Knife Tang Types
September 23, 2016
Tang is an important characteristic of fixed-blade knives. The Tang is the portion of the blade that extends down into the handle. There are several types of knife tangs, but they can be broken down into two main categories: Full Tang and Partial Tang.
Full Tang – (pictured above) refers to a knife tang that extends the full length and width of the handle. Full tang knives generally form the handle by the use of Scale material. Scales refer to two pieces of handle material that sandwich the tang between them and are attached to the tang by adhesive and/or rivets /pins. Full Tang knife construction is generally considered the most durable and solid knife construction available and is intended for hard working knives.
A Skeletonized tang has portions of material removed from the tang stock. Often found on knives with full tang construction but without handle material. Skeletonized tang construction is popular on bare bones survival blades and neck knives.
Partial Tang refers to a knife tang that doesn’t fully extend and/or match the width of the blade and handle material. Generally considered weaker than Full Tangs, Partial Tangs have their place in the knife world and generally produce much lighter knives. Partial Tangs can be broken down further into sub categories.
A shortened tang that tapers after the blade portion of a knife. Push Tangs are pushed or forced into the handle material and secured with adhesive.
Similar to a Push Tang, the Hidden Tang tapers after the blade portion and is attached to the handle with adhesive. It generally has no outside evidence of its attachment. Hidden Tangs can also run longer than the full length of the handle and can be secured by a pommel or buttcap.
Also known as a Stick Tang, the Rat Tail is the weakest of knife tangs. Rat tail tangs are generally reserved for inexpensive or display knives. They use less stock material. The blade is thick, while the tang narrows significantly, resulting in a knife that is unsuitable for heavy use.
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