Knife Tangs explained.
Its important to point out before we get into the various knife blade tangs that long held beliefs about varying knife tangs are generally speaking negated by modern manufacturing processes, however if you need a hard working knife then full tang is the most definite way to go.
There was a time when a partial tang knife was to be avoided at all costs, with modern manufacturing techniques and advancements in epoxies, in a good knife a partial tang is no longer a doomed to fail under pressure knife, it can of course still and does happen just less likely. On the other side of this the absolute reassuring toughness of a full tang knife is hard to beat, sure its a little heavier but then i like that heavy sturdy feel to a knife.
So lets run over the various knife blade tangs and explain whats what.
So first up what is the actual tang, the knife blade tang is the rear section of the blade that recesses back into the handle, there are a number of types of tang which are as follows.
Full tang knife blade:
A full tang knife is where the tang is as long and as wide as the handle itself, you will normally see the outline of the tang where it is sandwiched between the handle which is pinned and or epoxied in place.
This is the toughest knife tang without any doubt and is essential for any hardworking knife, you wouldn’t want a partial tang on Bowie knife.
A skeleton tang generally has the same shape as a full tang except with sections removed, this decreases the overall weight of the knife but also weakens the tang structurally, often seen on survival knives.
A partial tang is just that, the tang only partially extends in to that handle while obviously weaker than a full tang it makes for a much lighter knife.
Push tang is really just another partial tang with the name deriving from the manufacturing process where the tang is pushed into the handle and bonded.
A hidden tang is a tang that tapers into the handle, generally runs the full length of the handle or even longer, also called a blind tang or a cut down tang.
Rat Tail Tang:
A rat tail tang aka stick tang is normally regarded as bottom of the pile when it comes to knife tangs, seen on low cost knifes, with the rat tail or stick tang being very narrow it makes for a knife that will not take much if any stress.
There you have it a general overview of knife tangs.