When it comes to knives, their construction and design extend beyond just the blade itself. The tang of knife can greatly impact a blade’s performance and durability.
Explore the significance of the tang in knife structure, its various types, and how it can impact your overall knife experience.
What Is The Tang Of A Knife?
The tang of a knife extends into the handle, usually running the entire length of the handle. Manufacturers often secure it with pins, rivets, or other fasteners.
Tang is essential for the knife’s overall performance. It supports the blade and connects it to the handle, creating a robust and reliable construction.
The tang helps distribute the force and stress applied to the blade during use, preventing the blade from separating or breaking away from the handle. This design feature enhances the overall functionality and longevity of the knife.
Types Of Tang Knives
1. Full Tang
The full tang of a knife refers to the part of the blade that extends fully into the handle.
- Less likely to break during use.
- Allow for more stability and control.
- More expensive and heavier.
- The handle scales may make you feel uncomfortable.
Full-tang knives are popular for outdoor activities and demanding tasks. They require a strong and reliable knife, especially in challenging situations.
2. Extended Tang
Extended tang refers to a type of full tang where the blade’s metal extends beyond the handle of a knife. It protrudes from the end of the handle, forming a lanyard or pommel hole.
- Provide added stability and strength to the knife, making it more reliable for demanding tasks.
- The tang portion beyond the handle can serve as a hammer or strike.
- Heavier than those with standard tangs.
- The extended tang portion can be bothersome during use.
Knives with extended tangs are well-suited for survival situations and outdoor activities that require a robust and sturdy tool.
3. Skeletonized Tang
Skeletonized tang is a type of knife tang with portions removed from the center, reducing weight while maintaining structural integrity.
- Make the knife lighter overall.
- Fit well to paracord-wrapped handles.
- The cutout portions can undermine its overall structural strength.
- Outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, hunting, and bushcraft.
- Best for hikers, backpackers, or survivalists who prioritize carrying lightweight gear.
4. Encapsulated Tang
Encapsulated tang is a tang fully covered by the knife handle material. You cannot see any tang metal exposed to the handle.
- Give the knife a stylish and clean appearance.
- No sharp edges or exposed metal can cause discomfort during use.
- Not be as strong and durable as other tang types.
- Difficult to modify or replace the handle material.
You can use knives with encapsulated tangs for everyday tasks, culinary applications, and general utility purposes.
5. Hidden Tang
Hidden tang, or through tang, refers to a knife tang entirely covered by the handle material.
Unlike encapsulated tang, which is molded within the handle material, the hidden tang is attached to the handle material without molding.
- Sturdy and strong.
- The tang design creates a clean and seamless look.
- Be more expensive with handmade rather than mass-produced.
- The handle material may become loose from the tang, although this is uncommon.
Hidden tang knives suit various applications, including everyday use and outdoor activities.
6. Partial Tang
A partial tang is a knife tang that does not extend fully into the handle material. The tang only reaches a portion of the handle’s length.
- Lighter compared to full tang knives.
- Allow for unique and creative handle designs, including folding knives.
- Generally less strong and sturdy than full tang knives.
- Refrain from heavy-duty or intensive tasks.
Partial tang knives are suitable for various purposes, including everyday carry, cooking, camping, and wood carving.
7. Tapered Tang
Tapered tang, or narrowing tang, is a partial tang that starts wide near the blade and gradually narrows towards the end.
- Require less material, making it more affordable.
- The narrowing design reduces the weight of the knife.
- Contribute to a well-balanced knife.
- The gradual tapering of the tang may compromise its strength.
- Not robust and reliable enough for intensive use.
Tapered tang knives are suitable for situations where weight is a factor. You can use them in budget-friendly knives or those intended for light and decorative purposes.
8. Rat-tailed Tang
Rat-tailed tang, or stick tang, refers to a tang design where the tang abruptly narrows at the transition point between the blade and the handle, like a rat’s tail.
- Lightweight due to the thin and narrow tang.
- Less expensive than others as the stick tang design requires less material.
- The thin and narrow tang can greatly affect the strength and durability of a knife.
- Unsuitable for tasks requiring a robust and sturdy blade.
Rat-tailed tang knives are best for decorative purposes or tasks that won’t put much strain on the blade.
9. Push Tang
Push tang is a type of tang that is similar to partial tang. It is lightweight and inexpensive.
- Lightweight and easy to carry.
- Less expensive than other types of knives.
- The tang design undermines the knife’s strength and longevity.
- Separate from the handle over time.
Push tang knives are suitable for non-intensive tasks where heavy-duty knives are unnecessary, such as everyday carry or simple household tasks.
FAQ related to Tang Of Knife
Why Do Knives Have Tangs?
- The tang provides structural support and stability to the blade, preventing it from breaking or bending during use.
- It allows for a secure attachment of the handle to the blade, ensuring a solid grip for the user.
- A knife tang distributes the force and impact evenly throughout the knife, enhancing the balance while cutting food.
- Tangs allow for different handle materials and designs so that users can customize their knives for comfort.
How Long Should A Tang Be On A Knife?
A tang on a knife should be at least two-thirds the handle’s length. It ensures that the tang provides sufficient strength to the blade.
While higher-quality brands usually follow this standard, cheaper knives may have shorter tangs, affecting their reliability.
What Is The Difference Between A Full And Through Tang?
The main difference between a full tang and a through tang lies in how they extend into the handle of a knife.
- A full tang is extending the handle’s entire length and width. It runs through the handle material and is visible on both sides.
- A through tang extends through the handle but may not span its width. The tang is visible at the end of the handle, with a pommel or a protrusion. Thus, you can easily attach a lanyard or other accessories.
How Thick Should A Tang Be?
A tang should be as wide as possible. Note that the thickness of the tang should be proportionate to the overall size and weight of the knife. A larger, heavier knife may require a thicker tang, while a smaller knife may have a relatively thinner tang.
The type of tang used in a knife, whether full tang, hidden tang, partial tang, or any other variation, can significantly impact its durability and functionality.
Whether you’re using a knife for everyday tasks, outdoor activities, or professional purposes, understanding each tang of knife can help you choose a reliable, durable knife suited to your specific needs.
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