting in a very active and attractive blade with interplay between the lamination lines and hamon. Like a fingerprint, each blade is unique and has its own distinctive patterning.
The quality of the swords in the Project X series do not end with the blade - each is complimented with premium fittings across the board with no expenses spared. For example, each sword in the series has a rare FULL Samegawa rayskin base for added tsuka core integrity and is wrapped with premium grade silk ito using the traditional and time intensive hishigami technique, twisting each knot alternatively. Combined with the full same wrap, the end result is an extremely tight and even handle binding. But the upgrades do not end there, all Project X Katana swords have every upgrade possible - such as additional coatings of lacquer on the saya for a richer, more durable sheen, buffalo horn saya fittings, thick, ultra strong sageo - solid iron fuchigashira - you name it, these swords have it, creating the ultimate complete package.
I personally endorse these swords as the best of the best available anywhere near this price point, and in September 2012 went to the forge in Longquan to oversee production and was very happy with the results (In the gallery you can see some pictures of me inspecting the finished blades).
After several years of occasional and sporadic offerings and a further 2 years of hard work trying to convince the forge to 'go direct' and allow customized, made to order and shipped direct to the customer - we finally had a breakthrough. And in mid 2019, the first trial run of a custom made to order began.
At around the $1,000 mark they are not for everyone - but the value for money factor is off the scale - typically you would pay at least twice as much for a sword like this, but that is not how SBG does business.. Instead, we mark up the price just enough to cover our costs and stay in business allowing discerning collectors to get the best around for considerably less than what the true market value would otherwise be for such a high quality sword.
Add in the ability to tweak and customize almost every aspect of the blade and the fittings and its not just amazing value, it's next level. In short:
If you want the best - THIS is it..
For more information please read the full article and overview of the Project here: Full Details and Project Overview
Blade lamination: Soshu Kitae seven panel steel Steel: 1095/1060/1045
Tempering: Differentially hardened (clayed) and water quenched
Rockwell Hardness: 62 edge / 40 spine
Fittings: Iron tsuba fuchi, kashira, and menuki
Kurikata, Koiguch, Kojirii: Polished buffalo horn
Polish: Japanese finger stone polish.
Blade length (Nagasa): 28 inches (habaki to tip)
Tang: Full tang with Ronin kanji.
Grip: 10.5 inches
Wrap: Premium Silk ito over FULL ray skin wrap.
Saya: Silk sageo buffalo horn inserts, double coated lacquer
Weight: 2lbs. 9 oz
Motohaba: 1.25 in
Sakihaba: 0.8 in
POB: 5" from tsuba
Each Project X Katana is made to order and as such, most can also be customized to taste. Though instead of total free for all customization which can result in an ugly or unwieldy design - each product only comes with a carefully chosen selection of custom options that will enhance and personalize the theme without destroying it.
Most customizations are exclusive to that particular sword design, though if you want to go totally freestyle, simply email us with what you have in mind and we will see what we can do. Otherwise, to customize your sword, change the desired component from default to the item that you would like it to be changed to and submit your order.
Here are the customization options available for model # 003:
1) Custom Blade Length (measured from the munemachi to the kissaki)
2) Custom Length of Handle
4) Custom Tsuba and fittings
5) Custom Menuki
6) Custom Saya
7) Bo-hi or solid bodied blade
8) Optional Extra: Folded steel (in addition to Soshu Kitae lamination and Choji hamon)
After you have selected your desired blade and handle length, it is time to select a tsuba. The tsuba presented below are all based on actual Edo period antiques and are designed with the freelance bounty hunter warrior style in mind.
The following selection of Iron Tsuba are available instead of the classic Musashi 9 ring tsuba. More solid shapes will shift the balance point back subtly while lighter styles and sukashi (cut outs) will increase the cutting power, shifting the balance point ever so slightly more towards the kissaki. The square shaped tsuba was actually outlawed in the Edo period - combine it with a red saya and you have a classic 'Kabukimono' (Japanese Feudal 'punk') style.
Custom Menuki (handle ornaments)
If you don't like the default dragon themed menuki (handle ornaments) you can have it swapped out with any of the following optional menuki.
Optional Custom Saya
There are five 'Ronin' warrior themed saya to choose from. The default is the glossy black, but a textured black saya is also available which tends to minimize the appearance of fingerprints and scratches. Further down the selection is a lacquered brown wrap of rattan to reinforce the saya and break up the all black theme with a little variation in color. Second to last is a glossy black saya with an Oni engraving (from Kill Bill) and the final choice for the ultimate rebel - bright red. All saya come with premium buffalo horn fittings - koiguchi, kojiri and kurikata.
Bo-hi or No-hi
Select if you would like a blade with a bo-hi (fuller) which runs the full length of the blade and terminates in a traditional hand carved triangular pattern as opposed to the typical machine made rounded version. A blade with bo-hi tends to be slightly lighter and faster, making a louder wooshing sound (called 'Tachi Kaze') when it cuts through the air. A solid bodied blade without a bo-hi tends to deliver more powerful cuts and is the more durable construction method of the two.
OPTIONAL EXTRA: Folded Steel
In addition to the Soshu Kitae lamination and Choji hamon, for an extra $125 the steel can also be folded to produce a subtle hada. While not necessary, this optional extra results in the MOST traditional construction technique possible, and because it is folded by a master smith, with none of the drawbacks commonly associated with low priced folded blades. Has no effect on functionality, but takes the whole sword to the next level and as close as possible to a genuine Japanese Nihonto.
MORE Optional (Paid) Extras
None of the following optional extras are necessary to make a stunning looking, superbly handling sword design. But for those who want to push the envelope just a little bit more, we present the following extra optional customization selections. These additional options are not free as they add a significant cost to the base line of the sword which is reduced to be priced as low as possible to begin with.
Current Extras Available:
Additional FREE minor customizations and tweaks:
Some additional minor customizations are possible - though as our priority is getting you EXACTLY what you ordered, they should be kept to a minimum to ensure the process is as standardized as it can possibly be to avoid mistakes and keep prices as low as humanly possible. While the customizations offered are designed to ensure that each sword sticks to an aesthetically pleasing and historically plausible theme, if you want to mix and match - you can.
Possible additional customizations include but are not limited to:
- Kanji engraving on the tang - of the smiths name or your choice of characters (up to 4 maximum)
- Gyaku Menuki placement
- Left handed saya mounting
- Chu or Ko Kissaki (the default kissaki is a Dai Kissaki)
- Using fittings from a different Project X Katana model (select 'other' and enter the desired fittings in the 'Additional Requests' field)
- Unsharpened blade for iaido
Additional customizations requests and minor tweaks can be entered in the text box just above the order button. If you are not sure, please contact us before ordering (and the order can also be modified within the first couple of days after it is placed BEFORE the forge starts work on it).
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CUSTOMIZATIONS THAT ARE NOT POSSIBLE
For this project to work, the only customization possible on the blade is the length of the blade and nagako (tang, relative to the length of the handle selected) and whether or not it has a bo-hi. Specific types of hamon or different lamination styles other than Soshu Kiate are not possible. The only exception is of course folded steel which is available as an optional extra for $125 (and of course also includes lamination and differential hardening of the blade for the most traditional construction possible).
If in doubt, please contact us before ordering to confirm - if possible please keep additional customization requests simple and limit to one or two at the absolute most. Unlike some other sellers who claim to offer fully customized swords and promise they can do anything you could possibly desire (and deliver something almost unrecognizable) - we prefer to keep it simple and just deliver what we promise.