Half tang vs full tang. Does it matter which option you choose? How will it affect the overall performance of the knife?
The tang is part of a knife’s anatomy for those who do not know what we are talking about.
You see the steel part from one end of a knife to the other end or sometimes halfway through, but which option is better?
Half Tang vs Full Tang
There are different types of knives, each one showcasing its unique designs and features.
One of these is the tang.
Half tang vs full tang shows how far the tang goes into the handle.
The spot where it ends seems to be the weakest spot on the knife.
Anywhere beyond the tang lacks the added support it provides. The remaining handle without the tang will absorb the force you exert.
That is why most people consider more extended tangs when choosing a knife for better support and durability.
What Is Half Tang?
For this knife design, the tang only reaches a specific part in the handle’s length, saving the manufacturer with the materials cost but without benefits.
What is challenging about this design is how to attach the blade to the handle.
Since most of the stress is directed along the bolster, it is also where the knife snaps.
It is hard to spot a half tang knife simply because the handle material covers it.
Most of these half tang knives come with a metal butt design, giving the impression of a full tang.
When To Choose a Half Tang Knife
You can choose a partial tang knife if you are not worried about snapping the blade or stressing the knife.
Since they are more affordable, it will be easier to replace them in case they break.
If you only need the knife for chopping herbs or slicing tofu, then a half tang knife is sufficient.
Some manufacturers producing partial tang knives try to compensate for the design through other means like providing a good balance.
A lighter knife provides less fatigue even if you chop ingredients for a more extended period.
However, it will not give you any support for more challenging tasks.
Chef knives with partial tangs are not a good design combination since this kitchen tool is an all-around kitchen helper.
Manufacturers must make this workhorse from one piece of metal to ensure durability and reliability while performing the tasks at hand.
There is no secure connection between the knife and handle with a partial tang.
Pros and Cons of Half Tang Knives
The first thing you will notice with half tang knives is their lighter weight.
Since half tang knives use lesser metal on their grip, they are more prone to breaking when exposed to pressure.
What Is Full Tang?
For the past hundreds of years, manufacturers have only made full tang knives, which means they only use a single sheet of steel from tip to grip.
There are two slabs of materials, known as scales, used for most knife handles, usually secured with rivets.
You will also find metal rods or pins for added reinforcement to the knife handle, indicating a well-made tool.
This design can handle heavier cutting and chopping as the handle is connected securely to the blade in addition to the support provided by the full tang.
With the complete tang construction, you can apply more force to the blade, eliminating any risk of the knife’s handle snapping.
These days, some manufacturers produce hidden tang knives fitted with a full tang that is not visible on the knife’s handle.
Although it uses a full tang which means that the steel is extended to the butt of the knife with a metal end cap, the grip part is enclosed in between scales.
This complete tang construction provides the manufacturers with different design options for its handle without compromising the knife’s functionality.
A full tang adds to the overall weight of your knife but will also create balance.
If there is no full tang, the handle cannot compensate for the blade’s weight.
You may not notice it at first, thinking that you control the knife’s movements, but as you continue to use it, you will feel the effects of its imbalance.
Eventually, you will feel the fatigue as your hand and wrists try to balance the blade’s weight against the handle.
With a full tang, the knife gets an even distribution of the overall weight, providing better balance while increasing your confidence level of manipulating the blade with ease.
Another noticeable feature of a full tang knife is the bolster, as it counterbalances the blade.
The bolster’s thickness typically represents the diameter of the original steel used for the edge.
Most of these full-tang knives offer good balance, making them excellent for chopping but lacking flexibility and maneuverability.
What Is Hidden Tang?
Some manufacturers would like to offer full tang knife benefits at a more affordable price point; hence, some models show full-composite tang.
For this knife design, manufacturers welded a steel rod to the blade within the handle extending to the butt of the knife.
Pros and Cons of Full Tang Knives
The foremost advantage of a full tang knife is its durability.
It can handle the strain and excessive force without breaking.
Also, this knife offers excellent length-weight balance due to the single piece of metal used for its construction.
The only concern about full tang knives is their added weight which may cause fatigue when used for extended periods.
Which Knife Tang Should You Choose?
Half tang or full tang? Which one should you choose?
Though it has been proven that full-tang knives are more durable than half tang ones, it should not be the only factor we need to consider when choosing your kitchen tool.
Try checking the quality of the materials used in its creation. Not all full-tang knives are built for durability.
On the other hand, half tang knives are produced with premium quality materials, making them stronger.
Whatever option you decide on, choose the one that you will use for a long time.