The Handle and Tang
A full tang extends the entire length and width of the handle. It is secured by three rivets and is visible on all sides of the handle. This tang is considered to be the best because it offers the strongest construction and weight. Therefore, they can be found on all sizes of knives and especially in heavy duty work knives where chopping or cutting of hard products occurs. In past this tang has been considered to be the best due to its balance and strength. Recent developments in molded handles has challenged this belief.
Half or canoe tangs extend one-third, one-half, or three-quarters of the way along the handle. They are slotted into the handle and secured with rivets. Half or canoe tangs are seen in more lightweight knives like carving and fruit knives. They are not recommended for a heavy workload.
A pin tang goes through the handle and is secured at the end with a pin or rivet, visible from the outside.
A rattail or whittle tang is long, thin, pointed, extends well into the handle, and is not visible from the outside. The handle is hammered into the blade and often works loose. Rattail knives are for extremely lightweight work, as the handles tend to become loose easily.