A full tang knife offers great strength and durability. Whether you're into hunting, camping, or just appreciate a good blade, the full tang is your trusty sidekick. Let's explore how.
1. What Is A Full Tang Knife?
"Full tang." You've heard it before. You've been trawling through blade knife communities, from the kitchen knife enthusiasts to hunting knife aficionados, and you notice this term keeps coming up. "Full tang." People talk about it when window shopping for knife sets and it sounds like it’s some kind of elite sect, like the samurai of the knife world. While not quite as outlandish, your knife having a full tang makes a big difference.
A full tang knife is where the blade material -- often robust carbon steels or other high-grade metals -- extends all the way through the handle. This design isn't just for show. It provides an unmatched balance and strength, especially crucial for survive knives where durability can be a lifesaver (literally!). The blade and handle work together, not as two separate entities, but a continuous one
The beauty of a full tang design, especially in a hunting knife or any blade knife, is that it stands up to pressure. Where other knives might snap or become unstable under force, a full tang knife holds its ground. And if you’re planning on investing in knife sets, especially those meant for heavy-duty tasks, ensuring they are full tang can be the difference between a set that lasts a lifetime and one that disappoints.
So, in the grand tapestry of knife designs, while a full tang might not boast the lore of a samurai sword, in terms of sheer resilience and design brilliance, it's a masterpiece in its own right.
Read about how to store kitchen knives, here.
2. Difference Between A Full Tang And A Partial Tang Knife
Picture this: you’re in a rustic workshop, surrounded by an array of knives. There’s the kabar usmc, radiating confidence with its sturdiness, next to a sleek boot knife that's more about finesse. At a glance, both knives look fit for purpose, but their real difference lies beneath the surface, or more aptly, within the handle.
The difference between a full tang and a partial tang knife is akin to comparing a heavy-duty SUV to a city scooter. Sure, both the SUV and the scooter can navigate urban roads, but take them to rugged terrains, and their true natures are revealed. The SUV, with its robust build and power, mirrors the full tang knife's strength and durability, while the scooter, zippy and compact, resembles the partial tang's more lightweight design.
Partial tang knives
Pocket knives or folding knives are often partial tang. With handle scales made of various materials -- be it wood, bone, or even synthetic composites -- these knives beautifully balance form and function. They're the kind you'd casually flip out to slice an apple during a midday snack or use to open an unexpected parcel. These knives typically boast a blade steel designed for general utility, making them the quintessential everyday companions.
Full tang knives
As the blade extends through the handle's entire length, the bond between the blade and handle is unbreakable, providing maximum strength and resilience. The full tang design is particularly prominent in tools crafted for intense tasks, like a handmade damascus steel hunting knife or a particularly powerful kitchen knife.
Envision being in the wild, and you stumble upon a task that demands more than just finesse. Perhaps you need to chop wood for a fire or prepare a game for dinner. In such scenarios, the sheer reliability of a full tang is unparalleled. Even if you were wielding machete knives to clear dense underbrush, you'd find many of these larger blades also embrace the full tang philosophy, especially when made of robust tool steel known for its hard-wearing properties.
The world of knives is vast and diverse. From the subtle elegance of a pocket knife to the rugged charm of a full tang hunting blade, each design serves its purpose. While both types have their specialties and contexts where they shine, knowing the difference can make all the difference in picking the right tool for the task. Whether you're prepping for a camping trip or just daily utility, understanding the tang can guide your knife selection process to perfection.
3. Full Tang vs. Partial Tang: Benefits and Drawbacks
So what are the benefits and drawbacks of each type of knife? Both have their merits, but they serve different roles.
Benefits of a full tang knife
Strength and durability
The essence of a full tang knife lies in its blade material coursing unabated through the handle. This robust design empowers the knife to face daunting challenges. From the rugged demands of chopping with a kukri knife to the delicate finesse required in gutting with a hunting knife, a full tang ensures you have a trusty ally.
The equilibrium a full tang offers is unparalleled. This balance is the linchpin for accurate and safe cuts, whether you're wielding a skinner knife to prepare game or filleting a catch with a precise blade knife.
The durability of carbon steels, coupled with the consistent blade-handle integration of a full tang knife, makes these knives great for long-term use. With the right care, like periodic honing using knife sharpeners, they promise years of dependable service.
One of the great virtues of the full tang design is safety. Given the blade's unity with the handle, it's far less likely to snap or break, ensuring you can tackle intensive tasks, such as hunting camping adventures, with confidence.
Drawbacks of a full tang knife
The very design that lends a full tang knife its strength also adds to its weight. While the heft can be advantageous in some situations, those seeking the nimbleness of pocket knives or folding knives might find them cumbersome.
Craftsmanship has its price. High-quality full tang designs, especially artisanal pieces like handmade damascus knives or those made from premium materials such as d2 steel, can command a higher price tag.
Benefits of a partial tang knife
If you need your knife to be portable, a partial tang knife might be the way to go. Their reduced material makes them a breeze to carry, exemplified by popular everyday tools like swiss army knives or the reliable gerber strongarm.
Multitaskers will appreciate the flexibility of partial tang designs. With their presence often felt in multi-tools, these knives cater to a wide range of tasks without the bulk.
Beauty is in the details. Handle scales, whether made of a rustic wood handle or a modern rubber handle, accentuate the knife's design. These knives, with their emphasis on aesthetics, can often double as statement knife accessories.
Drawbacks of a partial tang knife
Their lighter design might come at the cost of durability. For tasks that summon brute force, such as splitting logs with a blade knife, partial tangs might falter where survive knives with full tangs would prevail.
The disjointed blade-handle design can be a double-edged sword… so to speak. In scenarios demanding extensive force, there's a risk of the blade dislodging, especially if it's not a securely housed fixed blade knife in a protective leather sheath.
While versatile, partial tang knives might not be the first pick for tasks that scream for the robustness of a blade knife or the formidable prowess of a hunting knife crafted from carbon steel full tang.
While the full tang is the knight in shining armor, ready to withstand the challenges of the great outdoors with its blade full tang strength, the partial tang is the nimble rogue, quick on its feet, perfect for everyday tasks. Depending on your needs, from hunting to self defense or just everyday utility, understanding the distinction can guide you to the right blade.
Remember, it's not always about the tang alone but also the blade steel, handle material, and blade length that contribute to a knife's performance. Whether you’re drawn to the allure of Damascus steel or the reliability of cold steel, let your tasks and preferences dictate your choice.
4. Choosing The Right Tang For Different Knives And Uses
So what type of knife do you need? Let's go through the various scenarios.
Use in the kitchen
In the bustling world of culinary arts, knives are not just tools -- they're extensions of a chef's hand. And when it comes to kitchen knives, the debate about tang can get surprisingly heated. But let's delve deeper and understand why this debate exists and how it fits into the larger narrative of kitchen tools.
Professional chefs, having spent countless hours perfecting their craft, have a keen understanding of their tools. They're looking for that harmony between hand and knife, and this is where the full tang design often shines. Made often with exquisite materials, like the durable and beautifully patterned damascus steel, full tang knives bring both aesthetics and functionality to the table. Their design offers unmatched balance, durability, and control. So whether it's the delicate act of filleting a fish, the rhythmic chopping of veggies, or the artful carving of a roast, a full tang knife ensures precision, stability, and confidence in every slice and dice.
Now, while full tang knives are the crowning jewel in many kitchens, they do require maintenance to keep them in prime condition. That's where knife sharpeners come in handy. A full tang knife, especially one made of premium materials like damascus steel, deserves a good sharpener. Regular sharpening ensures the blade retains its edge, and every cut is as effortless as the first.
But what about those smaller tasks?
Peeling an apple or slicing a piece of cheese? Here's where not every chef might reach for their prized full tang. For lighter activities like these, a pocket knife or even specific boot knives might come in handy. These knives, often partial tang, are designed for convenience and easy access rather than heavy-duty tasks. They're the quick go-tos..
While the tang design is a pivotal factor in choosing kitchen knives, it's important to remember that every knife, whether full tang, partial tang, or specialty, has its place in the culinary world. The key is understanding your needs, the demands of your tasks, and choosing your tools accordingly.
If you're about to venture into the wilderness, battling the unpredictable elements, you'd want a companion as sturdy as an esee knife or a knife survival knife that's full tang. When you're trying to build a shelter, cut through thick vegetation, or prep a camp meal, the last thing you need is a flimsy blade. You'll need the robustness of a full tang knife, the kind that won't back down, ensuring your safety and efficiency.
Out in the wild, tracking game, you'd want tools that stand up to the task. Whether you're using a fixed blade knife or a specialized skinner knife with a steel blade, the full tang design ensures optimal strength and durability. When you’re skinning or field dressing, the last thing you want is a blade that's not up to par.
For daily tasks like opening packages, cutting strings, or even whittling for fun, lighter knives like the gerber strongarm or the versatile swiss army can suffice. These don't necessarily need the heavyweight design of a full tang, as the demands aren't as rigorous.
In potentially dangerous situations, reliability is key. Tactical knives, like karambit knives or the gerber lmf, are designed with self-defense in mind. A full tang ensures these tools won’t fail you when it matters most. Dalstrong make a whole host of knives, but all of them are for culinary purposes only.
If you're a knife enthusiast or collector, butterfly knives or throwing knives might captivate your interest. While these specialty knives are intriguing and often beautiful, they might not always boast a full tang design. Their purpose is often more about skill or aesthetics than heavy-duty use.
The type of tang matters considerably depending on the situation. While there are many niche knife designs tailored to specific activities, when it comes to versatility and reliability, especially in the kitchen, a full tang design shines brightest.
5. Dalstrong Knives With Full Tang
This awesome 8" Chef's Knife is a veritable masterpiece in knife design and engineering, it seamlessly melding the power of the legendary Spartan warriors with modern knife craftsmanship. Every part of it, from its ultra-premium powdered S35VN steel to its precision-applied DLC LionArmor coating, is created to provide an awesome and enjoyable cutting performance and durability. Whether you're a professional chef or an enthusiastic home cook, this 8 inch chef's knife will redefine your slicing and dicing game.
- Ultra-premium powdered S35VN steel, enhanced by Powder Metallurgy technology, promises an exceptionally sharp and durable edge.
- The signature black DLC LionArmor coating not only boosts the knife's aesthetic appeal but also enhances its durability, wear-resistance, and ease of slicing.
- Designed with an ultra-thin 1.5mm blade, it guarantees precision in every slice, complemented by a full tang construction for added strength.
- Each knife is uniquely yours, with a striking blood-red resin and ghost-ash black stabilized wood handle, topped off with a brass and copper mosaic detail. Looks amazing..
- This beautiful premium knife is on the upper end of the price range appeared in this list..
- The knife's distinct appearance, while stunning, might not be to everybody's personal taste..
Designed with the passionate chef in mind, this 8.5” Kiritsuke multi-purpose knife is crafted using ultra-premium American forged BD1N-VX hyper steel. With its ‘LiquidMetal’ pattern on the blade, slicing becomes a seamless (and enjoyable) task. Its G10 woven fiberglass handle, colored in a captivating midnight black with hints of dark red, ensures durability while providing an ergonomic grip.
- Made with BD1N American forged hyper steel, it ensures an astonishing performance with edge retention at 63+ Rockwell.
- ‘LiquidMetal’ pattern on the blade ensures minimized drag and prevents food from sticking, enhancing slicing efficiency.
- The G10 woven fiberglass handle is durable against heat, cold, and moisture, ensuring a comfortable, non-slip grip.
- Full tang construction guarantees maximum robustness, ensuring that this knife is built to accompany you for a lifetime.
- The ornate designs, while beautiful, might be too flashy for some minimalist kitchens.
- Given its specialized design and size, it might take some time for beginners to get accustomed to handling it.
This astounding meat cleaver is engineered for ruthless efficiency in handling large cuts of meat, from dicing pork bones to tackling salmon heads, all while effortlessly mincing vegetables and fruits. Its unique blade profile, featuring a rounded end and razor-sharp tip, not only aids in removing skin but also allows for precision in tight spots. Weighing in at 1.3lbs and boasting a thickness of 4mm at the spine, this cleaver finds the sweet spot between heft and control.
- Precision forged from high carbon German Steel at 56+ Rockwell, it ensures durability and stain resistance.
- The full tang construction amplifies robustness, ensuring a lifetime of relentless service.
- Ergonomically designed with a slightly shorter and thicker handle, it offers both control and balance during heavy-duty tasks.
- NSF Certified, guaranteeing its quality and safety standards for both professional kitchens and home use.
- If you're looking for a knife that has many features of a cleaver but is a little more versatile, check out this chef's knife - cleaver hybrid.
- Due to its powerful build, it might be overkill for smaller, delicate tasks in the kitchen.
This knife is specially designed for de-boning and filleting, providing the right flex for clean separation, gliding effortlessly through meat and along bone contours. Perfect for chefs, butchers, and home cooks who relish in the art of preparing pork, beef, and wild game. The full-tang design coupled with its midnight black ergonomic handle promises you both style and endurance. Let this knife be your kitchen statement, providing sophistication and top-notch functionality.
- The full-tang construction ensures maximum durability, providing a lifetime of loyal service.
- Precision forged from high-carbon 7CR17MOV-X vacuum treated steel, it guarantees extraordinary performance and lasting edge retention.
- Its unique handle geometry tucks comfortably into your palm, ensuring a steady grip in various styles.
- The knife comes with a protective, space-saving sheath, ensuring both safety and style even when not in use.
- The aggressive and muscular design might be too bold for some traditional kitchen setups.
- If you're looking for something less specialized, check out a chef's knife instead.
This stunning nakiri knife is a vegetable aficionado's dream. Skillfully combining the best traits of a chef’s knife and a vegetable cleaver, this knife is designed for the precision required in handling vegetables. With its square tip and flat profile, it offers impeccable push cuts and its extra width proves handy when transferring chopped produce. If you're the chef who ends up dealing with veggies in large quantities, this is the tool you didn't know you needed.
- Full-tang construction gives you awesome durability and a lifetime of stellar performance.
- Its precision forged high-carbon steel ensures an extraordinary edge retention and unmatched sharpness.
- A specially crafted ergonomic handle offers a comfortable grip, catering to various holding styles.
- The knife's unique design, combined with its impeccable performance, is sure to be a conversation starter in any kitchen setting.
- Its intimidating design may not align with the taste of those who prefer a more classic look.
- Given its specialized design for vegetables, its versatility could be limited compared to a general chef's knife.
6. Frequently Asked Questions
What is full tang for knives?
Full tang refers to a knife construction where the blade material extends through the entire length of the handle. This design provides a continuous piece of metal from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle. The handle is usually attached to either side of the tang, most often using rivets. The visibility of this extended metal on the top and bottom of the handle is an indicator of a knife's full tang construction. This design not only offers superior strength and balance but also ensures a longer life for the knife since the handle is less likely to loosen or break away from the blade.
Are full tang knives better?
When it comes to strength, balance, and durability, a full tang knife is often considered superior to its partial tang counterparts. The continuous metal construction ensures that the knife can withstand more force and pressure, making it less likely to snap or break during rigorous tasks. Additionally, the weight distribution in a full tang knife is more balanced, providing better control and precision when cutting. This is especially beneficial for chefs or individuals who use their knives frequently and need reliable tools. However, there are scenarios where a partial tang knife might be preferred, and the choice of a knife also depends on personal preference and the specific task at hand.
What is a full tang knife vs half tang?
A full tang knife is designed with the blade material extending throughout the entire handle, offering maximum strength and durability. In contrast, a half or partial tang knife only has the blade material extending partially into the handle. This might be halfway, or even less, depending on the design. As a result, half or partial tang knives may not be as robust or durable as full tang ones. The partial tang design can be more susceptible to the handle becoming loose or the blade breaking from the handle under heavy pressure.
Do Japanese knives have a full tang?
Japanese knives are renowned for their craftsmanship, sharpness, and tradition. While many traditional Japanese knives might not feature a full tang design, focusing instead on the blade's sharpness and quality, modern adaptations have started incorporating full tang constructions, especially those intended for heavy-duty tasks or Western markets. These modern variants combine the best of Japanese blade craftsmanship with the durability of a full tang design. However, it's essential to recognize that not all Japanese knives have a full tang; many traditional styles, like the Wa-handled knives, might have a hidden or stick tang that doesn't run the full length of the handle. It ultimately boils down to the specific design and intended use of the knife.