The tang of a knife is the section of the knife that is unsharpened and extends through the handle to the end of the knife.
Its primary function is to keep the different knife’s parts attached together, adding more resistance and durability so you can use the knife securely in the process.
However, there are lots of different types of knife tang, and it is important to know each type and what they’re commonly used for. This knowledge will help you select the best option depending on what you need to use the knife for.
Join us as we take a look at each type of knife tang and the things you need to consider before buying a knife.
The main variation of knife tangs
Suppose that you are going to buy a knife to use it as a survival tool, or even for hunting reasons. In that case, you should definitely choose one that has the highest quality, although this could be a little bit more expensive. However, this is a tool that will undoubtedly be very useful and versatile.
Now, this quality will be directly related to the knife tang, and there are two main variations of this part of every hunting knife: the full one and, of course, the partial.
The knives designed to go hunting that include this type of tang are possibly the ones with the most resistance out there. This happens because the knife’s blade is fixated within the handle, and as the tang actually is a complete piece, it gives it outstanding durability.
So, in these survival accessories, both, the blade and grip will then be fabricated as a single piece of resistant metal, making it unlikely that the structure suffers any type of fracture or end up seriously damaged. Usually, an ergonomic handle is added to this type of hunting knife to give it more of a safe grip and comfort.
You could perceive, in some traditional models, a metal edge located inside of the grip’s parts. If so, it means that the grip and tang have been shaped in a similar width and length. Hunters usually use this knife when they need to perform some heavy-duty task, as its frame and construction are really strong and resistant. It is definitely a perfect option for practically any survival or hunting circumstance, especially when you could need a high resistance tool with extreme durability.
- Greater robustness: knives that are fabricated with a full tang are actually much more solid than those with a partial one, or other varieties. This is because it is actually harder to fracture o break a single piece of metal.
- Greater functionality: When a hunting knife shows signs of wear, it can become loose or separate itself away from the handle. In the case of those knives that come with a full tang, this will not be a problem anymore since they can continue to be manipulated or even used without any major issue.
- Better balance: As there is more metal in the grip’s area, this tool will have a better balance when you finally use it, and you surely will notice it fast. This is because, usually, the blade used in this type of knife is actually longer than its grip. Still, in the case of knives that have a full tang, the knife’s balance point will actually be in your hand, giving it greater leverage force when used.
- Greater weight: The fact that they contain a greater amount of metal in their structure causes them to be heavier than other tang varieties for knives.
- Increased vulnerability to corrosion: Most knives used for hunting that includes full tang designs have the tang metal exposed along with the handle. This makes it is more exposed to elements like moisture or blood. If it does not have insulation or is not maintained correctly, it could cause the tang to corrode or even rust.
Unlike the Full Tang, the partial one is usually cheaper on an economic level, as it consists of a small metal tang that extends partially into the grip. These types of knives for hunting or survival can come in a wide variety of sizes and designs since the length of the tang can vary in each model.
For example, a partial tang could take up three-quarters of a hunting knife’s grip, or even only half. These variations will depend on both how the knife was built and, of course, the final purpose that it must accomplish.
These tangs usually stay attached or fused to the grip by using some gluing elements such as epoxy. Still, you will be able to find some variations in which the material that composes the grip part has been actually molded around this metal piece, in order to give it greater accuracy and, of course, solidity.
It is an industry-standard for these types of hunting knives to be manufactured for regular light use, but not for heavier duties. These types of knives are definitely not designed to resist or withstand a very large application of force.
- Lighter: If you are going away on a long expedition, you probably will want to reduce as much weight in the carriage as possible. With these knives, you will have that advantage, since they weigh less than the other option.
- More economical: If money is an essential factor for you to make your buying choice, then this one is the type of knife that will suit your needs since they are usually cheaper than other varieties.
- Greater variety of materials for the handle: If the aesthetic factor can be an important factor for your decision-making process, this type of knife has as an important advantage that it is possible to fabricate its grip built with a much greater variety of different materials, including bone, woods or even stag.
- Less resistance: This particular variety of knives could actually be sadly less resistant to damage. Its weakness happens because, as there is less material connecting together the grip with the blade, it actually is more likely to suffer a fracture or even break when there are demanding working conditions.
- May loosen with use: Many knife designs with a partial tang may experience a bit of slack in the handle over time, especially after doing some heavy duties, such as prying. When this happens, it is difficult to maneuver the knife effectively.
- The balance is in the blade: Unless the handle has some kind of counterweight, usually the balance point of this type of hunting knife is more towards the blade than towards the handle, which could detract from precision at a time fast reaction.
Other important variations
Now that you are clear about the two main types of knife tang, it’s time to talk about the different variations you can get from this part. You must know them as this will help you make decisions when you go to buy your new survival accessory.
This definition is not so related to how the tang was manufactured but referred to the way in which this piece is attached to the grip of the knife. In this variety, the handle has been prefabricated with a slot large enough to insert the tang.
Then finally the knife’s tang, as its name implies, is tightly pushed inside of the prefabricated grip, to finally be fixed using some type of adhesive such as epoxy. Usually, the tang will not fill the full length or width of the grip. However, this method can be applied to both full or partial tang equally.
When it happens to be the full variety, you will probably not be able to notice the tang’s edge like you can in traditional models, and this is because this part will elegantly be hidden inside of the grip’s material. By selecting this particular fabrication method, manufacturers can use other different materials when constructing the handle. It also has as an important advantage that the knife’s tang will be protected against corrosion.
- It is cheaper: Due to the type of construction used in this variation, its cost is usually lower. Even in the case of the full tang, because this piece will be hidden inside the grip, it is not necessary to work it as much to give it a clean finish, which reduces costs.
- Lighter: This type of construction is made using light and resistant materials, which significantly reduces the weight of the knife.
- Increased variety of finishes: Because these knives are relatability simple to mass-produce, they can be found in wide options of materials
- Major weakness: Depending on the type of material used to make the grip, this could make the overall knife weak or easily damaged.
- Could separate: Because the parts are not attached with rivets, there is a possibility that the blade will separate from the handle, ruining the usability of the knife.
The manufacturer uses this type of process when the most crucial part of the design is actually the handle. In these types of knives, it is not so important that the blade is of good quality or functional, as it is more about the appearance.
To manufacture it, two methods can be followed. In the first, the tang slides into the handle until it is at the same level as the bolsters, to later reaffirm the work with epoxy. Another technique, although a little more laborious, is that the tang is longer than the handle. After it is inserted into the handle, a knob is used to fix the whole piece.
There is an additional method where a projection is welded to the tang, which is subsequently inserted into the handle, which prevents the blade from separating from this part. This technique usually takes a bit more work but it is the most reliable way this type of knife construction can be done.
- Increased strength: This method of manufacture, if done correctly, makes this tool stronger and durable for almost all tasks.
- Greater control: Especially if you use the technique of adding a weld or pommel to this tool, this will give you a counterweight that will facilitate the handling of this tool quickly in survival circumstances.
- Looks Better: This type of construction adds a better look and finish to each piece.
- Increased strength: The blade is unlikely to separate from the handle or fracture when using this type of assembly with the grip. Although this depends entirely on the quality and experience of the manufacturer.
- They are uncommon: It is not common to get this type of manufacture because they are more challenging to create due to the specifications and technical requirements.
- Not as resistant as is believed: Although it is often believed that their construction can be very strong, they are not as strong as the full tang.
- Loss of material: It is possible for the tang to lose some metal during the assembly process, reducing its thickness and strength.
This is one of the varieties of knives preferred by hunters because it is quite strong, although it has some critical limitations. For this type of manufacture, all the material to be used in the handle is usually molded around the tang. This material is then fixed in position using adhesives such as epoxy or even rivets.
This method takes excellent care of the aesthetic part of the knife since manufacturers usually use it when they want to obtain the unique appearance of the push tang but with much more resistance and strength.
- Guaranteed strength: The main advantage of this manufacturing method is the strength of these knives.
- Fewer accidents: Due to the process used to create them, this type of tool does not usually fail or break at the joint between the shank and the grip.
- Greater control: The manufacture of this type of design usually meets ergonomic characteristics, so they typically offer much greater control and precision.
- Limited rate of success in its use: For this type of knife to be truly successful in its manufacture, it is highly dependent on the right grip.
- Limitation on materials: Due to the type of manufacturing that is carried out, the range of materials to be used is highly limited since it will not work well on all kinds of materials.
This type of manufacturing is also known under the name of Rat-Tail Tang. In contrast, the blade of these knives looks like the body of a rat, and the tang is usually so thin that it resembles the tail of this animal, which is why it is usually called that way.
It is important that the tang must be fused with the grip using materials such as the rivet, bolt, or threaded knob; this is due to its delicate external shape.
Usually, this type of knife is created for collectors, so its use is usually only for decoration. If you want to use it, the ideal is to be with activities that do not require too much force because they can spoil quickly.
- Knife display: For lovers of collecting knives, the Stick Tang is the best option since its use is usually purely decorative
- Low cost: This point is linked to the first. If you want to show off your knives, Stick Tang are wonderful for their price. Producing them is also very inexpensive due to its thin and light structure.
- They do not have enough force: This type of knife has little force capacity when using heavy work.
- Do not use it regularly: You can do some simple actions with this knife; however, using it on a daily basis will cause it to deteriorate quickly.
As the name implies, this tang has a narrow shape that makes it look like a cone. It exists in several presentations. For example, the narrow side can be from the entire sheet’s spine to the pommel area, or the reduction may start in the spine area until it reaches the abdomen.
There are also varieties that begin to taper from the edge area until they reach the center. In general, this type of knife is created when saving the material is required and avoiding its very high weight. However, it is covered in the market for its aestheticism.
- Savings everywhere: This design is ideal for saving material and does not affect the knife’s balance.
- It is always attentive to detail: Manufacturers are given the freedom to demonstrate their skill to the public as they can be expected in the smallest detail.
- Light: Being so thin, it becomes a very light knife.
- It is defective for many: Although a lot of attention to detail is required, for many experts, this knife can be defective due to its thinness.
- Can not be used: It is almost impossible to use it for any important activity. These knives usually look good on a collectible shelf.
This type of tang is known to help save material in the tenon area, as it only focuses on the edge. In general, this type of knife does not have a handle to manipulate it, but materials such as rope or rope are wrapped around it.
Although it is very light, it helps to have a good balance when using it.
- No excess material: Removing excess material in the shank area helps to make it completely light. This allows you to have a greater balance and, with it, confidence when using it.
- Weak if not careful: These types of knives are a little weaker than the rest if the center of the tang is not cut precisely.
This knife usually has a much longer tang than the handle itself. The tip is rounded, which makes it more secure, comfortable, and attractive. Many people use this knife to hammer nails because of how strong it is.
- Useful everywhere: You can use it to cut and as a tool to help you do simple tasks, such as hammering or exerting force on an object.
- Accessories: There are several designs to which a hole is added in the handle to incorporate a rope.
- Counterproductive materials: In general, this knife is completely resistant and does not present negativities; however, it can be added that depending on the material with which it is created, some may be more resistant than others.
What is the best Tang knife to choose?
As the saying goes, for tastes, colors. That’s the thing about the way knife lovers prefer tenons. It is well known that depending on its strength and design, it may give the knife more advantage; however, everything will depend on what it is used for.
Another important factor is the purchasing power you have because some knives are cheaper than others due to material savings, but they may not have those details that stand out from the most striking and expensive.
If you want to collect knives, it is advisable to choose those whose tang are thin because the weight will be less, and the details are signs of appreciation. Now, if you want to use it for different activities, the best you can choose are those with resistant tang so that you can handle them in a more balanced and comfortable way.