Stock levels critically low – two suppliers bow out with no restock in sight..

It’s been a very, very strange time for the sword industry this year. Normally the first few months after Christmas are pretty slow, but due to the general trend worldwide towards online orders – we have seen a double whammy of a massive increase of the number of people trying to buy swords and an unprecedented inability to restock them anywhere near as fast as they are going out the door..

I have just emailed everyone on the official sword store mailing list the ins and outs of this double whammy, so rather than try to reword the same thing, here are some excepts from the newsletter to get you all up to speed as to what is going on behind the scenes.

From the SBG Sword Store Newsletter

Once again it is a mixed bag of news for the sword industry – some good, some bad – though none truly unexpected or out of the blue.

The bad news first? There are not many swords left after the ‘great sword buying frenzy’ of the last few months. Stock levels everywhere are quite dismal – to the point that two of our most important partners are about to close up shop, one temporarily – and one for good..

Ronin Katana is taking a short break from the 15th of this month until June the 9th as their shelves are more or less bare and after months or working at maximum shipping capacity – they are kind of beat.

But sadly, our friends at Cheness Cutlery have become a causality of the inability to restock – and announced late last month that they will NOT be restocking and once they have sold their existing stock – that’s it – there will be no more..
So the next few days and weeks are your LAST CHANCE to pick up what is remaining from stock at both of this suppliers – one temporarily closed and the other preparing to close its doors for the very last time..

Project X and Forge Direct Chinese

While stock levels in the US are for the most part at the bottom of the barrel, Longquan is working overtime to try and restock everyone. And with all this activity – we are finally catching a break and preparing to relaunch Project X Japanese and Forge Direct Chinese, last available in August and June 2020 respectively..!

An early bird special offer will be made for Project X Japanese to subscribers of the Project X exclusive newsletter – so if you are finding it hard to track down a reliable source for a high quality Katana at the moment, your golden opportunity is looming on the horizon – and it will be happening sooner rather than later..

And lovers of high quality traditional Chinese swords will also get an opportunity to secure a master smith forged blade from two premier forges – have a look now to see what is about to be re-released:

The re-release of all these swords is scheduled to occur around or before this time next week, so stay tuned..! It’s great to be able to bring back as many of these awesome swords as possible – especially in a time when many of the best ‘stocked’ swords are all sold out, so it makes sense to have something made to order.

The only caveat – delays are to be expected. But we have prepared and positioned ourselves to minimize any delays as much as possible – but in these all too ‘interesting’ times, a spanner may appear in the works at any time slowing things down – and people need to be aware that the environment is challenging and unpredictable. But we would not offer these again now if we did not think we are 99% clear of the worst of it..

And they are definitely worth the wait..

Talk to you all again soon.

  • Paul Southren, Store Owner

Project X and Forge Direct – the trials and tribulations

It has been a very, very rough 12 months for our flagship custom Japanese sword lines Project X and it’s offshoot, Project X – Forge Direct.

By June 2020 it had become apparent that the Pandemic had ground production to a halt and on the 23rd of June 2020 Forge Direct, which was usually available all year round, had been put on hold and remains on hold to this day..

In addition to shipping issues (when in June, nothing was going anywhere – but now simply limit shipments from the Forge to North America only) supply chain issues have been a MASSIVE headache. On top of everything else, the regions only major supplier of sword parts was temporarily shut down, and when it re-opened it found itself – like almost every business in the Sword Making Capital of the world – Longquan, overwhelmed with new orders as online sword sales exploded, draining stock levels down to never before seen levels.

Here’s an Infographic that clearly shows the quadruple whammy we have been experiencing..

As you can plainly see, it is less than ideal..

We have taken quite a few steps to try and get back in the saddle – and while there is nothing we can do about the direct shipping issue, behind the scenes we have been preparing as best as we can – so here is where we are up to now..

PROJECT X

In late August 2020 the shipping situation had cleared enough for us to resume North American orders – and at the time we confirmed with the Forge that everything would be complete within the usual 4 month time frame..

Well, this is what the orders look like running 2 months behind schedule (the reason why is that for a handful of blades a few cracks were found during the polishing stage, and the swords had to be re-made, but first Chinese New Year, and now the sheer number of orders the forge is dealing with – have pushed it back so the last few swords are running 2 months late).

Because it is STILL not quite completed – and yet due to open for new orders around, well, around NOW – we have decided to simply focus on getting these last few orders completed and wait until the forge is not so swamped with production sword orders..

Exactly when this will be is unknown but I would estimate it will be sometime in late Summer/early Autumn this year..

In the meantime:

Forge Direct

Once again, we still have around half a dozen orders that are trapped in a kind of Limbo – mostly due to the ‘great saya shortage of 2021’ and the fact that we need to get these orders addressed before we can take new orders with a clear conscience (we always prioritize existing orders over future ones, business 101 is taking care of your existing customers first – we believe in lifelong customer service, not ‘churning’ and always fishing for new ones!).

Steps have been taken to address this as best we can – for our Forge Direct Custom Katana – we have dramatically decreased the number of available saya options to only the best and most popular our customers have actually ordered in the past – and of course, this means that if we want different blade lengths, we will have to create a dedicated product based around the different length – and so we will start with a fairly generic blade and expand as we go..

Forge Direct Chinese has also been trimmed down – first due to the retirement of Master Michael Yi, who was quite prolific for our project, and then from shortages in parts and supplies. But the good news is that other than the limitation of only being able to ship to North America – Forge Direct Chinese is only held back by the ‘straggler’ orders that are still blocking up the whole thing..

To say it is frustrating for everyone involved is an understatement – after all, this project was a culmination of many years of experience dealing with custom made items – but I must thank our customers for being so patient and understanding..

The good news is that we do seem to be on the home stretch for Forge Direct – and if all goes well, we could see it return next month. But for now, our priority remains on getting those last orders fixed up – and when we do, I think a celebration will be in order as we re-launch.

So as we are fond to say, stay tuned..!

Project X Japanese – Update

Despite the pandemic, the batch of orders for Project X Japanese taken in late August this year have been quietly taking shape and are not just on schedule for completion and shipping next month, but are (at least at the time of writing this post) slightly AHEAD of schedule..!

This means that the next planned batch in February 2020 is almost certainly to go ahead as we had hoped – but in the meantime, here are some pictures from the forge showing where we are up to! Hope you enjoy this sneak – behind the scenes peek.

MORE INFORMATION:



Forge Direct Chinese – The Baojian Forge FLASH Sale

Longquan’s Baojian (Treasured Sword) Forge has a reputation for working fast, working hard and producing some of the finest historical replicas of Chinese Swords around.

Unfortunately, as part of Forge Direct, despite the fact that they were able to process ALL their outstanding orders many months ago – we have had their orders on hold since June 2020..

But with Christmas around the corner, and the fact that while Forge Direct Japanese is causing the project to remain mothballed until the backlog of orders is 100% clear – Baojian have been twiddling their fingers this whole time..

UNTIL TODAY THAT IS..

ANNOUNCING:

Yes, that is correct – from TODAY until midnight Sunday the 15th EST you can get a these swords within 4-6 weeks (almost certainly JUST scraping in for Christmas) and with a WHOPPING 25% DISCOUNT!

Check out what is on offer below – from high end swords purchased by Chinese celebrities to affordable martial arts grade Dao and high end Jian, Baojian has it all.

Remember, this is a FLASH sale – and expires VERY soon, so grab what you can while you can..

SALE EXPIRES IN…

Project X Closes and now – the waiting begins..

For those of you who were never interested in the project in the first place, this is probably GOOD news. But for everyone else, sorry – we actually went over the ideal production limit in just 4 days, such is the demand for these premium quality, great value Shinken.

Just a quick warning: Be ESPECIALLY Cautious from now on any China based sellers who suddenly have ‘Shoshu Kitae’ blades for sale. Based on previous experiences, many of those swords are the rejects from OUR batch, and sold cheap because they are really only suitable for display – but the sellers don’t tell their customers that..

It’s a jungle out there..!

Anyway, I will be in contact with everyone who ordered with updates as we go – in the meantime, if you managed to grab one of these in time CONGRATULATIONS! I know there are a few finer details being worked out with some customers right now, but bear with me – I’ll be in touch personally as soon as humanly possible.

And for those of you who are sick of hearing about it, next post will be something completely different. Promise.. 😉