What is the Tang of a Knife? Learn About Full, Partial, Push & More
What is Japanese knife tang?
The tang of a knife is the part of the blade that extends into the handle. It’s a continuous piece of metal that gives the knife strength and balance.
It’s especially important for Japanese knives because it extends partially into the handle, which allows better control when slicing and chopping.
But most people don’t really know much about a tang and why it matters, right?
Various tang designs are usually described by their appearance or the manner in which they are affixed to a handle and their length in reference to the handle.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Understanding the tang of a knife
- 2 Western knife tang vs Japanese knife tang
- 3 The different types of tangs explained
- 4 Identifying a full tang knife: tips and tricks
- 5 Benefits of full-tang knives
- 6 Full vs partial tang: which is better for your knife?
- 7 How do different materials affect tang formation?
- 8 FAQs
- 9 Conclusion
Understanding the tang of a knife
The tang of a knife refers to the part of the blade that extends into the handle.
It is the unsharpened and unexposed part of the blade that indicates the strength and durability of the knife.
The tang can come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the type of knife and its intended use.
The term “tang” refers to the extension of the knife blade that goes into the handle. In Japanese knives, the tang is a continuous piece of metal that gives the knife strength and balance.
Why is the tang important?
The tang of a Japanese knife is particularly important because it extends partially or thinly into the handle.
This allows for better balance and control when slicing or chopping.
The tang also gives the knife more strength, which means it is less likely to break or bend during use.
Here’s why knife tang is important:
- Balance: The tang is a crucial component in determining the balance of the knife. A knife with a well-designed tang will have a center of gravity that is closer to the handle, making it easier to control and maneuver.
- Strength: A strong tang is essential for a durable knife. A well-constructed tang that extends into the handle adds rigidity and strength to the knife, preventing it from bending or breaking during use.
- Comfort: The tang can also affect the comfort of the knife. A poorly designed tang can create pressure points in the handle, leading to discomfort or even injury during prolonged use.
- Performance: The tang can also affect the overall performance of the knife. A balanced and sturdy tang will ensure that the blade remains aligned and stable during use, resulting in smoother and more efficient cutting.
In summary, the tang of a knife plays an important role in determining its balance, strength, comfort, and overall performance.
A well-designed tang can greatly enhance the quality and durability of a knife, making it an important consideration for anyone looking to purchase a high-quality knife.
Types of tangs: overview
There are different types of tangs, each with its own features and benefits.
Here are some of the most common types of tangs. I will go over them in more detail below:
- Full tang: The length of the blade extends into the entire handle, making it the strongest and most durable option.
- Partial tang: Only a portion of the blade extends into the handle, making it weaker than a full tang knife.
- Push tang: The tang is pushed into the handle and fastened with a pin or screw.
- Encapsulated tang: The tang is covered by the handle material, making it more comfortable to grip.
- Hidden tang: The tang is entirely hidden inside the handle, making it less durable than a full tang knife.
- Rat-tail tang or stick tang: The tang is a thin piece of metal that extends into the handle, making it weaker than a full tang knife.
- Tapered tang: The tang gradually decreases in size as it extends into the handle, making it lighter and easier to handle.
- Skeletonized tang: The tang has holes or cutouts to reduce weight and improve balance.
Materials used for tangs
The tang can be made from different materials, including:
- Metal: The most common material used for tangs is metal, usually the same material as the blade.
- Wood: Some knives have wooden tangs, which can add to the knife’s aesthetic appeal.
- Synthetic Materials: Some knives have tangs made from synthetic materials, such as plastic or rubber.
Choosing the right tang
The type of tang you choose depends on your needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a knife based on its tang:
- Intended use: The type of tang you choose should depend on the knife’s intended use. For heavy-duty cutting tasks, a full tang knife is ideal, while a partial tang knife is suitable for lighter tasks.
- Comfort: The tang can affect the knife’s comfort and grip. A full tang knife provides a better grip and more comfortable handling.
- Price: Full tang knives are generally more expensive than partial tang knives. If you’re on a budget, a partial tang knife may be a good option.
- Aesthetics: The tang can affect the knife’s overall appearance. If you want a knife with a sleek profile, a hidden tang knife may be ideal.
In conclusion, the tang of a knife is an essential part of its construction, affecting its strength, balance, comfort, and durability.
Understanding the different types of tangs and materials used can help you choose the ideal knife for your needs.
Western knife tang vs Japanese knife tang
The tang of a knife refers to the portion of the blade that extends into the handle and provides the knife with balance and stability.
The main difference between Western knife tangs and Japanese knife tangs is their shape and size.
Western knives typically have a full tang, meaning the tang runs the full length of the handle and is often wider and thicker than the blade itself.
The handle is then attached to the tang with rivets or screws.
This design gives the knife a sturdy and balanced feel, making it suitable for heavier tasks such as chopping and slicing through meat and poultry.
On the other hand, Japanese knives often have a partial tang or a hidden tang.
A partial tang extends only partway into the handle, while a hidden tang is completely enclosed by the handle material.
Japanese knife handles are often made from wood or bamboo and are designed to fit snugly in hand for precision cutting.
This design is lighter in weight, making it ideal for more delicate tasks such as slicing and dicing vegetables and fish.
Overall, the choice between Western and Japanese knife tangs depends on personal preference and intended use.
Both designs have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to choose a knife that suits your needs and feels comfortable in your hand.
The different types of tangs explained
Let’s have a closer look at the different types of tangs.
A full tang is a type of tang where the metal extends the entire length and width of the handle.
This type of tang is commonly found in high-quality knives and is known for its strength and durability.
The full tang also means that the knife is less likely to break during the cutting process.
In conclusion, the type of tang you choose ultimately depends on the type of knife you are making or using.
Each type of tang has its own set of features and benefits, so it’s important to know the different types available.
The main benefit of having a good tang is that it significantly increases the overall strength and durability of the knife.
The technical definition and benefits of full tang knives
The main reason full tang knives are highly regarded is that they are considered the strongest type of knife construction available.
The tang extends the entire length of the handle, providing extra strength and stability to the knife.
This makes full tang knives better suited for heavy-duty tasks that require more force, such as chopping through beef bones or large cuts of meat.
Other benefits of full tang knives include:
- Better balance: The weight of the blade and handle is evenly distributed, making the knife easier to control and reducing hand fatigue.
- Higher leverage: The extended tang provides more leverage, making it easier to cut through tough materials.
- Survival uses: In a survival situation, a full tang knife can be used for tasks such as building shelter, starting a fire, or hunting game.
- Durability: Full tang knives are less likely to break or become damaged over time compared to partial tang knives.
Examples of full tang knives
There are many different types of full tang knives available, each with their own unique features and uses.
Some popular examples include:
- Chef’s knives: A full tang chef’s knife is a staple in any kitchen and is used for a variety of cutting tasks.
- Gerber StrongArm: This survival knife features a full tang construction and is designed for heavy-duty outdoor use.
- United Cutlery Honshu: This tactical knife has a full tang construction and is known for its strength and durability.
- Custom knives: Many custom knife makers incorporate full tang construction into their designs, using a variety of materials such as wood, bone, or metal for the handle scales.
A hidden tang is a type of tang where the handle covers the entire tang. The tang is inserted into the handle and is secured with an adhesive.
This type of tang is commonly found in cheaper knives and is not as strong as other types of tangs.
However, it does create a sleek design and is easier to clean.
Pros and cons of hidden tang
- The hidden tang construction allows for a cleaner and more streamlined design, which is preferred by some people for aesthetic reasons.
- The handle is generally lighter and more comfortable to hold compared to a full tang knife.
- Hidden tang knives are often cheaper to produce and therefore more affordable for the average user.
- The resulting knife is often more balanced and lightweight, making it easier to control and maneuver.
- Hidden tang knives are not as strong or tough as full tang knives, as the tang does not extend throughout the entire length of the handle.
- The handle may not feel as solid or sturdy as a full tang knife.
- Hidden tang knives may require more care and maintenance, as the handle scales may come loose over time.
- The user may not have as much control or force when using the knife, as the tang is not as long or as thick as a full tang knife.
Where are hidden tang knives found?
Hidden tang knives are popular in the world of knife making and can be found in many different kinds of knives, including hunting knives, kitchen knives, and pocket knives.
They are often used in small or thin blades where a full tang construction would make the knife too heavy or unbalanced.
Hidden tang knives are also known as “rat-tail tang” knives, as the tang tapers towards the end like a rat’s tail.
Hidden tang knives are generally cheaper to produce compared to full tang knives, resulting in a lower price point for the consumer.
The price range can vary depending on the specific design, materials used, and the process of construction.
Hidden tang knives are widely available online and in stores that stock knives. Some popular models include the Buck 110 Folding Hunter and the Gerber StrongArm.
A partial tang is a type of tang commonly used in knife-making, where the tang does not extend the full length of the handle.
Instead, the tang is inserted partially into the handle and secured with a pin, adhesive or both.
Partial tangs are often thinner and narrower than full tangs and can provide a lighter and more balanced feel to the knife.
Partial tangs are commonly used in Japanese knives, where the focus is on precision and control, rather than heavy chopping.
While partial tangs can provide a lighter and more agile knife, they may not be as strong as full tangs and may be more prone to breaking under heavy use.
It is important to note that not all partial tang knives are created equal, and the quality and durability of a knife will depend on the materials and construction techniques used by the manufacturer.
Characteristics of partial tang knives
A partial tang knife is a type of knife construction where the tang does not extend the entire length of the handle.
Instead, it only extends partially into the handle, typically about halfway. This type of tang is also referred to as a stub tang.
Partial tang knives are generally lighter and cheaper to produce than fully-tanged knives. They are also easier to carry due to their lightweight construction.
However, they lack the balance and leverage of full-tang knives and are generally considered weaker and more prone to breakage.
Improved partial tang designs
While some knife enthusiasts may scoff at partial tang knives, there have been improvements in their construction techniques.
For example, some manufacturers now use an array of materials to match the blade’s width, giving the knife a wider tang and improving its balance.
Additionally, some partial tang knives now have extended tangs that push into the handle further, giving the user more leverage and reducing the chance of tang failure.
A skeletonized tang is a type of tang where portions of the tang are removed to make the knife lighter.
So, this type of knife tang has been partially or completely hollowed out, leaving only the essential material needed for structural support.
This creates a lighter and more balanced knife, with reduced weight and improved maneuverability.
Skeletonizing the tang involves removing material from the center of the tang, typically through drilling or milling.
This can be done to varying degrees, from a partially skeletonized tang that removes only a portion of the material, to a fully skeletonized tang that removes all non-essential material.
This type of tang is ideal for those who want a lighter knife for easier handling. However, it does come at the cost of overall strength.
Benefits of a skeletonized tang
The benefits of a skeletonized tang include:
- Lighter weight: The removal of material from the tang reduces the overall weight of the knife, making it easier to handle and carry.
- Greater balance: The removal of material from the center of the knife helps to shift the balance point closer to the handle, making it easier to control.
- Improved performance: The lighter weight and better balance of a skeletonized tang knife can lead to better cutting performance.
- Better for survival situations: The reduced weight and improved balance of a skeletonized tang knife can make it a better choice for survival situations where weight and balance are important factors.
Examples of knives featuring a skeletonized tang
Some examples of knives featuring a skeletonized tang include:
- ESEE Izula: The ESEE Izula is a popular survival knife featuring a skeletonized tang construction. It is available in both a standard and a “II” variant, which features an extra inch of blade length.
- United Cutlery Undercover Combat Fighter: The United Cutlery Undercover Combat Fighter is a tactical knife featuring a skeletonized tang construction. It is designed for use in combat and self-defense situations.
- Spyderco Temperance: The Spyderco Temperance is a fixed blade knife featuring a skeletonized tang construction. It is designed for outdoor use and features a full-flat ground blade for better cutting performance.
How does a skeletonized tang compare to other types of tangs?
Compared to other types of tangs, a skeletonized tang offers:
- Lighter weight compared to a full tang knife
- Greater balance compared to a partial tang knife
- Better cutting performance compared to a hidden tang knife
However, a skeletonized tang may also have some weak spots due to the removal of material, which can lead to a loss of stability in some cases.
It also offers less surface area for the handle to maintain a grip on the knife, which can make it harder to hold onto during heavy cuts or when the handle is wet.
Overall, a skeletonized tang is a popular type of tang construction found in many knives.
It offers a unique combination of light weight and improved balance, making it a good choice for many cutting tasks.
A tapered tang is a type of tang where the tang tapers towards the end of the handle.
This type of tang is commonly found in kitchen knives and is known for its good balance.
The tapering also means that the handle can be made from a thinner material, making it easier to grip.
Tapered tangs are usually accomplished by gradually thinning the tang as it approaches the end of the handle. This can be done by a variety of methods, including grinding, filing, or machining.
The manufacturer may also use a special design or material to create a tapered tang.
How is a tapered tang different from other tang types?
Unlike other tang types, a tapered tang gradually narrows toward the end of the handle, while other tangs usually extend to the end of the handle with a consistent width, height, and thickness.
This means that a tapered tang is narrower and thinner at the end of the handle compared to other tang types.
What are the potential drawbacks of a tapered tang?
While a tapered tang offers many benefits, there are some potential drawbacks to consider:
- The tapering may cause minor loss of reliability or strength compared to other tang types
- The narrowing of the tang may mar the handle material
- The design may be more complicated and difficult to manufacture compared to other tang types
A push tang is a type of tang where the tang is pushed into the handle and secured with an adhesive.
This type of tang is commonly found in cheaper knives and is not as strong as other types of tangs.
However, it does create a sleek design and is easier to clean.
Push tang construction
The push tang construction involves the following steps:
- The blade and handle are made separately in the manufacturing process.
- The tang is shortened to a length that extends only a portion of the way into the handle.
- The handle is rabbeted to create a slot for the tang to be affixed.
- The tang is pushed into the slot and secured in place using epoxy or other adhesives.
- The handle is finished with polish or other materials.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of push tang?
- Cheaper to manufacture compared to full tang knives.
- Easier to balance and lighter in weight.
- Incorporates a strong connection between blade and handle.
- Good for light-duty cuts and general use.
- Highly polished and finished for a good look.
- Weaker compared to full tang knives.
- Limited in terms of heavy-duty uses.
- The epoxy or adhesive used to secure the tang can be criticized for its limits.
- Improvements in construction have been made with the use of epoxies.
Examples of knives with push tang
- Gerber LMF II Infantry Knife
- Gil Hibben Old West Bowie Knife
- Sentry Solutions Tuf-Cloth
- Cold Steel Recon 1 Clip Point Knife
Overall, push tang is a type of partial tang construction that is found in many knives.
While it lacks the strength of full tang knives, it is generally cheaper to manufacture and easier to balance.
It is a good option for light-duty cuts and general use.
An encapsulated tang is a type of tang where the tang is completely covered by the handle material.
This type of tang is commonly found in high-quality knives and is known for its strength and durability.
The handle material is usually made from a high-quality material such as wood or metal.
Encapsulated tangs offer a great way to have the strength of a partial tang while still having the aesthetic appeal of a full tang knife.
Advantages of encapsulated tang
The advantages of an encapsulated tang include:
- Offers the potential for a custom design
- Reduces the limit of the handle materials
- Offers additional thickness to the handle
- Offers extra strength to the knife
- Offers a precise fit for the tang
- Reduces the chance of the tang failing or pushing through the handle
- Offers a stronger and more durable knife
An extended tang is a type of tang where the tang extends beyond the handle and is used as a pommel.
This type of tang is commonly found in hunting knives and is known for its balance and overall strength.
The extended tang also means the knife can be used for other tasks, such as hammering.
Maintaining an extended tang knife
Maintaining an extended tang knife is similar to maintaining any other type of knife, but there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind:
- Keep the tang clean: The extended tang can be prone to collecting dirt and debris, so it’s important to keep it clean to prevent any damage to the knife.
- Avoid extreme use: Because an extended tang knife is designed for ultimate performance, it can be more prone to damage if used in extreme conditions.
- Consider the material: The type of material used for the handle of the knife can affect the overall performance of the knife, so it’s important to choose a material that will work well with the extended tang.
- Check for any potential breaks: Because the extended tang is an additional part of the knife, it can be more prone to breaking than other parts of the knife. Check the tang regularly for any signs of damage.
An extended tang can be a great addition to a knife, offering additional weight, balance, and grip.
Depending on the type of knife and the method of construction, an extended tang can be a complicated design feature that requires special attention to maintain.
However, for those who are looking for the ultimate in performance from their knife, an extended tang can be the perfect addition.
Rat-tail tang or stick tang
Rat-tail tangs are generally considered the weakest type of tang due to their construction.
The thin and tapered design of the tang means that it cannot handle the same amount of force as a full tang or even a partial tang knife.
This makes them unsuitable for heavy usage, such as bushcraft or other outdoor activities.
How to identify a rat-tail tang knife
Rat-tail tang knives can be identified by their thin and tapered tang that extends only a portion of the way into the handle.
They are sometimes referred to as stick tang or hidden tang knives due to the fact that the tang is covered by the handle material.
The benefits and drawbacks of rat-tail tang knives
- Lightweight design
- Cheaper to produce
- Easier to carry
- Weakest type of tang
- Unsuitable for heavy usage
- Difficult to change the handle material
- Bad balance resulting in a poor feel
Identifying a full tang knife: tips and tricks
Knowing if a knife is full tang is important for a few reasons:
- Full tang knives are generally stronger and more durable than partial tang knives, making them a good choice for heavy-duty tasks.
- Full tang knives are less likely to break or become damaged over time, making them a good investment for those who use knives frequently.
- Full tang knives are typically heavier than partial tang knives, which can be a benefit for some tasks that require more force or pressure.
How to tell if a knife is full tang
There are a few ways to tell if a knife is full tang:
- Check the packaging or manufacturer’s website: Many knife makers will state whether a knife is full tang in the product description or on the packaging.
- Look for a visible outline: Full tang knives will usually have a visible outline of the tang running through the handle.
- Check for added weight: Full tang knives are typically heavier than partial tang knives due to the added metal in the handle.
- Look for a metal line running through the handle: This line is the tang and is usually visible on full tang knives.
- Try to flex the blade: Full tang knives will be less likely to flex or bend compared to partial tang knives.
- Check online reviews: Other people who have purchased the knife may have mentioned whether it is full tang or not.
Eliminating the chance of a broken tang
Full tang knives are generally considered to be stronger and more durable than partial tang knives.
However, there is still a chance that the tang could break if the knife is misused or if the material used for the handle is not strong enough.
To eliminate the chance of a broken tang, it is important to:
- Choose a knife with a full tang made from a strong material, such as steel.
- Pay attention to the weight and balance of the knife to ensure that it is well-balanced and not too heavy or too light.
- Use the knife for its intended task and avoid using it for tasks it is not designed for.
- Take care of the knife by keeping it clean and dry, and storing it safely when not in use.
Find all the inspiration you need on storing knives safely in my review on the best knife stands, strips and blocks
Benefits of full-tang knives
Full-tang knives are a popular choice among knife makers and enthusiasts because of their solid construction.
The blade of a full-tang knife extends all the way through the handle, making it a single piece of metal.
This means that the weight of the knife is evenly distributed throughout the entire length of the blade and handle, making it heavier and more robust than partial tang knives.
The extra weight and solid construction of a full-tang knife offer several advantages, including:
- Better balance and leverage: The weight of the blade and handle is evenly distributed, which allows for better balance and leverage when cutting.
- Increased force: The weight of the knife allows for more force to be applied to the cutting edge, making it easier to cut through thicker materials.
- Superior tip control: The weight of the knife helps to keep the tip of the blade steady, making it easier to make precise cuts.
Full-tang knives are able to perform better than partial tang knives because of their solid construction.
The blade and handle are one piece of metal, which means that there are no weak points or transitions between the blade and handle.
This allows for more force to be applied to the cutting edge, which makes it easier to cut through tougher materials. Full-tang knives also offer:
- Increased durability: The solid construction of a full-tang knife means that it is less likely to break or snap during use.
- Better cutting ability: The weight of the knife allows for more pressure to be applied to the cutting edge, which makes it easier to cut through thicker materials.
- Suitable for heavy-duty tasks: Full-tang knives are a popular choice for survivalists and outdoor enthusiasts because of their ability to withstand heavy use and abuse.
Full-tang knives require regular maintenance to ensure that they perform at their best.
However, the advantages of a full-tang knife make the extra maintenance worth it.
Some of the maintenance tasks that should be performed regularly include:
- Cleaning the blade: Full-tang knives should be cleaned regularly to prevent rust and corrosion from forming on the blade.
- Sharpening the blade: Full-tang knives should be sharpened regularly to ensure that they remain sharp and effective.
- Checking the handle: Full-tang knives should be checked regularly to ensure that the handle is secure and that there are no loose joints or transitions between the blade and handle.
Overall, full-tang knives offer several advantages over other types of knives.
They are superior in construction, offer better performance, and require regular maintenance to ensure that they perform at their best.
If you are looking for a knife that can withstand heavy use and abuse, a full-tang knife is a great choice.
Full vs partial tang: which is better for your knife?
When it comes to choosing between a full tang and a partial tang knife, there are a few key factors to consider:
- Strength: Full tang knives are generally regarded as stronger and more durable than partial tang knives. This is because the blade extends the full length of the handle, providing more support and stability.
- Weight: Partial tang knives tend to be lighter and more lightweight than full tang knives. This can make them easier to carry and maneuver, but may also make them less effective for heavy-duty tasks.
- Cost: Full tang knives are typically more expensive than partial tang knives, as they require more materials and work to produce.
- Uses: Full tang knives are generally recommended for heavy-duty tasks like chopping and slicing, while partial tang knives may be better suited for lighter work like slicing onions or other small pieces.
- Material: Full tang knives are typically made from tougher materials like steel, while partial tang knives may be made from a variety of materials including metal, plastic, or wood.
- Techniques: Full tang knives tend to be better for techniques that require putting more force into the blade, while partial tang knives may be better for techniques that require more finesse and precision.
- Examples: Japanese knives are typically full tang, while Western-style knives are often partial tang.
Which is best for you?
Ultimately, choosing between a full tang and a partial tang knife will depend on your individual needs and preferences.
If you are a professional chef or frequently use your knife for heavy-duty tasks, a full tang knife may be the better option.
If you are looking for a lighter and more affordable option for everyday use, a partial tang knife may be a good choice.
It’s important to consider the features and benefits of each type of knife and choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.
How do different materials affect tang formation?
The choice of materials used in the construction of a knife tang can have a significant impact on the tang formation.
Here are some of the ways that different materials can affect the tang formation:
The type of metal used in the blade and tang can affect the strength, weight, and flexibility of the knife.
High-carbon steel, for example, is known for its durability and sharpness, but it can be heavier than other types of metal.
Stainless steel, on the other hand, is known for its corrosion resistance but may not be as sharp as high-carbon steel.
The type of metal used will also affect the method of tang formation, such as forging, stamping, or casting.
The materials used to create the handle of the knife can affect the tang formation as well.
For example, wood or bone handles are typically secured to the tang using pins or rivets.
In contrast, synthetic materials like plastic or rubber may use adhesives to attach to the tang.
The choice of handle materials can also affect the balance and overall feel of the knife.
The shape of the tang can also be influenced by the materials used in its construction.
A thick, heavy tang may be necessary to provide balance and strength for a heavy-duty knife, while a thinner tang may be appropriate for a lighter-weight knife used for precision tasks.
The shape of the tang may also be influenced by the type of handle materials used, as some materials may require a certain shape to be secured properly.
In conclusion, the choice of materials used in the construction of a knife tang can have a significant impact on its formation, as well as the strength, weight, and balance of the knife.
It is important to consider all of these factors when choosing a knife, to ensure that the tang is designed to meet the specific needs of the user.
What are the benefits of having a longer tang?
Japanese knives with longer tangs tend to have narrower blades, a common feature in Japanese kitchen culture and customs.
This allows for thin slicing and precise cutting without breaking or bending the blade.
Additionally, a longer tang means the knife can hold a minimal amount of weight, which is ideal for chefs who prefer to enjoy the benefits of having a lighter knife.
How does the tang affect the type of food being cut?
The type of tang in a Japanese knife can greatly affect the type of food being cut.
For example, a partial tang is ideal for cutting vegetables, while a full tang is better for heavier items like meat.
Chefs who want a knife for a particular type of food should consider the type of tang in the knife they choose.
The strength of the tang can also be a factor in cutting certain types of food.
A sturdy, full tang can provide the necessary strength and stability for cutting through denser, tougher foods such as meats, while a weaker or poorly designed tang may be more prone to bending or breaking under these conditions.
A well-balanced knife with a full tang can be better suited for heavy-duty cutting tasks, such as chopping through dense vegetables or meats, while a lighter, more nimble knife with a partial tang may be better for precision tasks such as slicing or dicing vegetables.
What happens when a half tang knife is stressed?
When a half tang knife is stressed, the weakest point of the knife is at the junction between the blade and handle.
If the knife is pushed or forced too hard, the tang can break or become shortened, resulting in a broken knife.
Evidence of stress can be seen on the outside of the handle, where the tang is forced to run longer than it should.
Need to fix a broken knife handle? I have a step-by-step guide to replace a Japanese knife handle here
What’s the difference between knife tang and knife handle?
The tang and the handle are two different parts of a knife, with distinct roles and functions.
The tang is the part of the blade that extends into the handle, providing a point of attachment and support for the handle.
The tang is usually made of the same material as the blade and can be either full or partial.
A full tang extends the entire length of the handle, while a partial tang extends only partway into the handle.
The handle is the part of the knife that is held by the user, providing grip and control over the blade.
The handle can be made of a wide variety of materials, such as wood, plastic, or metal, and can be shaped in various ways to provide a comfortable and ergonomic grip.
The handle is attached to the tang using various methods, such as pins, rivets, or adhesives, depending on the type of knife and the materials used.
While the tang and handle are separate components, they work together to create a functional and effective knife.
The tang provides support and stability for the blade, while the handle provides grip and control for the user.
A well-designed knife will have a strong and durable tang that is securely attached to a comfortable and ergonomic handle, allowing for safe and effective use.
Japanese knives usually have a different handle (Wa) than Western knives, learn the difference here
What is the strongest knife tang?
The strongest knife tang is generally considered to be a full tang.
A full tang extends the full length and width of the handle, with the handle material sandwiched and secured on both sides of the tang.
This creates a strong and stable connection between the blade and handle, distributing the force of impact evenly and preventing the blade from becoming loose or wobbly.
Full tang knives are often preferred for heavy-duty cutting tasks, such as chopping through dense meats or vegetables, as they provide the necessary strength and stability to withstand the force of impact.
They are also generally more durable and longer-lasting than knives with partial tangs or other tang designs.
That being said, it is important to note that the strength of a knife tang also depends on other factors, such as the type of steel used and the quality of the construction.
A well-designed and properly executed partial tang or other tang design can also be strong and reliable, as long as it is engineered to meet the demands of the intended use.
So there you have it – everything you need to know about the tang of a knife.
The tang is the part of the knife that extends from the handle, and it’s an important factor when choosing a knife based on your needs.
Most Western knives are full tang, whereas most traditional Japanese knives have a partial tang.
So remember to consider it when making your next purchase!
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.