Why so Many Hidden Tangs

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
I was hoping it would not be entertaining said:
Entertaining can be Educational also!

People makes knives differently for many different reasons.

1) They were taught to do it that way.
2) scarce materials at one time in history.
3) they find it challenging.
4) They find it easier.
5) They want to preserve the handle material.
6) "Studies Show"
7) They do what the little voices tell them to do!

I am sure there are more!

Anyone care to add to the motivation list for Why so many Hidden Tang knives?

Laurence

www.rhinoknives.com.
 

Dwane Oliver

Well-Known Member
Dang , that was a good answer firecog.

Thank You

Dwane

LOL , sometimes when I "do what little voices tell me to do" I get in trouble
 

Rudy Joly

Well-Known Member
Wow, I look away for a while and this thing grew like a weed !

Dwane,
It looks like most of the questions were answered but as far as forging and showing your skillset, a hidden tang to me shows you can make due with whatever you have to work with. As for design choices, I agree as mentioned that sometimes you don't want to butcher nice pieces of material and use it as is. Oh, just a thought on that busted Randall.....might be a heat treat issue. just sayin.

A nice rousing dicussion, nice to see such a turnout.

Rudy
 

Robert Dark

Well-Known Member
I heard a "fairly-well-known" collector say once that he would never buy a 3-piece knife. (He was referring to a blade and two handle slabs) He went on and on about ABS style knives (which, we must agree, are largely hidden tang style).

About 5 minutes later, he started raving about how well designed Bob Loveless' knives were, and how they were made for most tasks. (If I am not wrong, I think most of Bob's knives were full-tang, even though they may have been considered a "4-piece" knife, if you include the bolster/guard).

I make both styles, and have done a fair amount of testing. (Usually on blades that didn't meet my standards as far as fit and finish is concerned) I am convinced that both styles serve equally well provided your steel selection is right for the intended tasks, your heat treat is where it needs to be and your handle attachment methods match your selected design (full-tang or hidden-tang).

Robert
 

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
I heard a "fairly-well-known" collector say once that he would never buy a 3-piece knife. (He was referring to a blade and two handle slabs) He went on and on about ABS style knives (which, we must agree, are largely hidden tang style).

About 5 minutes later, he started raving about how well designed Bob Loveless' knives were, and how they were made for most tasks. (If I am not wrong, I think most of Bob's knives were full-tang, even though they may have been considered a "4-piece" knife, if you include the bolster/guard).

I make both styles, and have done a fair amount of testing. (Usually on blades that didn't meet my standards as far as fit and finish is concerned) I am convinced that both styles serve equally well provided your steel selection is right for the intended tasks, your heat treat is where it needs to be and your handle attachment methods match your selected design (full-tang or hidden-tang).

Robert

I am not familiar with every style of knife Mr. Bob Loveless made in his long Knife making career?

I did meet the man and was in his shop in Riverside Ca, about 10 years ago.
Every knife that was under production and everything he talked about, " Concerning Knives" Was a full tang Bolstered Modern Stainless Steel design.

Now he did hollow the tangs out and then Taper them. If that changes anything here?

Laurence

www.rhinoknives.com/
 

BonhamBlades

Well-Known Member
LMAO! I challenge anyone to snap a hidden tangs handle off in normal or even non normal use. I personally only use hidden tangs and worked in the slaughter field for 12 years. I have never had a hidden tang fail. Full tang in my opinion look cheap... each to there own I guess...
 

Fred Rowe

Well-Known Member
The grain structure in that Randall looks like river run gravel. The heat treat guy missed that one.

Hidden tang knives are just cooler, simple as that. :cool:

Good discussion guys!
 

GHEzell

Well-Known Member
One factor that weakens most of the hidden tang knives I have seen are the sharp angled cuts that are made to fit the bolster, guard or some other knife part to the blade itself. Lots of talk about stress risers but in the case of hidden tang knife construction, stress risers are often part of the design.

The grain structure in that Randall looks like river run gravel. The heat treat guy missed that one.

Not only that, but bad design too. That, I'm sad to say, is designed to break.

This is how I make them....DSCN0047.jpg
No sharp corners, and at the tang to blade junction the tang is as wide as possible. That Randall's tang is only 1/3 the width of the riccasso, with fairly sharp corners, and coarse-grained hardened steel... of course it's going to break! Bad design. A properly designed hidden tang is not going to break like that. I'm not bashing Randall, I'm just stating the facts.

99% of the swords made throughout the last 5000 years were hidden tang (there are exceptions, but they are quite rare). If it was prone to breakage, it would not have been used.

One advantage to a hidden tang is that the handle is a sealed unit. If the guard to blade fit is precise and sealed with solder or epoxy, there is no way moisture can get to the tang short of catastrophic handle failure. On a full tang the steel tang is constantly exposed.

I've made a lot of them over the years, but I no longer make full tang knives unless specifically requested (and I can't talk them out of it).
 

Dwane Oliver

Well-Known Member
Not only that, but bad design too. That, I'm sad to say, is designed to break.

This is how I make them....View attachment 30103
No sharp corners, and at the tang to blade junction the tang is as wide as possible. That Randall's tang is only 1/3 the width of the riccasso, with fairly sharp corners, and coarse-grained hardened steel... of course it's going to break! Bad design. A properly designed hidden tang is not going to break like that. I'm not bashing Randall, I'm just stating the facts.

99% of the swords made throughout the last 5000 years were hidden tang (there are exceptions, but they are quite rare). If it was prone to breakage, it would not have been used.

One advantage to a hidden tang is that the handle is a sealed unit. If the guard to blade fit is precise and sealed with solder or epoxy, there is no way moisture can get to the tang short of catastrophic handle failure. On a full tang the steel tang is constantly exposed.I've made a lot of them over the years, but I no longer make full tang knives unless specifically requested (and I can't talk them out of it).

All of the full tang knives I make are sealed with epoxy as well , no moisture is getting in there either.

In my opinion , hidden tangs look cheap , too cheap to use the steel to make them full tangs.

Its great we all have our opinions. The wonderful thing about knife makers is, if you had 100 guys make a 4" hunting knife, you would get 100 different knives.
 

NJStricker

Well-Known Member
You have to make sure that you're not comparing apples to oranges here. When someone generalizes that full tangs are stronger than hidden tangs, on what do they base that statement? I can see a PRODUCTION full tang being stronger than hidden tang. Look how short the hidden tangs are on Moras and some of the later Schrade and Camillus knives. They were less than a third of the length of the handle, glued in place, no supporting pins, etc.

Are you comparing stock removal full tang vs. hidden tang? If so, the stock removal hidden tang likely isn't tapered on all 4 sides the way a properly forged hidden tang would be. It's not just weight reduction folks--it's geometry designed to withstand lateral forces. That's why there is such an emphasis on distal tapers on the blade.

Why do you see so many hidden tangs? Because if you forge, you can take a 4 inch bar of steel and turn it into a knife with a 4 inch blade and 4 inch hidden tang. You can't do that with stock removal with the same amount of material.
 
B

Bush Monkey

Guest
This has been an interesting discussion. There are many points that have been contended pertaining to hidden vs full tang knife construction, form and function. In the case of hidden tang knives, the function of strength follows the primary design consideration of form. In other words, a maker must take certain measures to make a hidden tang knife strong - some of these measures have been discussed above. I think we can all agree that hidden tang knife construction is not inherently strong.

Conversley, in the case of full tang knives, the primary function of strength dictates the subordinate element of form. Full tang knife construction is inherently strong. In other words, a maker would have to try to make a full tang knife weak.

If 100 of the best makers in the world each set out to make the strongest knife possible within any performance envelope, all or almost all of those knives would utilize full tang construction. Which is stronger is not a point of contention.

In the case of catastrophic handle failure...With a hidden tang knife you have a sharp piece of steel. With a full tang knife, you still have a knife. Aesthetics and form aside, there is really no comparison to be drawn.

The word inherent is key to this discussion...

in·her·ent: involved in the constitution or essential character of something : belonging by nature or habit : intrinsic
 
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cdent

Well-Known Member
....In other words, a maker must take certain measures to make a hidden tang knife strong - some of these measures have been discussed above. I think we can all agree that hidden tang knife construction is not inherently strong....

....Full tang knife construction is inherently strong. In other words, a maker would have to try to make a full tang knife weak....

....all or almost all of those knives would utilize full tang construction. Which is stronger is not a point of contention....


Hmmm, lots of assumptions, I think the main one being, more steel equals more strength. It's been mentioned earlier, but isn't taking a full tang knife to the drill press to skeletonize under the scales a version of purposely weakening a full tang. Also, could be part of changing a bar of steel into a knife. Just curious what a catastrophic handle failure might be on a full tang knife, isn't it still a sharp piece of steel with nothing to hold on to.

I'm glad it's not set in stone, Craig
 
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rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
The grain structure in that Randall looks like river run gravel. The heat treat guy missed that one.

Hidden tang knives are just cooler, simple as that. :cool:

Good discussion guys!

Naw!
Full Tang look much cooler to me because I can see the steel in between that wonderful piece of Burl or Ironwood as the pattern continues on the other scale!

I still say it's those little voices! LOL

Laurence

www.westsidesharpening.com/
 

Deltashooter

Well-Known Member
I believe it’s a matter of preference for whatever reason you want. I forge an a little stock removal but I personally like a hidden tang in most designs. But then again some designs require a full tang to look right.


Ask 4 knife makers a question and get 10 different answers:les:

Todd
 

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
Hmmm, lots of assumptions, I think the main one being, more steel equals more strength. It's been mentioned earlier, but isn't taking a full tang knife to the drill press to skeletonize under the scales a version of purposely weakening a full tang. Also, could be part of changing a bar of steel into a knife. Just curious what a catastrophic handle failure might be on a full tang knife, isn't it still a sharp piece of steel with nothing to hold on to.

I'm glad it's not set in stone, Craig

Craig,

When I skeletonize my full tang Handles, the purpose is to lighten the knife without compromising strength.
Done properly with evenly placed holes, I don't think any strength is compromised.

Cheers!

Laurence

www.westsidesharpening.com/
 

Lagrange

Well-Known Member
When I was in high school I was a dyed in the wool chevy guy. I dont think I could have told you why they were superior, but I thought they were. Truth be told, my dad owned chevy's which is probably why I thought so highly of them.
Over the years I have come to own a number of cars and trucks from several different makers. I have had some very fine cars from makers I had not thought very highly of in the past, and I've had some lemons from the people at GM.

Whick knife design is best? Give me a break.
 
B

Bush Monkey

Guest
Agreed...there is no "best" knife design. However, there is a knife design that is inherently strong.

When I was in high school I was a dyed in the wool chevy guy. I dont think I could have told you why they were superior, but I thought they were. Truth be told, my dad owned chevy's which is probably why I thought so highly of them.
Over the years I have come to own a number of cars and trucks from several different makers. I have had some very fine cars from makers I had not thought very highly of in the past, and I've had some lemons from the people at GM.

Whick knife design is best? Give me a break.
 
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