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