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★★★★★

“Savage jaws but a gentle nature.”

Written on: 03/03/2012 by alert4u (2 reviews written)

The jaws of the Black & Decker Alligator look fearsome when they’re wide open but when you place a tree branch between them and squeeze the handles together, you realise how friendly this animal is. With far less effort than a bow saw and much less potential risk than a conventional chain saw, the alligator is perfect for anyone who occasionally needs to cut up logs and branches up to 100mm (4”) thick. The alligator is a very clever tool that combines the technology of a pair of garden shears with a small chain saw. The result is a safe and simple beast that can devour a pile of logs quickly and with little effort.

The business end of the alligator comprises a lower jaw with backward facing teeth and an upper jaw, which houses a small chainsaw track and blade. A 550 watt motor drives the chain blade and can only be engaged by simultaneously depressing the triggers that are mounted on both handle grips which means that using the alligator is always a two handed operation. Kickback (one of the most common causes of serious injury with regular chainsaws) is not a problem with the alligator because the rotation of the chain simply pulls the log deeper and more securely into the jaws as it slices through it. As with all power tools, care must be taken but In terms of health and safety, only by placing some part of your anatomy or the power cable between the jaws and deliberately squeezing both triggers at the same time can injury be sustained. The labelling says that the motor produces 105db but I’ve never felt it necessary to use my ear defenders with this equipment.

Drawing much less power than most hairdryers, the alligator can be used almost anywhere with a small generator or inverter and the compact size of the alligator means that it is easy to transport, handle and store. It is clean and requires minimal maintenance apart from having to lubricate the blade every 10 minutes or so during a cutting session. This is achieved by injecting a small amount of oil into the head of the saw using the bottle provided. As you would expect from Black and Decker, spare parts and servicing are readily available as necessary which means that with a little care, your alligator should give many years of faithful service and more than repay the investment you made in it.

With ever increasing fuel prices, the growing popularity of wood burning stoves and open grates is not surprising. The other day and in the space of 10 minutes I loaded the boot of my car with a few dead branches that were lying unloved and unwanted by the roadside. Later, using my trusty alligator, I cut them into a stack of logs that lasted several days on the wood burner. The same amount of cut logs would probably have cost over £10 in a store. Even if you have no use for free heating fuel, the alligator can still earn its keep in the garden by reducing tree branches to pieces small enough to transport to the local re-cycling centre.

Perhaps the alligator is not the type of tool you’ll need every week but if you’ve already got a lawnmower, hedgetrimmer, strimmer and leaf blower in your shed, an alligator is all you need to complete the set.

The model featured is the Black & Decker Alligator GK 1000 type 1