Knife Nation

Question of the Day: What is your best flea market/garage sale knife find?

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I struck out today, but have you ever found a good deal on a blade at a flea market or garage sale?

My wife and I like to visit antique malls when we have a day out together. We are not usually looking for anything in particular, but we would rather refinish a piece of furniture than buy some imported piece of crap that is just like everyone else’s piece of crap. I also keep an eye out for old knives and tools.

One can frequently find antique folding knives that are restoration worthy, like the John Primble I cleaned up and added to my rotation. I have restored a couple of old Stanley hand planes that were antique mall finds as well. Most of the time I strike out though, as I did today. Everything was either in too rough of shape, too expensive, or both.

It was a bit too rough to be worth picking up, but this old cleaver was kind of cool.

I do enjoy browsing though. Sometimes I find some interesting stuff, even if I don’t end up buying it.

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If not for the broken handle, and for $20 less I would have bought it.

Other times things are too expensive like the $50 that someone wanted for an old jack-plane. In that condition, $30 is about the max I would pay since I already have a nicer one. There was a lot of Chinese imported junk as well.

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Chinese V-42 Stiletto? No thanks.

The Chinese v-42 Stiletto made me laugh. I can appreciate a well-made imported knife, like a CRKT, but he thought of buying a Chinese knock off of a classic piece of American history is utterly repugnant to me. Given the v-42’s tendency to be weak at the hilt, I can’t imagine what a piece of crap that is.

Uhm…no.

Then there was the $10 replica Nazi dagger…I am not sure I would even want a real one, at any price. Strangely, I am not as repulsed by an actual WWII Luger. There is something about the intimacy of a knife that feels different somehow. (as a seconday QoD, give me your thoughts on this if you care to share).

So I leave you by asking, What is your greatest garage sale/flea market/antique mall find?

Discussion

6 responses to ‘Question of the Day: What is your best flea market/garage sale knife find?

  1. I got a well used Camillus (USMC?) military knife at a swap meet. I traded a pair of flashlights for that knife and a sailing knife with a sheepsfoot blade and marlin spike. I hated the flashlights so I think I got the better part of the deal.

    I concur on the Nazi dagger. I wouldn’t want that in my collection unless a relative had it as a WWII war prize with a sweet story. I think Lugers are cool, but then again those don’t have a giant swatiska medallion on them.

  2. Nazi memorabilia holds nothing for me, knife or pistol. I found a Kershaw Scallion for $.50, a nice SAK for a quarter, both cleaned up nice and are now in my EDC rotation. I also got a couple of small Buck pocket knives for a couple of dollars each. Most people though seem to know what is worthwhile and what is junk and price accordingly and most of what I see is Chinese crap. What bothers me though is going to a flea market/swap meet and seeing a booth with a big sign advertising custom knives and only finding the overpriced Chinese mystery metal knives.

  3. I haven’t found anything at any yard or garage sales yet. I have done ok at gun shows, not great prices but hard to find stuff. I’ve also cleaned up in online auctions (like my Benchmade 9051SBK, was part of a box of assorted folders I payed less than $30 for. Made everything back by selling a like new Gerber that was part of the lot for half retail).

    I find the super cheap Nazi reproductions to be pretty distasteful, honestly, since their only appeal would seem to be for either those who admire the symbol or wish to pass them off as genuine. Higher dollar replicas, especially those clearly marked as such, can fill voids in collections.

    I have WWII artifacts from several countries, both allied and axis. One of the online auctions mentioned above netted a stainless steel naval katana. Given its condition, if it was even issued, I doubt it ever left a ship. That doesn’t make it any less representative of the many atrocities that the Japanese committed in the Pacific theater. Given the money and opportunity, I would not be opposed to the purchase of a Luftwaffe sword or SS dagger. In my hands, they would be carefully preserved, but not displayed (or, if they were, in a proper context) and certainly not revered.

    I might be more accustom to Nazi items as historical artifacts because of the many examples my grandfather brought home. He certainly had no love for the people who were shooting at him, no doubt even less after liberating the first concentration camp, but he kept a lot of rank insignia, party badges, uniform pieces, even a huge parade flag. Destroying or discarding them would not undo history.

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