There's a guy on YouTube that likes knives and hunting, and he's not shy about it. He posts a lot of videos about knives and knife use. But unlike a lot of the knife review crap you see on YouTube, this guy is the real thing; he actually uses his knives to field dress deer and he shows you, in graphic detail, how well they work or don't work. He's also not shy about calling an expensive knife a piece of junk; if it doesn't work it doesn't work regardless of how much it cost.
Virtuovice is his YouTube name and he has one heck of a following - a virtual cult hero. The guy is seriously into hunting, guns, blades and fresh meat. And beer. Lots of beer. Put him in a sleeveless t-shirt and drop him into a stadium to watch an Alabama football game and he'd fit right in.
Except that... he's Japanese! I don't mean that he's of Japanese descent, he's Japanese born and raised. In Japan.
So we have a beer (and sake) drinking, knife loving hunting nut who does own and wear sleeveless shirts. Sounds like a redneck to me. Who cares if he's Japanese. Like I said, redneck is a state of mind, not a state of residence. But then get this - the guy is a medical doctor!
Now we have a beer drinking, knife loving, hunting nut Japanese medical doctor redneck. How cool is that! Even cooler, he's not shy about applying a little medical technology to one of the great questions of our time - how well is my knife constructed?
Every once in a while Virtovice will toss a bunch of knives into his x-ray machine so we can get a look inside the handles to see just how well the knife is constructed. Here's just one of his x-ray videos:
The results can be surprising. A lot of folks who buy a knife thinking they are getting a full tang blade may be disappointed to find their knife has a lot less metal in the handle than they thought. Now, there's nothing wrong with stick tang knives (a 'stick tang' refers to a design were the tang is just a narrow piece of steel enclosed in the handle). If properly designed a stick tang knife can be nearly as strong as a full tang design, and certainly strong enough for general use. However, poorly designed stick tangs have a nasty habit of snapping where the blade enters the handle.
In this video Virtuovice x-rays a couple of my favorite knives. The Fallkniven F1 is, as I already knew, a (nearly) full tang design. It is easy to see why this knife blade is a favorite of custom builders, who buy the blades without handles from Fallkniven and put their own fancy handle scales on them. The Ka-Bar USMC knife is a surprise to me because of the width of the stick tang. In past posts I've criticized this particular knife because of the tang design, but I'm heartened to see so much steel inside the handle. Looks like I'll have to re-evaluate it.
And last, the Buck Vanguard. Although this has the narrowest tang of any of the knives in this x-ray the way Buck designed the transition from the full blade to the stick tang means it is a very sturdy design. The sloped transition from the blade to the tang means there still plenty of meat at the highest stress point where the blade enters the handle.
A great video, and there's lots more out there on Virtuovice's YouTube channel. His English is a little rough and his accent can be a little thick, but the guy knows his knives and he puts out good, informative (and occasionally humorous) videos.