Project X - Model 009 the KihonBe the first one to write a review
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MADE TO ORDER
Keeping it simple: Limited Customizations = Lower Price
Premium Quality, Master Smith Forged Soshu Kitae O-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 009 Katana
'Kihon' means 'the basics/the fundamentals' in Japanese - which is exactly what model #009 in the series represents. If you don't really care about tweaking and customizing your design but just want to keep it simple and save some $ in the process, then the Kihon is the sword for you.
The blade is identical in quality to all the others in the series - but only comes in one length, the most common for a Katana, with a Nagasa (blade length) of 28" and a handle length of 10.5". Furthermore, it is only available in a solid bodied blade version (no-hi) and the ONLY custom choices available are from one of 5 themed brass fitting sets and the color of the Sageo with no mixing and matching from the other sets. It is what you see is what you get, but the number of options are enough to still give the sword the kind of character and style that appeals to your personal tastes.
No corners are cut on blade or component quality, the ito wrap is rich brown silk with matching brown sageo on the black laquered saya. As with all the swords in the series, all components are premium quality, with buffalo horn kurikata, koijiri and koiguchi on the saya, hishigami triangles used when wrapping the itomaki - master smith finger polished blade - full handle wrap, but by limiting the number of custom options we can lower the price and pass on the savings to you directly.
IMPORTANT NOTE: At the end of the day, the only difference between this sword and the other 8 designs in the series is that you cannot pick and choose components from the other designs nor request any personal tweaks or additional customizations. What you see is what you get - if you want more custom options, then the Kihon is not for you.
However if you just want a really beautiful blade at the very best price without any fuss or messing around and want to keep an extra $100 in your pocket, then the Kihon is your best choice.
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 $900 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.
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
The Kihon can only be customized in four areas and as stated several times previously unlike other swords in the Project X series, components cannot be mixed and matched.
Here are the customization options you can choose from:
1) Custom Tsuba and fittings - 5 complete sets to choose from (cannot select from other models)
2) Optional Extra: Folded steel (in addition to Soshu Kitae lamination and Choji hamon)
Select the fittings from one of the choices below - as noted you can ONLY select from the options below as this is a limited edition special.
There are 5 hand made brass sets available for the Kihon which include matching tsuba, fuchigashira and menuki. As the components are sold as a complete set, it is not possible to mix and match between the sets - what you see is what you can get.
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:
Most of the other swords in the series allow for some additional customization options and tweaks, however the Kihon is a 'what you see is what you get' sword. No additional custom options are available other than the paid options above.