Knife Review: Cressi Giant Knife and Alligator (Dive Knives 2016 – Detail Review)

This review provides further details for the Cressi Giant Knife and Alligator which could not be included in the Dive Knives 2016 – Mega Test Review

The candidates sent by Cressi were a last minute addition to the Mega Test Review, so unfortunately did not go on the Ionian Sea trip and missed out on some of the real use testing, however they did go through all of the experimental corrosion and cutting testing.
 photo 01 Cressi boxed P1220175.jpg

A pretty unique pair from Cressi with a knife at at each end of the size spectrum.
 photo 02 Cressi unboxed P1220357.jpg

The Blade and Handle Geometry:

Most knife specifications have a basic description of the blade geometry, but in this section I will be taking a more detailed look at geometry and balance.

Using a set of gauges and precision measuring equipment including a Vernier protractor, callipers, fixed radius gauges and the unique Arc Master adjustable radius gauge (the one that looks like a crossbow).
 photo Knife measuring P1180483.jpg

These measurements have been tabulated and are presented along with other blades.

Key aspects such as the primary bevel angle, grind type, blade depth, blade thickness, length, weight are detailed, along with balance information.

The ‘Balance relative to the front of the handle’ tells you if the knife will feel front heavy, or if the weight is in your hand (a positive value means the weight is forward of the front of the handle). The ‘Balance relative to the centre of the handle’ indicates how close to a ‘neutral balance’ the knife has in the hand.

In the case of full convex grinds the approximate centre of the grind is used for the primary bevel angle estimate.

The measurements are presented alongside some of the other knives from the Dive Knives 2016 – Mega Test Review
 photo Dive Knives Parameters 3 of 3.jpg

A few more details of the Giant Knife:

Very nicely presented in its transparent box, the Giant Knife is clearly exactly what it says it is.
 photo 03 Cressi Giant Boxed P1220278.jpg

The knife and sheath come with a pair of rubber straps.
 photo 04 Cressi Giant unBoxed P1220285.jpg

Standard belt buckle type straps are used.
 photo 05 Cressi Giant strap P1220294.jpg

The back of the sheath is basically flat.
 photo 06 Cressi Giant sheath back P1220297.jpg

One set of strap mounting points and what looks like an upside-down “CE” mark.
 photo 07 Cressi Giant sheath back detail P1220299.jpg

Near the top of the sheath are the other set of strap mounting holes. Something that has me curious is that the rubber retaining ring fits into a hole right at the top of the sheath, but there is an identical hole slightly further down. This could not be used for the retaining ring as you would never get it to fit over the handle, so is there another knife that uses this same sheath?
 photo 08 Cressi Giant sheath back detail P1220301.jpg

Staying with the old-school concept, the Giant Knife has a rubber retaining ring which is pulled over the hammer pommel.
 photo 09 Cressi Giant sheath retention P1220303.jpg

Very neatly put together, the rubber ring has a tab which is easy to grip.
 photo 10 Cressi Giant sheath retention P1220306.jpg

In the released position the rubber ring is pushed out of the way. Like this the knife is just loose in the sheath and can fall out.
 photo 11 Cressi Giant sheath retention P1220308.jpg

The sheath is a one piece moulded plastic design.
 photo 12 Cressi Giant sheath empty P1220310.jpg

And there is that substantial blade. Perhaps not actually ‘giant’, but this is certainly a BFK.
 photo 13 Cressi Giant angle P1220318.jpg

As we all know, ‘stainless’ really means ‘stain-resistant’ and Cressi have given the blade a black coating which helps with corrosion resistance, though the cutting edge itself cannot be coated.
 photo 14 Cressi Giant coating P1220320.jpg

Clearly marked as being made from 304 Stainless Steel.
 photo 15 Cressi Giant SS P1220324.jpg

Incorporated into the blade spine is a line cutting hook. This angle clearly shows how wide the double bevel angle is (also see the parameter table) which unfortunately makes it very ineffective.
 photo 16 Cressi Giant hook P1220327.jpg

The back of the blade also has a long line of serrations which unfortunately are also a double bevel with a very wide angle which limits their effectiveness.
 photo 17 Cressi Giant serrations P1220333.jpg

A view of the ricasso and plunge line.
 photo 18 Cressi Giant plunge P1220337.jpg

Being a true dive knife, the Giant Knife can be taken apart to clean and maintain the knife. The steel hammer pommel unscrews.
 photo 19 Cressi Giant hammer removed P1220348.jpg

After taking off the pommel, the handle slides off the tang. The full tang has been given the same black coating as the blade, so reduces the need to disassemble and clean it.
 photo 20 Cressi Giant apart P1220352.jpg

Even the thread is coated, but given a few disassemblies this will wear off.
 photo 21 Cressi Giant tang thread P1220354.jpg

A few more details of the Alligator:

Switching to a completely different concept to the Giant Knife, we have the Alligator.
 photo 23 Cressi Alligator boxed P1220180.jpg

Being a much smaller knife, this is designed to be fitted to your BCD or belt and not to your arm or leg, so instead of rubber straps you get a mounting kit.
 photo 24 Cressi Alligator unboxed P1220187.jpg

The mounting kit includes a hose mount with hose shim (for smaller hoses) plus a straight bar for fitting around webbing.
 photo 25 Cressi Alligator mounting P1220191.jpg

In the moulded plastic sheath is a sprung knife-retaining plate which clicks into place on the knife handle to hold it in place.
 photo 26 Cressi Alligator sheath P1220194.jpg

On the back of the sheath are the screw points for attaching the various mount options.
 photo 27 Cressi Alligator sheath back P1220195.jpg

Is it a knife? Is it a pair of shears? Actually it is both.
 photo 28 Cressi Alligator angle P1220205.jpg

Viewed from the other side it looks a bit more knife like.
 photo 29 Cressi Alligator angle P1220207.jpg

At the base of the handle is a metal loop which holds the two parts of the handle together.
 photo 30 Cressi Alligator clip P1220212.jpg

Flipping the clip outwards frees the handle to open up.
 photo 31 Cressi Alligator clip open P1220215.jpg

As you might expect with smaller shears the pivot is sprung loaded to make them easy to use.
 photo 32 Cressi Alligator spring P1220219.jpg

Inside the handles is a set of gripping teeth that can be used to grip and twist nuts/bolts and other objects you need more grip for.
 photo 33 Cressi Alligator grip teeth P1220220.jpg

And there we have them, the Alligator’s jaws. Anyone having to cut loose lines underwater will know just how effective shears are for this task.
 photo 34 Cressi Alligator jaws P1220223.jpg

Also included is a line cutting hook.
 photo 35 Cressi Alligator hook P1220226.jpg

A close view of the knife point. Though not a needle sharp point, I prefer the tip not to be too sharp for a diving knife.
 photo 36 Cressi Alligator tip P1220231.jpg

The spine of the ‘knife’ (the top jaw of the shears) has serrations cut into it.
 photo 38 Cressi Alligator serration P1220237.jpg

The serrations are formed from a single bevel.
 photo 37 Cressi Alligator serration back P1220233.jpg

Looking at the top jaw of the shears, the grind is very clean and precise.
 photo 39 Cressi Alligator shears P1220240.jpg

One side of the pivot bolt has a security type nut. To tighten this you need a flat head screwdriver with the middle ground out. On trying to adjust this it appears that either thread-lock or some other method has been used to hold this nut in place, so I’ll be leaving it until it needs adjustment.
 photo 40 Cressi Alligator pivot P1220241.jpg

You can sheath the Alligator either way round, however one way is easier than the other.
 photo 41 Cressi Alligator sheathed P1220254.jpg

The reason it is easier to sheath the knife one way round is due to the blade being offset.
 photo 42 Cressi Alligator offset P1220260.jpg

Looking closer you can see that the offset allows the spring for the shears to be incorporated. You can also see the plastic scrapings on the pivot nut where it has rubbed on the sheath.
 photo 43 Cressi Alligator offset P1220262.jpg

Feature packed and very versatile.
 photo 44 Cressi Alligator angle open P1220275.jpg

What are they like to use?

There are those that say there is no need for a big diving knife any more. For many this may be true, and they are better served by something smaller, or even just a line cutter, but there is still a place for the BFK when you need a tool that can take on bigger tasks. Cressi recognise this and that is why they have recently introduced the Giant Knife.

This review includes a cutting tool from both ends of the size spectrum with the much more compact Alligator which is a pair of shears as well as a knife. The Alligator is supremely effective for cutting and in the cutting tests has been scored separately as both a knife and as shears. The cutting score for the shears was joint first place, and the knife was not a bad performer at all. If you combined both scores, it is head and shoulders above any other knife in the Mega Test. The Giant Knife was a respectable performer, but the cutting hook and serrations were poor. See the Dive Knives 2016 – Mega Test Review for more information on the cutting test results.

For stainless steel tools, both Cressi knives came out of the corrosion test very well. There is a small amount of rust showing near the pivot between the two halves of the shears.
 photo 47 Cressi Alligator rust P1220997.jpg

There is also some rust on the gripping jaws inside the handles.
 photo 48 Cressi Alligator rust P1230004.jpg

For the Giant Knife, there is nothing to show for the corrosion testing as there was no visible rust to be found on the knife.

Going back to the Giant Knife… Oh yes, this is a BFK! If you want a decent sized diving knife then the Giant Knife is a very good fit. It is big, the blade is thick, it is heavier than most, but you have a heavy duty tool you can really put to work. The shaped rubber handle gives you a very positive grip and lets you go for it. With some weight behind it, the hammer pommel is effective (just watch where that point is going).
(For size reference, I wear XL size gloves).
 photo 22 Cressi Giant in hand P1220366.jpg

Going the other way now, and as the Alligator is much more compact than the Giant Knife, the grip is nearly (but not quite) too short. Despite the smaller size, the Alligator’s knife is effective in all its aspects, with the cutting hook working well and serrations working reasonably.
 photo 45 Cressi Alligator in hand P1220361.jpg

But the jewel in the Alligator’s crown are the shears. Wet lines and rope can be very difficult to grip and cut with a knife. Free-floating lines even worse, but shears grip the line for you, making it so much easier to cut. Notice how the tip of the shears in the knife blade is hook shaped, which prevents lines slipping out of the front of the jaws. Being spring loaded makes the shears stay firmly in the hand as you use them. Even without the knife blade elements of the Alligator, it would be worth having just for these shears.
 photo 46 Cressi Alligator in hand open P1220364.jpg

Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
Things I like What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
The Alligator gives you the cutting power of shears as well as a knife blade. Neither design is safe for ‘release’ cutting next to the body.
The Giant gives you a true heavy duty ‘BFK’ for diving. The Giant Knife’s serrations and hook are ground at far too wide an angle to be effective.
Extremely good corrosion resistance. The Alligator handle catch can be tricky to open, especially with gloves on.
Both ends of the size spectrum are represented.
Sheaths work right or left handed.

 photo 02 Cressi unboxed P1220289.jpg


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