New Designs and Special Promotions on the Ryujin Budget ‘Art Sword’ Series

One of the biggest problems with buying swords online from even established companies like is that not only do they rarely understand much about the products they sell, but pricing is all over the map.

It’s made worse because at the same time there are certain swords out there that LOOK like they might be quite expensive, especially if the seller is unscrupulous. I mean, let’s take a look at the blade below.

If I told you it was 1060 carbon steel, 5160 or 9260 Spring Steel – how do you really know?

Well, the blade above is in fact made from 1045 carbon steel – the most commonly used (and abused) steel the majority of swords made in China are made from. When through hardened and well tempered, they are surprisingly strong.

For example, while its thicker than average, the early Ronin Katana blades were all made from 1045 carbon steel and could chop up a 2×4 with nary a scratch. And so, it’s very easy for a sword seller looking to make a HUGE profit to market these blades as a more desirable steel and lie about what the components are made from or how they are made (i.e. hand painted when they are a stencil, etc). And even when they are honest about the steel, price gouging is not uncommon. For example, the EXACT same sword pictured below (minus the Ryujin name, they call it the – wait for it…

“Hand-Forging Full Tang Spring Steel Blade Sharp Japanese Samurai Dao Sword Katana Dragon Saya Home Decoration Collection Asian Real Knife Saber” (btw, it’s not hand forged, nor is it spring steel).

We sell for $64.99 is nearly DOUBLE the price here at for a mere $125..

As you can plainly see, it’s very easy for a sword seller looking to make a HUGE profit to market these blades as a more desirable steel and lie about what the components are made from or how they are made (i.e. hand painted when they are a stencil, etc) or just charge a premium because they LOOK like they should be sold for over $100, so they charge what they think they can get away with…

SBG has never and never will operate or support this principle. So to help out buyers on a budget get something decent and fairly priced, we have selected what we feel are the best designs from this series we call the Ryujin ‘Art Sword’ collection – which we first introduced with a couple of models in THIS blog post from September 28.

Here are the next 5 swords in the series:

Tsunami Dragon Art Sword – $64.99

‘Harui’ Art Sword – $69.99

‘Shining Clouds’ Art Sword – $64.99

Ninjato Art Sword – $69.99

‘Viper’ Art Sword – $64.99

Sure, the blades may not be made of a fancy steel – but they are honest and certainly safer than most other similar blades – especially those that are folded (many cheap swords that claim to be folded are faked – and believe it or not – you are better off if it IS fake when it comes to cheap folded steel blades, but that is a discussion for another time).

Now this is a pretty good deal just as it is. But, especially for our US based customers, we sweeten the deal because if you order any 3 of ANY of the 1045 carbon steel swords on the new Art Sword Page, you get a FREE SHIPPING and a FREE Tanto valued at $29.99.

Get one of two Tanto designs FREE when you order 3 or more 1045 carbon steel blades

For more details on this special offer, click here. In the meantime, you can see a brand new page for all the swords in the series by clicking the link below:

The Quick and the Dead – limited availability Katana

It’s going to be a case of the quick and the dead here..

First off, just a quick update on Project X Japanese – right now we are below the 40% mark left for pre-orders, so at that rate it’s pretty likely that all available spots will be taken by the end of the month..

Truly some amazing tweaks to the main designs have been submitted and the forge is already at work making them, so if you are interested in getting a Project X from round 2 – don’t leave it too late as the faster your order comes in, the higher up in the que it is..

Anyway, that’s not what the theme of this post is about. As many of you know, the SBG Custom Katana line recently reached what we think is the point of no return – but we have a few scratch and dent swords that failed QC available for pennies on the dollar – two are one off customs and two are failed QC swords from the Black Dragon Forge which makes the SBG Custom Katana.

Four One Off Scratch and Dents – HUGE discounts, all listed in the HOT SPECIALS section..

Discounts on these are crazy low – and may be the last chance to pick these kind of swords up ever.. (almost all are under $300 with FREE SHIPPING in North America).

Speaking of which, the final sword in the Quick and the Dead Listing – a beautiful basic 1045 carbon steel blade with Dragon engraving on the wood

Just $69.99

Only about a dozen are left and once sold out are gone for good.

Blades are solid and well tempered, and the price is just $69.99 – so if you are into last chance special offers, well – you need to take a close look at this baby..

Check out all these limited availability blades, from the best of the best in Project X to the one off scratch and dents and the closeout sale on the Dragon Shirasaya..

More news coming soon!

Ronin Katana Euro Line – New Version of the Model # 008 Beowulf

As most of you will know, Ronin Katana’s European line of swords has been well received by sword collectors, HEMA groups and sword community in general. All our barely sold above cost price, truly amazing bang for your buck.

But now many of the old classics are getting an upgrade, and for $15 more you get a sword that looks considerably more attractive, handles better, and has a genuine leather handle wrap.

Here’s a look at them side by side.

Better leather grip, greatly improved distal taper
No MAJOR differences in the scabbards, but there are subtle improvements.

And some pics of the handles – the original first, which was criticized for being too long and uncomfortable and then the new improved version.

First Generation Design
More ergonomic grip with improved leather wrap

Now let’s take a look at the raw stats.

The original version had the following basic statistics:

  • Blade length: 29.92 inches
  • Handle length:4.33 inches
  • Width: 1.97 inches
  • Thickness .028 inches
  • Weight 2 pounds 9.5 oz

The new version, in addition to a genuine leather wrapped handle, has some distal taper, from 5.8mm at the base to 3mm by the time the tip is reached lightening the blade from 2lbs 9.5oz to 2lbs 8.9 oz and shortening the grip slightly so it is more in line with historical examples.

Great to see this line go from strength to strength..

SIDE NOTE and PSA: Cheap and nasty copies using what appear to be the same fittings, scabbards and blades are staring to appear online priced somewhere near the $164 price point with what look like the EXACT same fittings, blades, everything..

Problem is, they are made by a company that I will not list here by name but in the past has been caught out selling swords made in China with faked certificates and even engravings ‘made in Seki City, Japan’ and are essentially copies of the first generation of Ronin Katana Euro swords that went horribly, horribly wrong (welded tangs, soft 1045 carbon steel blades, mild steel cast fittings, really cheap ‘pleather’ etc) and were liqutated and have become the reliable, respectable sword brand that they are today.

I strongly suggest if you stumble upon these knockoff versions made by a company that clearly has NO ethics whatseover you avoid them like the plague.

Custom Katana Fans – the time has come..

Okay, I’ve been working around 14 hours straight with only coffee and the occasional snack to keep me going, but we made it..

Project X Japanese is live and ready to order. Indeed, subscribers to the Project X newsletter have already jumped in and out of the 30 pre-order spots available, 20% have already been snapped up!

We only just opened and already have reached 20% of our total order capacity

And then, the one that gave me the biggest headache – changing the pricing and options on Forge Direct Japanese. After much number crunching, some prices are slightly higher than we anticipated and others slightly lower, but when you consider what you can get for your money with even the basic options, well – the value for money factor is off the charts..

In addition to this however, I have also been spending countless hours creating pages explaining all about the two product lines, both the pros and the cons of each, and then a mammoth of a page for Forge Direct here which lists full size images of all the available components so you never have to squint to figure out what the design looks like again.

For your ease of reference, here are the new relevant pages:

Forge Direct – overview

Forge Direct – all the components, huge images

Project X – Overview (just written today)

Project X – component pics

Project X – large images from various angles of the elite fitting sets

These pages are not 100% complete yet and will need to revamp the page about the differences between the various custom lines we have and create a few more helpful pages, as the more info you have, the easier it is to make a clear decision right?

So enjoy the new prices, products and sword buying opportunities. Like I said, its not perfect yet – there’s still more tweaking to do – but right now even coffee number 18 won’t keep me up any longer, time for a rest and then we get back into it! Phew..

If you notice any errors, PLEASE contact me directly so I can fix them. I will be going over everything a second and third time, but as a typical male can quite easily miss small details that are glaringly obvious to a casual visitor but completely invisible to me because I am seeing what I expect to see, not necessarily what is actually there.

Now its over to you.

Have a look at both lines and see what you think. It’s been a lot of hard work, but I stake my reputation on both of these swords as being some of the best if not THE best custom Katana anywhere near the under-priced point we are offering them for..

Time for a little nap and then straight back into it so that I can be ready for business as usual on Monday. Hope you like what you see – it’s been months in the making, and with so many different options available all based on the very best Katana around, I’m pretty sure it won’t be all that hard to make a design from one series or the other that you will fall in love with..

Talk again soon!

Project X and Forge Direct

A date has been set and the countdown begins – both for round 2 of Project X Japanese and a price reduction and new optional extras and modifications to Forge Direct Japanese.

October 5th onwards, 2019

We were originally planning this for late September, but delays getting information on some possible new options for Forge Direct Swords and preparing three new models for Project X took up more time than I had available (end of the month is always crazy busy – and is usually taken up writing each edition of the Sword Buyers Digest Online Magazine).

So let’s get down to brass tacks.


Round one of the customizable Project X Japanese was a resounding success – so much so that we have several customers wishing to order a second sword! Only 30 places are available, and once filled it will take 3-4 months before they are complete and so after this, the next opportunity to buy them will be sometime in February 2020.

What we learned is that with complex lamination, you can’t rush the process. As with in Japan, it often takes 4-5 swords to make one good one (with the scraps being picked up by the eBayers) but from the feedback we have been getting so far, 3-4 months is not a long time to wait for such a quality item.

But that’s not all, for as I believe I mentioned in a previous post – three new models will be joining the round 2 line up. Whether or not they are permanent additions or one off’s remains to be seen, but here’s a sneak preview..

From left to right, the Miyamoto Elite has several FREE upgrades in exchange for less custom options. For even less options, and for those who like to keep it simple and save a few extra $, there is the Kihon which only has a few sets to choose from and cannot be mixed and matched like the other lines. And finally the unique Black Crow Kogarasu with its double edged tip.

No matter what happens, the launch date begins on midnight Eastern time, 5th of October – only 30 pre-order slots are available and as per last time, we will show you how quickly the spots are being taken up so you don’t have to wait until February if you miss out on this round.


Meanwhile, the biggest reason for the delay launching Project X Japanese is we needed to make some big changes to our previous top of the range Custom Katana, the Forge Direct line.

The base price of all models will be coming down significantly, but at the same time we are also offering MORE optional extras to make up for it and allow you to take your forge design sword to a whole new level. Plus I am also in the process of creating a page on the blog showing large resolution pics of EVERY custom component so you can see it up VERY close and make out every detail. And then there will also be more custom options like with Project X and the soon to be discontinued SBG Custom Katana.

For example, one popular custom option we have been asked for many times is a leather wrapped tsuka. Here’s an example of one about to be wrapped at the forge (and yes, they too will have hishigami).

An example of the leather used – note just how wide the rayskin ‘panel’ is. Literally only an inch or so away from being a full wrap!

And then there are the saya. Forge Direct Japanese will have even more saya than ever before for the standard custom Katana, though we will be forced to charge extra for the most ornate ones, many – especiallu those that are hand painted – worth more than many entry level swords alone.

And finally, a folded steel option and maybe even a laminated version too (we aren’t 100% on the lamination yet, but here is an example of what the folded version looks like).

Some prefer a subtle ‘hada’ others a richer, easier to see one. The Forge Direct version is most certainly in the latter category of the two and really makes the sword ‘POP’

As mentioned, confirming these modifications, pricing them and making sure we don’t hurt the reputation of either brand is what has been slowing things down so much.


Regardless and come what may, at the stroke of midnight on the 5th, Project X opens up come hell or high water. And if it all goes to plan, so does the lower priced Forge Direct Custom Katana with more options than you can poke a sword at..

At the end of the day, the Forge Direct Katana will be more affordable and with more options and take only around 2 months to make, while the Project X series have far more complex blades and higher price, higher quality fittings and take around twice as long to make (and is only available in batches until we are 100% confident we can run it all year round like we can with Forge Direct).

The countdown to the best deals and the best Katana designs ever made at SBG has begun.

In the meantime, we STRONGLY recommend you sign up to the exclusive Project X Newsletter. If you knew the bonuses and extras available to subscribers, you would sign up in a heartbeat..

More updates coming soon!