Knife Tang: What It Is, And Why It Matters

Ronin Series Yanagiba & Sushi Knife 10.5" beside it's black sheathRonin Series Yanagiba & Sushi Knife 10.5"

Your knife is kind of like a partnership between the glinting blade that does the cutting and the sturdy handle that you grip. Binding these two in a harmonious marriage is the tang. 

1. What Is A Knife Tang And Why Is It Important

This metal extension of the blade slides into the handle, becoming the bridge that ensures your kitchen knife can julienne carrots with finesse or your pocket knife can whittle wood without wobbling.

Why the tang matters

But why should you care about a piece of metal you can't even see in most knives? Because, my friend, the tang is the foundation upon which the knife's integrity, balance, and user experience are built. Consider a chef knife, your loyal ally in the culinary battles of chopping, dicing, and mincing. The tang is what allows this kitchen warrior to feel like an extension of your hand, balanced perfectly for those precise cuts that turn ingredients into art.

Or let's venture outdoors, where survival knives face the rugged tests of nature. Here, the tang ensures that when you're cutting through the tough hide for a gut hook or striking a firesteel for warmth, your knife stands up to the challenge, unwavering and reliable. It's akin to having a trusted sidekick in the wilderness, ready to face whatever the adventure throws your way.

Connection & craftsmanship

And it's not just about functionality; there's an emotional aspect too. A knife with a well-crafted tang feels right in your hand, like it was made just for you. It's the difference between a tool you use and a tool you love. Whether it's the weight of the blade as you slice through a ripe tomato, the entire length of the handle fitting snugly in your palm, or the assurance that the knife or sword you hold has the strength to endure, it all comes down to the tang.

In the world of cutlery, from the elegance of folding knives to the robustness of bowie knives, the tang is a testament to craftsmanship and design. It speaks of the knife's heritage, whether it boasts a full tang that promises enduring strength or a hidden tang that offers a sleek, streamlined look. Each tang type tells a story of purpose, from the rugged survival knives that echo tales of the wild to the kitchen knives that are silent witnesses to culinary creations.

More than metal

The tang, in essence, is more than just a piece of metal. It's the soul of the knife, encapsulating the essence of its purpose, from the battlefield to the bread board. It ensures that whether you're holding a paring knife or a tanto blade, the experience is not just about cutting—it's about connection. Without it, the dynamic duo of blade and handle would be no more effective than a knight without his armor, rendering even the most exquisite blade or the most ergonomic handle incomplete.

So, next time you pick up your favorite knife, remember the tang. It's the heart that pulses through the steel, the shadow warrior that makes all the difference without stepping into the light. Whether you're unwrapping the perfect gift of a kitchen knife set or selecting a single, exquisite paring knife, know that you're not just choosing a tool—you're choosing a companion for your culinary quests and outdoor explorations.

2. The Different Types Of Knife Tangs

Valhalla Series Nakiri Knife 7" on a wooden board.Valhalla Series Nakiri Knife 7"

Knife tangs, the unsung heroes of the blade world, are as diverse and specialized as the knives themselves. They're the backbone that gives a knife its strength, balance, and character. Let's dive deeper into this essential component, shall we?

Full tang

The full tang is indeed the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the knife world—robust, unwavering, and extending the entire length of the handle. Imagine holding a chef knife that feels like an extension of your arm, allowing you to chop, dice, and julienne with precision and ease. That's the full tang experience. It's the tang of choice for those who demand resilience and balance from their tools, from the bustling kitchen environment to the unpredictable wilderness. Full tang knives aren't just tools; they're reliable partners in culinary excellence and survival grit, boasting a durability that makes them heirlooms, not just utensils.

Read about what it means when kitchen knives are full tang, here.

Partial tangs

Now, enter the world of partial tang knives, where less is sometimes more. Unlike their full tang siblings, partial tangs don't span the entire handle, which can make for a lighter knife. This category is a mosaic of designs, including the discreet hidden tangs, elegantly enveloped by the handle material, and the more traditional stick tangs and rat-tailed tangs that offer a vintage appeal. These designs are not just about cutting down weight—they're about creating knives that are as much a joy to use as they are to behold. From the sleek letter openers that adorn a desk to the specialty knives that are as specific in their use as they are unique in their design, partial tangs carve out their niche with style and functionality.

Hidden tang

The hidden tang knife is the James Bond of the tang world—sophisticated, sleek, and, well, hidden. These tangs are masterfully concealed within the handle, creating a seamless and elegant appearance. Predominantly found in Japanese knives, hidden tangs offer a sublime balance that elevates the culinary experience. The craftsmanship involved in creating a hidden tang knife speaks volumes of its heritage, blending aesthetics with functionality in a way that complements the precision required in Japanese cuisine. Whether it's the delicate task of slicing sashimi or the artful chopping of vegetables, a hidden tang knife handles it with grace and efficiency.

The exotic tangs: Push, skeletonized, and beyond

Venturing further into the tang universe, we encounter the exotic varieties like push tangs and skeletonized tangs, each with their unique allure. Push tangs, partially inserted into the handle, offer a customizable balance that can be tailored to the user's preference, making each knife a personal statement. Skeletonized tangs, on the other hand, feature a tang that has been strategically cut out to reduce weight without sacrificing strength, perfect for those who value precision and ease of movement. These exotic tangs are not just about utility; they're about personalizing the cutting experience, crafting a knife that's as unique as its owner.

From cutting edge to pocket knives: A tang for every task

As we've seen, the tang is more than just a piece of metal—it's the soul of the knife. Whether you're wielding a cutting-edge chef knife, a robust bowie knife, or a handy pocket knife, the tang plays a pivotal role in defining the knife's character. From the full tang's promise of enduring strength to the elegant efficiency of hidden tangs, and the unique personality of exotic tangs, there's a tang type for every preference and task. As you select your next knife, consider the tang – it might just change the way you think about this essential tool.

3. Must Have Dalstrong Full Tang Knives

1. Chef's Knife 8" | Spartan Ghost Series

This incredible full-tang 8" Chef's Knife is an amazing sight. It's crafted from top-notch powdered S35VN steel, and they've even thrown on a DLC LionArmor coating for good measure. It's built to make chopping and slicing not just easier, but kind of amazing, whether you're cooking professionally or just love to experiment in the kitchen.


  • The steel is super high-quality, made with this advanced Powder Metallurgy technique, so the blade stays sharp and lasts forever.
  • That cool black DLC LionArmor coating isn't just for looks—it also makes the knife more durable, resistant to wear and tear, and slices like a dream.
  • They’ve made the blade super thin—just 1.5mm—so it's all about precision, plus it's got a full tang, so it feels really sturdy in your hand.
  • The handle is this eye-catching mix of blood-red resin and ghost-ash black wood, set off with brass and copper mosaic accents. It’s pretty unique.


  • It’s a bit pricier than others you might come across, but for something this special, it might just be worth it.
  • Its look is definitely bold, and while I think it’s awesome, it might not be everyone's cup of tea.

2. Shogun Series ELITE Slicing & Carving Knife 12"

Imagine you're gearing up for a big dinner, and you've got this monster of a knife, the Shogun Series ELITE 12" Slicer, ready to go. This isn't just any knife; it's like the lightsaber of the kitchen—a precision tool that'll make you feel like a culinary Jedi. With this blade, you're slicing through briskets, roasts, and even cakes like they're butter. It's got this insane sharpness and a flexibility that feels like it's reading your mind, following the curves of whatever you're cutting without a hitch.


  • The sharpness is unreal. You're going to be slicing so thin, you could read a newspaper through your cuts.
  • Comes with a slick sheath, so you can store this beauty safely and keep it sharp.
  • The full tang construction means it's so easy and comfortable to use. 
  • It's not just about performance; this knife is a looker too, with a blade pattern that'll have your guests talking.


  • At 12 inches, it's a lot of knife! Ask yourself if you need a tool this large before purchasing..
  • With great power comes great responsibility – keeping this blade in top condition means you'll need to give it some TLC.

3. Meat Cleaver 9" | Ravager | Gladiator Series | NSF Certified

This incredible tool is a 9" meat cleaver that's pretty much a beast when it comes to chopping up big chunks of meat, like slicing through pork bones or salmon heads, but it's also surprisingly good for quickly chopping veggies and fruits. Its blade shape is really cool, with a rounded end for skinning and a super sharp tip for those precise cuts. Plus, it's got this perfect balance of weight (1.3lbs) and thickness (4mm at the spine), making it feel just right in your hand.


  • Made from top-notch high carbon German Steel with a hardness of 56+ on the Rockwell scale, this cleaver is built to last and resist stains.
  • Its full tang design cranks up the durability, ready to stand up to all the chopping you can throw at it.
  • The handle is designed to be a bit shorter and thicker, which is awesome for getting a good grip and maintaining control, even when you're going at it with tough cuts.
  • Plus, it's NSF Certified, so you know it meets high standards for quality and safety, whether you're using it at home or in a pro kitchen.


  • If you're in the market for something that blends the best parts of a cleaver with a bit more versatility, maybe give a chef's knife-cleaver hybrid a look.
  • And just a heads-up, its hefty build is fantastic for big jobs, but it might be a bit much if you're tackling smaller, more delicate tasks.

4. How To Care For Your Knives

Caring for your knives is akin to nurturing a valued friendship—it requires attention, respect, and a bit of knowledge to ensure it lasts a lifetime. Whether your collection includes a gleaming kitchen knife set that catches the light just right, or a trusty folding knife that's been with you through thick and thin, the principles of care remain the same. It's about preserving not just the sharpness of the blade but also the integrity of the tang, ensuring that every cut feels like the first.


Regular cleaning is the cornerstone of knife care. Imagine you've just finished crafting a culinary masterpiece or returned from a camping trip where your survival knife played a crucial role. The first step is a proper clean. For those kitchen knives, it’s a gentle wash by hand with warm soapy water, meticulously removing any remnants of food or moisture that can lead to corrosion. Avoid the dishwasher at all costs—it's the nemesis of knife care, known to dull blades and damage handles. As for your folding knives and other tools of adventure, a thorough clean, including opening and closing the mechanism under running water, followed by a dry with a soft cloth, keeps the action smooth and the blade pristine. A drop of oil on the hinge ensures it opens with ease every time, ready for the next use.


Proper storage is more than a convenience—it's a preservation strategy. Knife sheaths and blocks are not just accessories; they are essential elements of care, protecting the blade's edge and the handle's material. A well-crafted wooden block not only organizes your kitchen knives but keeps them sharp, ensuring that the only thing you’re cutting through is your ingredients, not your patience. For folding knives, a protective sheath guards the blade against the elements when not in use, while also keeping it at the ready for when duty calls. And let's not forget about those who prefer magnetic strips—a modern and stylish way to display and protect your blades, ensuring they're always within reach yet safely secured.


A knife sharpener isn’t just a tool; it's your ticket to maintaining the cutting edge that makes each slice, chop, and cut a breeze. Occasional visits to the sharpening stone or a professional sharpener keep your blades performing at their peak. Think of it as a spa day for your knives, where they emerge rejuvenated and ready to tackle whatever task you throw at them. And remember, a sharp knife is a safe knife, reducing the risk of accidents caused by unnecessary force. Whether it’s the delicate edge of a paring knife or the robust edge of a survival knife, keeping it sharp means keeping it effective and safe.

In essence, caring for your knives—be it the mirror-finished blades of your kitchen set or the well-worn edge of your favorite folding knife—is about respecting the craftsmanship that went into their creation. It's about ensuring that the tang remains securely encased in its handle, and that the blade continues to glide through whatever you put in front of it with ease. This care and attention translate into a bond between you and your knife, one that’s built on reliability and trust. So, whether you're dicing vegetables for dinner or preparing kindling for a campfire, you know your knife is ready for the task at hand, no unexpected surprises, just the quiet confidence of a tool well cared for.

5. Frequently Asked Questions

What is the tang in a knife?

It's the part of the blade that extends into the handle, providing structural support and balance.

Does a knife need to be full tang?

While full tangs are synonymous with strength and balance, partial tangs and hidden tangs serve their purpose in lighter knives and specific designs.

Are Japanese knives full tang?

Many Japanese knives, especially traditional ones like the nakiri or santoku, feature a hidden tang for a blend of aesthetics and performance.

What is tang in a katana?

In katanas, the tang (nakago) is the portion of the blade that extends into the handle, crucial for the sword's balance and structural integrity. It's essentially the soul of the sword, holding centuries of craftsmanship in its steel.


Written by Ananya Tiwari
Ananya loves the fine things in life. When she isn’t penning down poetry or song lyrics, she spends her time cooking and creating recipes while also enjoying new cuisines.

Knife Tang: What It Is, And Why It Matters

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