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Not a full tang?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I recently pulled the trigger on a set of three classic Shun's; the 8" french, 6.5" santoku, and of course a parrying knife. For the moment these are more than sufficient for my needs at the restaurant however I will be looking into acquiring more pieces of my set within the future as need provides. With that said I'm very happy with my tools as they feel weightless in my hand and are of perfect balance, retain an edge for many prep hours, and of course are very sharp.

It struck me by supprise however when a coleague was discussing some new knives he wished to get and I heard him mention that he was informed by salesman at the local knife shop that the Shun classic did not have a full tang. As far as I can tell, due to their balance and solidness, they must be of full tang. Also anything that I've read would seem to indicate this as well. Am I misinformed? Is there something the salesman at the knife shop knows that no one else does?

With that said I'm just a little curious, these things are such an extension of my arm now that it does matter to me, however I prefer to retain correct information regarding the tools of my trade. Thanks!
post #2 of 14
Shun's website doesn't mention the issue. I'd guess, on that basis, that they do not have a full tang. So many western knife buyers are het up about this issue that if they did have a full tang, I suspect they'd advertise it as a selling point.

It really doesn't matter. If you're dealing with a serious, reputable knife-maker, the blade can be perfectly well seated in the handle without having a full tang. What you don't want is a short "rat-tail" tang badly seated in a soft handle. The knife-makers who do this are cutting costs by using less steel in their knives and hiding it with the handle. That's not the case with Shun, and as far as I'm aware it's not the case of any other relatively high-end knife-maker either. So long as the blade will not come unseated, full or partial tang doesn't make any difference.

Top-end Japanese knife-makers have used partial tangs for some centuries now, and the blades don't pop out. I know it's a traditional thing to worry about, and I myself used to think it was a crucial point, but it's not.

Don't worry. Those knives will be fine.

My only other remark is that once you start buying more knives, try another Japanese maker than Shun or Global. Try Togiharu, Tojiro, or somebody like that. You'll pay for it, of course, but I suspect that once you get the hang of it those Shuns are going to look pretty sorry for themselves.
post #3 of 14
I can't say authoritatively but I'd be pretty surprised if the tang doesn't seat into the cap on the end of the handle. I'm with Chris- full tang is great for a hatchet or a combat knife but of no particular use on a chef's knife.

I'll disagree with Chris on the Shuns- while my collection is model perhaps compared to his, I own nothing at 3x the price that soundly embarrasses the Shuns. Sure, they're entry level for J-knives the F&F is pretty good. As you get deeper into J-knives you'll probably come to dislike the German shape of their Chef's but it's hard to fault their quality overall (especially the Elite series).
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #4 of 14
Okay, I'm gonna revise my opinion. My research indicates the Shuns may well not be full tang. I still don't think it really matters, though. Pakkawood is very stable and you're not going to be using much force with that kind of knife.

FWIW, J-knives generally have a tang that's welded to the blade. Few of them, so far as I know, are truly one piece. For that matter, with J-knives the notion of 'forged' vs 'stamped' isn't so clear, either. In a sense they are neither; many are made with a stock removal method. However, the stock is rolled under enough pressure to essentially have the same affect on the steel as hammer forging and the blades aren't stamped out with a cutter like Christmas cookies (or like Forschners). It's a bit more advanced stock removal than that.

At the end the day, G-knives and J-knives use different paradigms. You must view them differently.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #5 of 14
Are you talking about joining the steel to the soft iron in a kasumi blade? I mean, yes, it's two pieces, but the iron runs very close to the point and all the way back, which isn't the same thing as a forged-on tang. Or are you saying that the tang is a third piece welded on? That surprises me, and I'm more than a little skeptical. Before I go source-hunting, is that what you mean and are you pretty sure about it?
post #6 of 14
No, it's as you say. I didn't put that very well, I guess.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #7 of 14

Shun "full tang"

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."

Chad also covers some other things: "forging, bolsters and full tangs, or the Historical Fiction, the Convenient Fiction and the Outright Lie."

from : Chadwrites.com


And, to quote the good folks at Shun:
"Does the tang run completely through to the end of knife and where does it stop?

Shun knives do have a full tang. It just isn’t one piece. The purpose of the tang is to keep the handle connected to the knife. Our design does that with great proficiency and reliability. It just does it differently than German design."


I've been a Shun rep and user since 2005. It's been my pleasure to sell many Shun Ken Onion Multi-Purpose Chef's Knives to people claiming to be a chef. I currently demo assorted Shun knives in NJ Williams-Sonoma stores.




post #8 of 14
WTH does that mean?
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #9 of 14
I suspect it means that he'd like to say he's sold such knives to chefs, but he doesn't know for sure -- all he knows is that they say they're chefs. He's too honest to say he's sold these knives to lots of chefs, so he says this instead. Awkward, but very honest.
post #10 of 14
Ok.
Not offended, just thoroughly confused as to why the statement was deemed necessary.
Your explanation makes sense.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #11 of 14
Shuns are nice. They put the wood handle on by slipping the wood over the tang and then put an end cap on, making it "full tang". The high end German knives have the full tang as one piece so they have to rivet the wood or plastic handles onto the tang, e.g Wusthof Ikons. I have found the shun fit and finish not so good between the wood and that end cap. Also saw lots of chipped shuns on display at William Sonoma. I bought both shun and Ikon. Like the icons best.
post #12 of 14

Posted by Priem View Post

[Shun puts] the wood handle on by slipping the wood over the tang and then put an end cap on, making it "full tang". T

 

With respect, that isn't what the term "full tang" means. 

 

A full tang not only reaches the back of the handle, it almost always reaches and is exposed at the bottom and top of the handle too.  The exception to the rule are full tangs are completely covered by wrapping or by leather discs; something you don't find with kitchen knives.

 

Shun Classics and most of their other knives are made with a "hidden tang," in particular a "rat tail tang."  But some Shuns, like the Ken Onion and Pro series, are made with full tangs. 

 

BDL

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Posted by Priem View Post

 

With respect, that isn't what the term "full tang" means. 

 

A full tang not only reaches the back of the handle, it almost always reaches and is exposed at the bottom and top of the handle too.  The exception to the rule are full tangs are completely covered by wrapping or by leather discs; something you don't find with kitchen knives.

 

Shun Classics and most of their other knives are made with a "hidden tang," in particular a "rat tail tang."  But some Shuns, like the Ken Onion and Pro series, are made with full tangs. 

 

BDL

 

We are actually in agreement, that's why I put the "full tang" in quotes.  Maybe too subtle, but my way of nicely saying Shun Classics do not have a full tang. 

post #14 of 14

So desu.

 

BDL

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