We just closed off on Batch 45 of the Custom Katana a couple of days ago – not sure if was bad timing or what – but we barely got enough orders to be able to justify sending them through to the forge..
It’s no huge surprise, in recent years despite holding the price to the point where we are losing money – the number of orders has been steadily decreasing.. And this time around, so low that the project that we have been running for the last 10 years was nearly cancelled..
While some of it may be due to bad timing, the main reason orders have been disappearing is because the eBay and AliBaba sellers in China have become more and more aggressive – and more and more dishonest – promising things that they cannot do or lying about the steels and processes used. And so honest sellers can’t compete when sellers take local pig iron and claim it is Tamahagane on a $300 sword.. (please, please – NEVER attempt to cut with one of these monstrosities..)
The truth of these sellers is discussed here – not all are bad, and it is possible to get a good sword, but it is a total crapshoot – with more crap than shoot..
We would not mind losing orders if someone actually stepped up to the plate and did what we are doing, but better.. But losing them to dishonest business practices is bad for everyone..
Anyway, apologies for the mini-rant – we will do our best to try and keep the project going and get the word out to people to be extra careful when doing business with these companies whose offers are too good to be true.. (its really frustrating when we know they are using cheap 1045 carbon steel but claiming it is L6 or 9260 or – whatever will get them the sale!).
In the meantime, as Chinese New Year comes to and end, Batch 44 should ship out and Batch 45, which is being finalized with the customers in case of any last minute changes, will begin. We hope it is not the last one – just the QC we offer makes these swords worth the price point..
Case in point (and a great opportunity for one lucky, fast person) below is a Custom Katana from Batch 43 that failed QC at our end and was not sent to the customer (we made them a new one from scratch)
What is wrong with it? This.
I don’t know of any eBay seller who would catch a tiny chip like that, tell the customer and remake the sword for them.. Indeed, THESE are the kind of blades they WANT as they can get them cheap (eBay sellers are always asking the big forges for their scraps, rejects and QC fails)..
Instead, we sell it at a huge loss rather than throw it away or try and trick someone into buying it as a new sword – and like I mentioned – someone who is quick enough can get this rejected sword (which has a folded blade with Kobuse Lamination and Leather ito with hishigami) for less than half its value ($299 with free shipping) – click here if you are interested, there is only one available of course..
Anyway, /rant. I will update you all again in due course.. In the meantime, please do all you can to get the word out about these dishonest sellers and don’t fall for their false promises. Every now and again it IS possible to get a good deal with them, but more often than not, you don’t get what you ordered..