Project X - Model 008 Black Crow KogarasuBe the first one to write a review
Premium Quality, Master Smith Forged Soshu Kitae Katana blade with a large variety of FREE customization options available. 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 Model 008 Kogarasu
A Kogarasu (little crow) Katana is based one of the earliest renditions of the classic Katana, its invention credited to the legendary 8th Century Sword Smith Amakuni. Indeed, it is widely believed that of the 3 extant examples of this type of sword (Kissaki Moroha Zukuri) one was actually made by Amakuni himself.
The legend goes that after witnessing the Emperors soldiers returning from a battle that about half came back with broken swords and to regain the Emperors favor, he and his son locked themselves away, vowing to create the 'perfect cutting sword that would not break in battle. And true to his word, once the next battle broke out, the Emperor himself approached the smith and praised him for his work, for not one of the blades he had made had failed..
From a practical point of view, the narrower double edged blade shifts the balance point back towards the tsuba, making for a faster blade than a standard Katana - not to mention allowing easier and deeper penetration of non-hardened targets. The practicality of this design was not lost on later generations of sword makers and swordsmen, the design appearing frequently throughout Japanese history - and thus a later period blade laminated in Soshu Kitae would not only be possible, but is a tribute to the two greatest Japanese sword smiths who ever lived.
The tsunami themed tsuba is made from work hardened copper and is based on an actual antique. The fittings are entirely in black - black sageo, black ito, black saya and black (full) rayskin same wrap with a classic dragon themed brass menuki for a splash of color.
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
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 custmizations 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:
1) Custom Length of Handle
2) Custom Tsuba and fittings
3) Custom Menuki
5) Black or White Rayskin
6) 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 owned by high ranking Samurai families and even Daimyo. Most are made from work hardened copper with real gold and silver highlights while others are iron. Historically, the copper sets were used to dress up the sword for formal occasions, while iron ones were used when combat was imminent.
Iron or Work hardened copper fitting sets
All of the tsuba below come with a complete matching set of fittings for a consistent theme. High resolutions of the front and back of each of these fitting sets is available HERE on a dedicated page on our store blog (link opens in a new window).
Custom Menuki (handle ornaments)
The choice of menuki (handle ornaments) was not covered by Banzasi regulations, though generally the subtler the better. By default this design comes with a brass dragon themed menuki set, but feel free to change it to something more personal from the selection below.
Black or White Rayskin
White Rayskin was more common than black, and when using a full wrap of rayskin underneath with prominent emperor nodes, the black version loses some of the beauty of the wrap, but the coolness factor of black on black fittings may make up for this - the choice is yours.
OPTIONAL EXTRA: Folded Steel
In addition to the Soshu Kitae lamination and Choji hamon, for an extra $150 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.