A whittle tang may be described where the tang enters the hilt in the manner of a spike. It may be glued in or held simply by friction. Whittle tangs may also pass completely through the hilt and be clenched or rivet on the end. This method was employed in all single part knives in England before the middle of the 14th century.
A scale tang is where the tang froms part of the hilt and the has wood, horn, bone, copper, brass or tin riveted to the sides. This method was emplyed after the middle of the 14th century in England and became the most popular method for knife construction from the early 15th century onwards.
"Knives and Scabbards:Medieval Finds From Excavations in London"; Cowgill, J; de Neergaard, M; Griffiths, N; Museum of London