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Everything About the Knife Tang

Feb 14,2023 | Fzkaly

Whether you are a professional chef, hunter, or DIY enthusiast, choosing the right knife with the right tang is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience.

In addition to knife selection, knowledge of knife tangs can also be useful for knife maintenance, repair, and customization. Understanding the type of tang on your knife can help you determine the proper care and maintenance procedures, as well as the best course of action for repairing a damaged handle or modifying the blade.

So why wait? Start exploring the world of knife tangs now and discover the key to strong, durable, and balanced knives. Browse our selection of high-quality knives and learn more about the different types of knife tangs available.

What is a knife tang?

A knife tang is the part of the knife blade that extends into the handle. It serves as the connection between the blade and the handle and provides balance and stability to the knife.

knife tang

The tang also helps to distribute the weight of the knife evenly, making it easier to control and maneuver. This is important, especially when performing tasks that require precision and accuracy. A well-designed tang can also help absorb the impact from striking or chopping, reducing the likelihood of the blade breaking or bending.

In addition to providing stability and balance, the tang also helps to secure the handle in place. Depending on the construction method, the tang may be pinned, screwed, or simply fitted snugly into the handle. This helps to prevent the handle from coming loose or separating from the blade over time.

The tang is a vital component in the design and construction of a knife. It is important to consider the type and design of the tang when choosing a knife, as it can greatly impact the overall performance and durability of the knife.

Knife tang types

In this comprehensive guide to knife tang types, we'll take the confusion out of knife selection and help you make an informed decision about the right knife for your needs. From full tang to partial tang and rat-tail tang, we'll cover all the important information you need to know about each type of tang, including their strengths, weaknesses, and best uses. Here is a detailed description of 9 different types of knife tangs:

Full tang

A full tang knife is a type of knife where the blade extends the full length of the handle. This design is considered to be the strongest and most durable type of tang, making it ideal for heavy-duty tasks such as chopping, slicing, and cutting through tough materials.

Pros:

  • Strength and Durability: Full tang knives are known for their strength and durability, as the blade extends the full length of the handle, providing a solid and sturdy connection between the two components.
  • Balance: Full tang knives offer excellent balance, as the weight of the blade is evenly distributed throughout the handle. This makes them easier to control and maneuver, especially when performing tasks that require precision and accuracy.
  • Handle Stability: The full tang design provides a secure connection between the handle and blade, reducing the likelihood of the handle separating or coming loose over time.
  • Ergonomics: Full tang knives often feature ergonomically designed handles that provide a comfortable grip, reducing hand fatigue and improving overall control.

Cons:

  • Weight: Full tang knives are generally heavier than other types of knives, which can make them more challenging to handle and maneuver, especially for extended periods of time.
  • Cost: Full tang knives are typically more expensive than other types of knives, as the design requires more material and labor to construct.
  • Blade Length Limitations: Full tang knives are limited in terms of blade length, as the blade must extend the full length of the handle. This can limit the range of tasks that can be performed with the knife.

A full tang knife is a strong and durable option, making it ideal for heavy-duty tasks and tasks that require precision and accuracy. However, it is also heavier and more expensive than other types of knives and may not be suitable for all tasks due to its blade length limitations.

Partial tang

A partial tang knife is a type of knife where the blade extends only partially into the handle. In other words, only a portion of the blade extends into the handle, while the rest of the blade is exposed. Partial tang knives are often lighter in weight compared to full tang knives, as the blade is shorter and there is less metal in the handle.

Pros:

  • Lightweight: Partial tang knives are often lighter in weight compared to full tang knives, making them easier to handle and maneuver.
  • Cost-effective: Due to their simpler design, partial tang knives are often less expensive to produce compared to full tang knives.
  • Easy to manufacture: The partial tang design is less complicated to manufacture than full tang knives, making it easier for knife makers to produce these types of knives in bulk.

Cons:

  • Less Durable: Because only a portion of the blade extends into the handle, partial tang knives are less sturdy and less durable than full tang knives. This can lead to the handle becoming loose or separating from the blade over time.
  • Unbalanced: The lack of a full-length tang can make partial tang knives feel unbalanced, making them more difficult to control and maneuver, especially when performing tasks that require precision.
  • Not Suitable for Heavy-Duty Tasks: Due to their lighter weight and less sturdy construction, partial tang knives are not recommended for heavy-duty tasks such as chopping or pounding. These tasks put a lot of stress on the handle and blade, which can result in the handle coming loose or the blade breaking.

Partial tang knives are a cost-effective option for those who prioritize lightweight design and ease of manufacture over durability and balance. However, for those who require a knife for heavy-duty tasks, a full tang knife is generally the better choice.

Encapsulated tang

An encapsulated tang is a type of knife tang that is surrounded by the handle material on all sides. In this design, the tang is completely encased in the handle, giving the knife a smooth and seamless appearance.

Pros:

  • Durability: Encapsulated tangs provide added strength and stability to the knife, making them ideal for heavy-duty tasks.
  • Improved Handle Comfort: The handle material helps to absorb shock and vibrations from the blade, providing a more comfortable grip for the user.
  • Aesthetics: Encapsulated tangs have a clean and seamless appearance, making them popular for use in high-end kitchen knives and other decorative knives.

Cons:

  • Complex Manufacturing Process: The process of encapsulating the tang is more complex than other types of tangs, leading to higher manufacturing costs.
  • Difficult to Repair: If the handle becomes damaged or broken, the entire knife must be replaced, as it is difficult to repair an encapsulated tang knife.
  • Less Tang Visibility: Since the tang is completely enclosed by the handle, it is difficult to inspect or clean the tang, making it harder to maintain the knife.

An encapsulated tang is a strong and durable type of tang that provides a comfortable grip and an attractive appearance. However, it is more expensive to manufacture and can be difficult to repair, making it a less popular choice for some applications.

Skeletonized tang

A skeletonized tang is a type of knife tang that is designed to reduce weight while still providing stability and balance. As the name suggests, the tang is "skeletonized" or hollowed out, removing excess material to make the knife lighter.

Pros:

  • Reduced Weight: The primary benefit of a skeletonized tang is that it can make the knife lighter, making it easier to handle and maneuver, especially for extended periods of time.
  • Increased Agility: The reduced weight of the skeletonized tang can also make the knife more agile and nimble, allowing for quick and precise cuts.
  • Improved Balance: By removing excess material, the skeletonized tang can improve the overall balance of the knife, making it feel more comfortable in the hand and reducing fatigue during use.

Cons:

  • Reduced Strength: Because the skeletonized tang has less material, it may be weaker and less durable than a full tang or partial tang. This may make it less suitable for heavy-duty tasks or applications where the knife will be subjected to significant stress or impact.
  • Increased Risk of Handle Separation: A skeletonized tang may not provide as secure a connection to the handle as a full tang or partial tang, increasing the risk of the handle separating from the blade over time.
  • Aesthetics: Some people may find the appearance of a skeletonized tang to be less attractive or less aesthetically pleasing compared to a full or partial tang.

A skeletonized tang can provide several benefits, including reduced weight, increased agility, and improved balance, but it also has some disadvantages, including reduced strength, increased risk of handle separation, and a potential impact on aesthetics. When choosing a knife with a skeletonized tang, it is important to consider the intended use and whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

Extended tang

An extended tang knife is a type of knife that features a tang that extends beyond the handle, often forming a visible part of the handle itself. This design can offer several advantages, as well as some drawbacks, and is often used in specialty knives, such as kitchen knives or survival knives.

Pros:

  • Enhanced Durability: The extended tang provides extra support and reinforcement to the knife, making it stronger and more durable. This makes it ideal for heavy-duty tasks, such as chopping or cleaving.
  • Improved Balance: The extended tang can help distribute the weight of the knife more evenly, improving balance and control. This can make the knife more comfortable to use for extended periods and improve precision during tasks.
  • Unique Aesthetics: The extended tang can add a unique and attractive design element to the knife, and can often serve as a decorative feature.

Cons:

  • Increased Cost: Due to the additional material and construction required to create an extended tang, these knives are often more expensive than traditional knives with a standard tang.
  • Difficult to Clean: The extended tang can make it more difficult to clean the knife, as food and debris can become trapped in the crevices between the tang and the handle.
  • Potential for Injury: The extended tang can also pose a safety risk, as it can be sharp and may cause injury if not handled properly.

An extended tang knife can offer several advantages, including enhanced durability, improved balance, and unique aesthetics. However, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks, including increased cost, difficulty in cleaning, and potential for injury, before making a purchase. As with any knife, it is important to choose a knife that is appropriate for its intended use and to handle it with care and caution.

Rat-tail tang

The rat-tail tang is a type of knife tang that is thin, tapered, and elongated. It is so named because of its slender and elongated appearance, which is reminiscent of the tail of a rat. Rat-tail tangs are typically found in lightweight knives such as fillet knives or boning knives, where a balance between weight and flexibility is desired.

Pros:

  • Lightweight: Rat-tail tangs are slender, so they add minimal weight to the knife. This makes them ideal for lighter tasks where a knife with a full or partial tang may be too heavy and cumbersome.
  • Flexibility: The slender design of the rat-tail tang allows for a certain degree of flexibility, which can be useful when performing delicate tasks. This allows for a greater degree of control and precision.
  • Ease of Manufacture: The simple design of the rat-tail tang makes it easier and less expensive to manufacture, as compared to full or partial tangs.

Cons:

  • Durability: The thin design of the rat-tail tang makes it less durable than full or partial tangs. This type of tang is not suitable for heavy-duty tasks, as it may bend or break under stress.
  • Handle Stability: The rat-tail tang is not as secure as full or partial tangs, and as a result, it may not hold the handle as securely in place. Over time, the handle may loosen or separate from the blade, reducing the overall reliability of the knife.
  • Lack of Balance: The slender design of the rat-tail tang does not provide the same balance as a full or partial tang. This can make the knife feel less stable and harder to control, especially when performing tasks that require precision.

The rat-tail tang is a useful option for lightweight knives where a balance between weight and flexibility is desired. However, it is not suitable for heavy-duty tasks and may not provide the same level of stability and balance as full or partial tangs.

Push tang

Push tang is a type of knife tang that is characterized by a narrow, rectangular shape that is inserted into the handle and then secured in place with pins, screws, or adhesive. This type of tang is commonly found in traditional or handmade knives and is a popular choice among knife makers and enthusiasts due to its simplicity and versatility.

Pros:

  • Simplicity: Push tangs are relatively easy to construct and require only a few basic tools and materials. This makes them a popular choice for knife makers and those who prefer to create their own knives.
  • Versatility: The narrow, rectangular shape of push tangs allows them to be easily adapted to a variety of handle materials, shapes, and styles. This makes them a versatile option for those who want to customize their knife handles.
  •  Aesthetics: The simplicity and clean lines of push tangs can add to the overall aesthetic appeal of a knife, especially when paired with a well-designed handle.

Cons:

  • Strength: Push tangs are typically not as strong as full tangs, as the narrow shape does not provide as much surface area for attachment. This can make them more prone to failure or breaking under heavy use or stress.
  • Handle Security: The handle may become loose over time if not secured properly, as the narrow shape of the tang does not provide as much surface area for attachment.
  • Weight Distribution: Push tangs may not provide as balanced weight distribution as full tangs, as they do not extend the full length of the handle. This can make the knife feel unbalanced or awkward in the hand.

Push tangs can be a good choice for those who are looking for a simple, versatile, and customizable option for their knife. However, it is important to keep in mind the limitations in strength and handle security when considering a push tang for heavy-duty tasks or applications.

Tapered tang

A tapered tang is a type of knife tang that tapers from the blade to the end of the tang. This design results in a tang that is thinner at one end and thicker at the other, with the thicker end being located inside the handle.

Pros:

  • Lightweight: Tapered tangs are often lighter than full tangs or partial tangs, making them suitable for lightweight knives such as fillet knives or boning knives. This makes them easier to handle and maneuver, especially for extended periods of time.
  • Improved Balance: The tapered design of the tang allows for a more balanced distribution of weight in the knife. This can make it easier to control the knife and achieve precise cuts.
  • Ease of Construction: Tapered tangs are often easier to construct compared to full tangs or partial tangs, which can simplify the manufacturing process.

Cons:

  • Reduced Durability: Tapered tangs are often not as strong as full tangs or partial tangs and can become loose over time. This can lead to the handle separating from the blade, which can be dangerous.
  • Limited Uses: Tapered tangs are not well suited for heavy-duty tasks or tasks that require significant force. They are typically limited to lighter-cutting tasks, such as filleting fish or deboning poultry.
  • Reduced Blade Control: The reduced strength and stability of tapered tangs can lead to reduced blade control, which can make it more difficult to achieve precise cuts.

Tapered tangs are a good option for lightweight knives used for light-cutting tasks, but may not be suitable for heavier or more demanding applications. When choosing a knife, it's important to consider the intended use and to select a tang that is appropriate for the task.

Hidden tang

A hidden tang is a type of knife tang that is not visible from the outside of the handle. The blade extends into the handle and is typically secured in place by means of a screw, pin, or adhesive. This type of tang is often used in the construction of high-end and decorative knives, where the appearance of the handle is a key factor.

Pros:

  • Aesthetics: Hidden tangs provide a sleek, clean appearance to the knife handle, as the tang is not visible. This type of tang is often preferred for decorative knives or those with elaborate handles, as it does not detract from the overall appearance.
  • Weight Distribution: The hidden tang can be shaped and balanced to provide an optimal weight distribution, making the knife easier to control and maneuver.
  • Handle Customization: The handle of a hidden tang knife can be easily customized or replaced, as the tang is not visible. This makes it possible to change the look and feel of the knife, even after it has been purchased.

Cons:

  • Strength: Hidden tangs are generally not as strong as full tangs and are not suitable for heavy-duty tasks. The lack of visibility makes it difficult to ensure that the tang is properly secured within the handle, and the knife may be more prone to breaking or coming loose over time.
  • Cost: Hidden tang knives tend to be more expensive than full tang knives, as the construction process is more complex and labor-intensive.
  • Repairs: If the hidden tang becomes damaged, it can be difficult to repair, as the tang is not visible. This can limit the lifespan of the knife and make it difficult to restore to its original condition.

The hidden tang is a type of knife tang that is favored for its appearance and customization options. However, it is not as strong or durable as a full tang and may be more prone to breaking or coming loose over time. It is important to consider the intended use of the knife and the importance of strength and durability when choosing a knife with a hidden tang.

Is a full tang knife better?

Full tang knives are generally seen as a higher quality option and are often used by professional chefs and outdoors enthusiasts for several reasons.

full tang knife handle

A full tang knife provides greater strength and stability to the knife. This makes it ideal for heavy-duty tasks, as it is less likely to bend or break compared to other types of tangs. And a full tang knife provides a more balanced weight distribution, which can make it easier to control and maneuver. The extended tang helps to secure the handle in place, reducing the likelihood of the handle coming loose or separating from the blade.

It is important to note, however, that there are other factors that also contribute to the overall quality and performance of a knife, such as the blade material, handle material, and blade design. Additionally, some users may prefer a lighter knife and find full tang knives to be too heavy for their tastes.

A full tang knife is often considered a better option due to its strength, durability, balance, and handling stability. However, the best choice depends on individual preferences and the intended use of the knife.

Our Picked Full Tang Knives

1. Fzkaly Classic 8" Chef's Knife

CLASSIC 8" CHEF'S KNIFE

The handle of the classic 8" chef's knife from Fzkaly is an essential aspect of the knife's design and functionality. It is crafted from high-quality, durable materials that provide a comfortable grip, even during extended periods of use. The handle is also ergonomically designed to reduce hand fatigue, making it ideal for demanding cutting tasks in the kitchen. Additionally, the handle features a classic, timeless design that will complement any kitchen décor. With its combination of comfort, durability, and style, the handle of the classic 8" chef's knife is a key buying point for consumers looking for a reliable and high-performing kitchen knife.

2. 8" Japanese Chef's Knife

JAPANESE CHEF'S KNIFE

This 8" Japanese chef's knife handle is expertly crafted from high-quality G10 materials to provide a comfortable and secure grip. The handle is ergonomically designed to reduce hand fatigue, making it ideal for extended use in the kitchen. Its unique design combines traditional Japanese style with modern functionality to create a knife that is both beautiful and practical.

3. 8.5" Professional Chef's Knife

PROFESSIONAL CHEF'S KNIFE

The Fzkaly 8.5" professional chef's knife handle is made from a durable and long-lasting ebony material, providing a comfortable grip even during intense cutting tasks. The handle is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand, reducing hand fatigue and allowing you to work with precision. With its sleek design and durable construction, this knife is a must-have tool for any professional chef or home cook.

4. 7" Damascus Santoku Knife

Damascus Santoku Knife

The handle of the 7" Damascus santoku knife from Fzkaly is made from a blue Pakka wood handle ensures superior hand control, agility and comfort. Full tang construction offers maximum robustness and triple-riveted design for extra strength that fits comfortably in your hand. The unique pattern of the Damascus steel blade is complemented by the elegant design of the handle, making this knife a stunning addition to any kitchen.

5. 9" Japanese Chef's Knife

JAPANESE CHEF'S KNIFE

The handle of the 9" chef's knife from FzKaly is crafted from a highly impervious G10, the chef knife's handle is resistant to heat, cold, and moisture. The traditional Japanese octagon green handle is both elegant and utilitarian, offering great hand control and agility. With a non-slip and easy-to-use grip, you’ll enjoy both comfort and durability for years to come.

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