SBG Special Projects

When Sword Buyers Guide was first started in 2005, we had no idea that our site would actually become a major driving force to shape the sword making industry..

But three years into the development of our site, our position as an industry insider allowed us some very unique opportunities..

In this article we will look at all the different projects that we have been involved with over the years, and also provide you some insight into what is coming down the line..

Custom Katana Lines

In 2008, we began our first foray into making Custom Katana as a response to people having numerous bad experiences attempting to buy Custom swords on eBay. 

The demand was there, and understandably - but too many people were getting ripped off. So when we were approached by not one but two individuals looking to collaborate with SBG to create our own custom Katana line, our journey into the world of exclusive SBG Special Projects began in earnest..

One of the projects - which was made in collaboration with 'ProSwords' had a lot of potential, ended up as something of a failure. Though it did give me my first taste in designing swords of my own - and as they say, quite often more is learnt from failure than success..

One of my first unique designs, now extensively copied by eBayers down to the last detail..

You can read about the initial tests and review of this project here.

But the second project that started at the same time went on to become our famous SBG Custom Katana series, and while it too has had its fair share of trials and tribulations, this sword line continues to be offered to this day.

Some SBG Custom Katana in the Dojo

My choice of T10 tool steel for both projects, which was rare on swords below the $800 price point previously, also started something of a trend for using this steel for traditional style blades as it seemed to improve the overall durability of the blade and took a very attractive hamon temper line.

Sent by a customer of his SBG Custom Katana

SBG Custom Katana at a Glance

Key Points:

  • Made from T10 tool steel with a differentially hardened edge and genuine, hand polished hamon temper line
  • High level of refinement over the years with an extremely low error rare in customizations (98% accurate, and if there IS a mistake, we offer choices of full refund, remake or heavy discount)
  • 3 Levels of QC control - one at the forge, one remote and hands on in Canada by our dedicated inspection team
  • Only available several times a year in 'Batches' - takes around 3 months to produce
  • Virtually no mark up so you get them almost at cost price = unheard of value

Click here to read testing and review of the original prototypes

Click to get an overview of the two initial Custom Katana Lines

Project X

Project X started out in late 2011 and is a joint project between SBG and Ronin Katana, the largest manufacturer of Dojo ready Katana in the world.

The initial goal was to produce the very best Katana that money can buy outside of Japan by commissioning a series of swords with complex Soshu Kitae lamination and premium fittings, yet offering them at a price that almost any collector could afford.

The author, inspecting one of the first Soshu Kitae laminated blades at the forge

Two years into the project, Project X began to branch out into high end traditional Chinese Swords with some limited runs, the most famous of which was the Jian of Marquis Yi (pictured right) which was made for us by Master Swordsmith Xiaolong Jiang - who would later become instrumental in another of our SBG special projects, Forge Direct..

Click here for the full rundown on Project X

Forge Direct

Officially an offshoot of Project X (it is officially known as Project X - Forge Direct) the goal of this, perhaps one of the most ambitious SBG special projects, was to create a massive line of rare and unique traditional Master Smith forged Japanese and Chinese Swords available on a 'made to order' basis.

This would allow us to offer swords that may not have mass appeal and were too expensive to risk importing - with the end result that now we have over 40 unique designs available, including some that are so rare they have never been seen outside of mainland China.

Our most successful product to come from this unique concept was the Forge Direct Elite Custom Katana, which was several steps up in quality from SBG Custom Katana we started back in 2008, but with less customization options (and about double the price).

Since then, the project has expanded into several new and exciting directions, starting up a high end Fantasy Sword line and even collaborations with local artisans, such as Jeffrey Robinson to remount the best Master Smith Forged blades in premium, hand sculpted fittings..

A Windsteel Blade work in progress pics

Forge Direct at a Glance

Key Points:

  • Huge range of heirloom quality, rare traditional Chinese and Japanese style blades, as well as most recently, fully functional Fantasy Swords of exquisite beauty and detail
  • All swords are the best of their type and made by either level one or level two certified Chinese Master Smiths (level 3 is a national treasure smith and cost tens of thousands of dollars)
  • Swords are not kept in stock but made to order, typically arriving 4-6 weeks after ordering and sent directly from the Forges themselves, hence the name of the Project

Click here to learn more about Forge Direct

Forge Direct at the SBG Sword Store

Longship Armory

Longship Armory joined the SBG Special Projects movement in 2015 and is a unique collaboration between its director, James Fang, Sword Buyers Guide and the legendary US based artisan, John Lundemo.

The aim was to produce several limited edition, SBG exclusive runs of 20 swords per run - and we started with the ultimate zombie slaying blade made from S7 shock steel - one of the strongest and rarest types of sword steels around.

A sword we named after the character created for our backstory, Furia - Sword of the Apocalypse.

After the second and final round of 10pcs were sold, our second project was created in conjunction with yet another of our SBG Special Projects, Legendary Swords: Project Eletreus (more on this later) with a Fantasy Pattern Welded Viking Sword we called "Odin's Oar", the blade of which was hand forged by KC Lund and hand finished by John Lundemo in his workshop.

But that is not the end, as more exclusive designs are being planned for the future, and while they are quite expensive (typically around the $2K mark per sword) they are truly limited edition and priced much lower than if they were ordered as a one off custom piece.

Scorpion Swords and Knives LLC

Scorpion Swords and Knives LLC is a small local US operation run by Chris Palmer making EXTREMELY tough and durable shortswords of various styles and cultures at his Missouri based workshop via the stock removal process.

The first sword made as a part of the SBG Special Projects series was a true 'Tactical Ko Katana' made from through hardened, monotempered 1095 carbon steel with a solid, immovable handle and blackened, rust resistant blade - and was destructive tested by Jason Woodard, who - despite his best efforts - was unable to destroy it..

After the initial success of the Tactical Ko Katana, we followed up with a Tactical Gladius, and then in 2017 - four battle ready Fantasy Swords, the most popular of which was the Goblin King Sword that was also tested by Jason Woodard and proved that despite its made up design, it was as tough as any other sword made by Scorpion.

Scorpion Swords in the SBG Sword Store

Ryujin Custom Katana Series

While Ryujin Swords are available at some other retailers, SBG was the first company to get involved with this project and have created a line of exclusive products quite different than what later competitors got on board with.

The concept was quite revolutionary, to take some high quality T10 tool steel blades, import a wide variety of fittings, and have them assembled in the USA instead of in China, allowing our customers to get a custom designed sword completed and shipped out to them within a week!

In addition to lower, flat rate pricing (some competitors offer a lower base price, but turn out $30 to $80 more expensive if the same customization options are offered) we also developed an extremely close working relationship with Ryujin allowing us to offer speedier shipments, higher levels of customer service and support, and ensure that stock levels are accurately reflected (many of the competitors offer products that are not in stock)..

Click here to see our initial testing and review

Ryujin Swords in the SBG Sword Store

Musashi Swords

In 2017 we were approached by the owner of Musashi Swords, one of the largest manufacturers of affordable, entry level Katana, to design our own blade.

Naturally, we jumped at the chance - and the end result was a sleek, fast in the hand, traditional and strong Katana we Christened the Musashi Fast Cutter.

Affordably priced at just $199.99 - the initial run sold out quickly and more runs, and designs, are planned for the coming months and years ahead.

Click here to read the review of this design

Legendary Swords

Fantasy Meets Reality with the Brand of the Fallen, one of the original designs from the Legendary Swords series

Perhaps our most ambitious of all the SBG special projects to date, Legendary Swords: the Eletreus Project, ties together several previous collaborations with some new ones, with the current line up including swords from both Forge Direct and Longship Armory - and many others currently in the works..

The basic concept is to create a line of fully functional, battle ready Fantasy Swords with a rich, integrated backstory and original Fantasy World called 'Eletreus'.

Many of the Sword designs in production for this line were actually designed by members of the SBG Sword Forum community and are being made by several well known and lesser known sword manufacturers, most notably Blade Culture International in the Philippines.

From a simple drawing to sword art in steel, one of the SBG member designed swords - the Aelutian Gladius

All the Links

SBG Custom Katana lines from 2008 to the present

Project X - Elite Master Smith Forged Chinese and Japanese Blades

Forge Direct - Offshoot of Project X, made to order Master Smith Swords

Longship Armoury - Project 1: Furia, Sword of the Apocalypse

Longship Armoury - Project 2: Odin's Oar, Sword of Runa of Stormwater

Scorpion Swords: The Tactical Ko Katana

Scorpion Swords: Goblin King Sword

Ryujin 'Instant' Custom Katana series

Musashi Swords: SBG designed Fast Cutter Katana

More SBG Special Projects and Updates Coming Soon!


I hope this information on SBG Special Projects has been helpful. To return to the SBG Homepage from SBG Special Projects, click here

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