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Why isn't the tang all the way in the handle?
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Thread: Why isn't the tang all the way in the handle?

  1. #1
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    Why isn't the tang all the way in the handle?

    (Actually, I meant tang, not tongue, but this board does not allow title edits.) Grrr.


    Look at those two gaps where the handle meets the blade.
    It seems food/bacteria would build up there.

    Also doesn't it rust there since it is hard to wipe dry?
    It must have to air dry which is a NONO for this steel.

    Why don't they just put the metal all the way into the handle?
    In fact, why do they make those two cut-outs at all?
    Wouldn't a gradual taper be easier to keep clean and dry?
    Is this just some tradition or is there a good functional reason so many Japanese knives have this?


  2. #2
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    JBroida's Avatar
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    Its a regional stylistic thing... i've got a ton of knives with this gap (called machi) and dont have any rust or cleanliness problems. You'd be surprised, but it doesnt really get that dirty and it doesnt really rust there. Just take care of the knives as you normally would. Clean and wipe dry. You should be good.

  3. #3
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    I have a bunch like this, too. It did bother me at first but I haven't even thought about it in a long time. I remember I softened the corners on my first such knife with a file.

  4. #4


    I theorize that the 'machi' developed as a sign of a securely fit handle, because traditional methods require that the tang be burned into the wood, and a small gap over a secure fit would denote that it is very snug indeed.

    Nowadays, it's totally stylistic.

  5. #5
    Senior Member stevenStefano's Avatar
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    Yeah it is the first thing a lot of people notice when they look at my knives with such handles and they ask if there is something wrong with it. I don't really like the way it looks but it is hardly a big deal

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ratton's Avatar
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    Cool

    It bugs me too!!

    However if you specifically order a knife in, as opposed from taking it from stock, you can request that there be no gap.

    You certainly do take great pictures!! I wish I had your camera skills.

  7. #7

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    Is this another instance of the Japanese doing it that way because that is the way it was done in 1650?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by stevenStefano View Post
    Yeah it is the first thing a lot of people notice when they look at my knives with such handles and they ask if there is something wrong with it. I don't really like the way it looks but it is hardly a big deal
    Thanks for the O/P.
    I like knives with blades completely inserted into wa handles, no visible machi

  9. #9
    Senior Member TamanegiKin's Avatar
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    I like the machi. Aesthetically it appeals to me and though it may not actually place the handle slightly further back from the heel it kinda makes it feel that way. I've come to really like this of the konosukes. Great picture of a beautiful knife BTW.

  10. #10

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    I don't know if it is just the picture, but would anyone be really offended if I pointed out that the shoulders are not filed flat and even and the tang seems to be off center on that knife?

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