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What is the 'Tang' of a Bushcraft Knife?

What is the 'Tang' of a Bushcraft Knife?


In an attempt to answer one of the most common questions that we’re asked on a daily basis, we have decided to write a small piece about the frequently used term ‘Tang’ which is often referred to alongside bushcraft and survival knives.

The tang is essentially the portion of a knife or sword that extends into the handle material of the tool. Various designs of tangs exist, some good and some bad, but here at Greenman Bushcraft we only stock tools which incorporate strong and useable designs, so you can rest assured if shopping with us, that we only supply quality tools!

Full-Tang: A Full tang extends through the full length of the handle of a knife, versus a partial tang which does not. A full tang knife generally allows for increased pressure to be applied when using the knife. Knife makers will often make a feature of their brand of knives being full-tang, by allowing the spine of the tang to be exposed through the handle, usually with the wooden scales of the handle being only applied to the sides of the handle.

One very common misconception is to avoid any knife that is not strictly a full-tang knife. Stick-tang knives are some of the most widely used and popular knives on the market today, used by millions of bushcrafters and outdoors people around the world, they must not be overlooked.

Stick-Tang: The stick-tang is possibly the most frequently and historically used tang in good quality knives. Another name for this style of tang is the rat-tail tang, because the body of the blade is deeper than the tang itself.  The stick-tang offers strength as well as lightness, and as long as the tang passes through the majority of the handle they will provide sufficient strength for many years of rugged use. This is especially true as stick-tangs are usually encapsulated in plastic handles or natural materials which grip the steel so tightly that they function as one solid unit. Many well-known and favoured Swedish Bushcraft knives incorporate this style of tang.

Here at Greenman Bushcraft™ we have run several experiments over the years, testing the strength of stick-tang knives, and we’d happily put our name to any of those that we stock.

For example, the ever popular Mora 840MG companion/clipper has what they refer to as a pin-tang, which is essentially a slightly shorter stick-tang. These knives have a moulded plastic handle which provides incredible strength and durability.

There are other types of tang available on the market today, so what we’ve included here is by no way a definitive list, but it does detail two of the most useful tangs that are incorporated in many of the fixed blade knives that we offer, all of which are strong and the perfect choice for bushcraft and survival skills / hunting.

What is the \'Tang\' of a Bushcraft Knife?

Buy your Mora 840MG knife here

There are other types of tang available on the market today, so what we’ve included here is by no way a definitive list, but it does detail two of the most useful tangs that are incorporated in many of the fixed blade knives that we offer, all of which are strong and the perfect choice for bushcraft and survival skills / hunting.


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