What Is A Tang On A Knife?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 03/16/21 •  7 min read

The tang, also known as the shank, is the rounded-off part of the knife and similar tools like a chisel, screwdriver, pike, etc. that extends from the blade, usually completely covered or sandwiched in between the handle material.

Let’s all give a round of applause to whoever thought of adding the tang to knives (or its predecessor, the sword).

The tang is the extension of the blade that is completely or partially covered by the handle.

Often running the whole length of the handle, this is the backbone of the piece that ensures its effectiveness as a tool and durability.

Full tangs are often associated with high-quality knives. But don’t immediately disregard those with partial tangs either because there is probably a good reason for its shorter length.

To understand everything about knife tangs and consequently help you choose the right piece, take the time to read the rest.


What is it?

The tang is the component that partially or completely goes throughout the length, making it stronger and efficient than ever.

Without it, you may face the folding of the blade, but it completely keeps you away from this kind of hustle.

It is often the major component.

Without it, there is no knife, and it is the main thing based on which we determine the types and functionality of the knives.

Now you should never merely be focusing on the handle and blade, but learn about the types and shape.

It is quite possible that you are hearing for the first time, and are wondering: “What actually it is?”.

It is the major component that joins the blades of the knives with the handle.

It is often hidden and you cannot see it completely, however, now the knives are available that have a visible tang.

Culinarylore.com describes it as “the metal part extending from the blade to the butt.” It’s the part of the blade that goes inside the handle.

I have quoted the above definition because it is the simplest and the easiest definition tang.

Still, confused about the basic concept?

Well, let me ask you one question!

Have you ever seen a knife in which the handle is directly connected to the blade?


There is always a steel region preset between the blade and the handle that provides a grip and also gives it a characteristic shape.

Without it, you can never enjoy the perfect shape and grip.

No knife is ever complete without this crucial component.

Is It Possible To Have a Knife Without A Tang?

You need a tang for your knife because it provides support to the blade.

If you think you can replace it with some glue or any other thing, then you should think about it again.

The strength and support it gains from the tang can never be gained without it.

So, yes, it is possible to have a knife without a tang, but that knife would be potentially weaker and useless for cutting and slicing purposes.

However, you can always keep the glued knife in your home for decoration purposes.

The fact is, the best way to connect the two major components is by using a tang, and there is no other positive way to connect the handle and the tang.


The tang has a lot of advantages such as it provides full strength to the knife and increases its functionality.

Without it, it can not work efficiently and serves fully decoration purposes.

While choosing the right size, I suggest you proceed with the longer ones and leave the smaller-tang knives.

The reason is that the strength is directly proportional to the size.

Another reason why you should prefer the long tang size is that the hard stell of the long tang will prevent bending and enhance the effectiveness so that you will be able to use it for various purposes.

Without a strong one, it is nothing but a blade and a handle.

Basically, it holds up very well and provides exceptional support to carry out all the cutting and slicing tasks.

It is no secret that the knives are not only used in the kitchen but you need them in many areas of life.

It is due to this reason, you must know and see how much balance the particular tang is providing to the knife.

In other words, the major role is that it enhances the balance so that you can proceed with the cutting tasks with more grip and strength.

With the right tang of your knife, you will professionally cut anything that needs to be cut or sliced.

Any Disadvantage?

Some people think that the knife-makers should focus on tang-less knives.

They think that the tang makes it heavy and less portable.

It is a fact that the presence of the extra steel gives weight to the tangs and they make the knife a bit heavier than it should.

And yes indeed, if you carry the knife for too long, you will definitely start feeling the weight more than ever.

So this opinion may vary from person to person and people are still debating on the advantages and disadvantages.

My opinion is that it is the major component and it is not the right approach to remove it completely from the knife.

Just like other steel parts make the tools stronger, the same is the case with the tang.

Should I Opt For Partial-Tang Knives?

The best solution to make the knife as lighter as possible is the use of partial tangs.

Thus, if you are really scared of the long tangs and are looking for lightweight knives, you should opt for partial-tang knives.

The fact is, there are many situations where people want light-cutting tools.

It is particularly important when you need to go with the intricate cuts.

At this time, when you have to complete the long cutting tasks, the use of the heavy knife is tiring for your hands that will impact your work efficiency.

Another amazing feature of the partial-tang knives is that they are often foldable and easily portable.

This feature is missing in the full-tang knives.

Thus, when it comes to portability and lightweight-ness, you should prefer the partial-tang knives.

However, I do not prefer the use of knives that do not have the tang.

This story has another side as well.

The manufacturers also feel much more comfortable with the construction of the partial-tang knives because it is very easy to adjust the partial-tangs inside the knives.

It is due to this reason the partial-tang knives are cheaper than full-tang knives.

They do not require the manufacturers to spend much more time and energy in the creation process.

So, in short, long-tang knives have only one advantage and that is, they are more stronger and efficient than the partial tang knives, while all the other features are against this knife.

However, some people give extraordinary importance to this aspect of the knives and they think that the tang should be as long as possible and you should not be doing it with the smaller or partial tangs.

Drawbacks Of The Partial Tangs

One and the only drawback of the partial knives is that with these knives, you cannot expect the high-stability and balancing features.

Thus, while you are using these knives to cut the ropes or pieces of meat, you will not observe the high and accurate functionality.

It is due to this reason, people are not satisfied with the partial tangs, and prefer the use of long-tang knives.

However, this varies on the needs of the people and the choice depends on the task you are going to use the knife for.


The reviews and feedback of the customers on the social media platforms as well on the online knife-selling platforms have revealed that there are varying opinions regarding the presence of a knife.

Some people prefer the full-tang knives, some choose the partial-tang knives while others think that the knives should be tang-less.

By the way,

Our main focus in this article was to tell the people knife and why it is important.

If you still have questions regarding this query, “what is a tang knife”, you can ask them by commenting in the comment section below.

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.