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Bill Burke
05-04-2011, 10:30 AM
the other day I was contacted by a (in his opinion) high end french chef. He had heard that I made knives and was interested in one. I took a san mai tamahagane and 52100 gyoto with a hidden tang to show him. He looked at it without comment and then told me that all "good" chef's knives had full tangs. I told him that I had heard that OPINION and made both styles but didn't neccessarily agree. But It made me curious enough to ask the opinions here. So what do you guys think?

echerub
05-04-2011, 10:46 AM
That's a pretty prevalent view, and one that I certainly subscribed to for a number of years. I'm now a big wa-handle fan, so clearly I don't think the full-tang notion is a big deal.

As long as it's not a welded-on spindly little thing like you see from cheapie novelty knives, I don't particularly care whether it's a partial tang or full tang. A decent tang created in one piece along with the blade is perfectly sound.

Dave Martell
05-04-2011, 10:55 AM
The European factory knifemakers have marketed the full tang/rivet thing as being superior for many years now so this is somewhat engraved into the minds of all kitchen knife users except for those who get into the higher end stuff. The latter seek knowledge and find truth. :)

ecchef
05-04-2011, 11:04 AM
I used to believe the same crap. I'm a little surprised that a French chef said that , considering that French makers have produced Nogent style knives for eons.

Personally, I prefer hidden tangs. I think it's more sanitary, puts more weight forward, & is easier to tailor to an individual grip. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with full tangs. I use them just as often.

Michael Rader
05-04-2011, 11:30 AM
+1 on hidden tangs. If the scales shrink just a touch on a full-tang handle, then you have an uneven and sometimes sharp burr all the way around the handle. It just seems like there are too many opportunities for failure there with the rivets/pins and in the junction to the bolsters as well.
-M

oivind_dahle
05-04-2011, 12:36 PM
As Chad Ward says in his book "An Edge in the Kitchen" : "Unless you are planning to jack up your car or pry open doors with your chef's knife, the tang plays little or no role in its strength and durability. It does help establish the balance and feel of the knife, but as we discussed with bolsters, there are many ways to balance the knife. With modern manufacturing methods it is inexpensive to place riveted handle slabs on a full tang. A full tang is a manufacturing choice and a stylistic choice. If you like them, great, have at it. Just keep in mind that any reasonably sized tang that extends at least two thirds of the way into the handle will be fine.

If you insist on a full tang, you'll miss out on a huge array of truly spectacular knives. Want to spend a couple of thousand dollars on a custom made Japanese yanagiba (sashimi knife) hand forged by a master craftsman with a 700 year history of knife making behind him? Oops, can't do it, the yanagiba has a stick tang. Want a reasonably priced chef's knife that won't expire if it finds its way into the dishwasher every once in a while. Sorry. Hidden tang. You're out of luck.

The tang should be pretty far down on your list of things to look for when choosing a knife or two to outfit your kitchen."


Personally: I agree with Chad - The tang should be pretty far down on your list of things to look for when choosing a knife or two to outfit your kitchen

EdipisReks
05-04-2011, 12:44 PM
i think i should be pretty far down on your list of things to look for when choosing a knife or fifty-two to outfit your kitchen. :)

Bill Burke
05-04-2011, 01:13 PM
Thanks guys, I prefer hidden tang knives. they are a bit harder to construct with integral bolsters, but save alot of material when forged.

Eamon Burke
05-04-2011, 03:38 PM
It's attractive. That's about it.

No function, and sometimes it can be a huge drawback. Ask him WHY a full tang is important, and if he's ever seen a knife fail because it wasn't full-tang.

Delbert Ealy
05-05-2011, 12:36 AM
I prefer to make full tang knives, which makes me something of an oddball, although for use, as long as it is well-made I don't think it matters. After steel became popular to use, most swords from many cultures were made with narrow tangs. If those people trusted their lives to those tangs, then who am I to argue? (many bronze swords were made with full-tang construction.)
I construct knives with full tangs because I prefer the style, not because of any strength issues.

Michael Rader
05-05-2011, 12:49 AM
Hey Bill, you have helped me out with quite a few things in the past, so let me help you with some tricks on fitting handles for integral bolsters... BTW, ever get my e-mail on a doing collaboration knife?

Ha ha! Just had to put you on the spot there and make that public. Hint, hint.
-M

Chef Niloc
05-05-2011, 02:22 AM
I will once again state the 99% of all Chefs know little to nothing about knives. They know how to use them and what works well and feels good in the hand but as fa as what makes a good knife... Almost none of them... You got to be a knife nut chef I think we are all members of this board? I have yet to meet a chef out there that has 1/2 the knolage as is on this board, and I know some VERY well known chef..even French ones. As for full tang on cheeper none custom knives the rat tail tang can be week...I doubt your tang's are week in any way? It's more about balance for me and as you know I'm a fan of hidden tang's. Also I have had full tang knives brake on me. I can also say that I don't think any knife could have the stress that I put on my tuna sword. I can feel the handle bow on side push cuts...never broke one, just cracked a handle.

dough
05-05-2011, 04:09 AM
i have heard people talking about full tang equals gooder knife but in my experience tang has nothing to do with it.

Bill Burke
05-05-2011, 11:17 AM
I can see no logical reason to pick one style over another other than personnel choice unless there is a specific purpose for one or the other Colin's tuna sword for example. As many of you know I started out making High Performance hunting knives. I did alot of testing and destroyed alot of knives. One of the things I tested was handle strength. I found that uner enough lateral force the full tang handle will crack around the rivets and then break off. Properly constructed hidden tangs would break the blade before the handle failed.

Eamon Burke
05-05-2011, 03:58 PM
Funny, it seems like the folder-lock situation. Everyone wants a killer lock, but the pivot will fail long before even the simplest lock!

Besides, a kitchen knife is abused in every way except it is never used to stab something moving, and it's never used metal-on-metal, so that kind of thing doesn't really help!

oivind_dahle
05-05-2011, 06:01 PM
When doing handles for hidden tangs, do you use one piece or two pieces and glue em together?
Whats the normal praxis out there?

Bill Burke
05-05-2011, 11:48 PM
I use both methods. but prefer the one piece handle.

Marko Tsourkan
05-05-2011, 11:52 PM
Can you still balance a hidden tang handle knife at bolster, or would one need to grind it thinner?

Chef Niloc
05-06-2011, 12:53 AM
Yes he can :thumbsup:

oivind_dahle
05-06-2011, 08:27 AM
Yes he can :thumbsup:

http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af180/Shanenorth/Animated/worship.gif

Bill Burke
05-06-2011, 10:13 AM
Can you still balance a hidden tang handle knife at bolster, or would one need to grind it thinner?

Hey Marco, depends on the knife but yes most of them. The heavy bladed designs are tuff but who is to say that I cant hide a piece of heavy metal inside the handle.

Marko Tsourkan
05-06-2011, 12:58 PM
Hey Marco, depends on the knife but yes most of them. The heavy bladed designs are tuff but who is to say that I cant hide a piece of heavy metal inside the handle.

That is basically what I meant. Thicker, taller and longer hidden tang, just not a full tang. I too like hidden tangs for the same reasons (wood movement) outlined above. We have a lot of educating public to do, it seems.

M

Diamond G
07-06-2011, 01:17 AM
Ive seen A particular Chef knife made many years ago by Jimmy Lile that had addable and removable weights that were hidden under the screw in but cap. Was made for the Chef to then Gov Clinton.

Just a thought?

God Bless
Mike

JohnnyChance
07-06-2011, 01:26 AM
Ive seen A particular Chef knife made many years ago by Jimmy Lile that had addable and removable weights that were hidden under the screw in but cap. Was made for the Chef to then Gov Clinton.

Just a thought?

God Bless
Mike

Cool idea...but I have a pretty good idea where I like my balance points. When having a custom knife made, I just tell the maker what I prefer. Don't see why I would want to change it after I had it right or the maker made to how I specified.