Ocotlan, Oaxaca, Mexico: A short sword, "Machete Americano", hand forged and hand tempered by Angel Aguilar
The machetes used by the Spanish in New Spain (the Americas, according to the Spanish) were OK for the brushy or jungled interiors of the countries they explored/conquered. However, once the Spaniards reached the coasts of the Americas, they ran into mangrove.
Mangrove is more a tree than a bush or brush. And in the northern fringes of their empire, in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas, the mangrove are the toughest of all. So the Spanish needed a machete with more beef. At the same time, they developed a machete that could be used as a weapon if need be.
The "Machete Americano" was the result. This short sword, because that's what it really is, rather than the classic machete, is 24" in overall length and has a blade length of 18". It more closely resembles the cutlass used by sailors and marines of the 16th century world and made famous by the buccaneers and pirates.
This would have been the tool used by Jean Lafitte and his crews as they cleared Barataria in the bayou outside New Orleans. Any other machete or knife would have been too light.
The Machete Americano is hand forged and hand tempered in the forge of Angel Aguilar, master swordmaker of Ocotlan. This blade would probably quite quickly hack and chop through just about anything short of a full sized, mature oak tree. It would make an astonishingly effective gift for the woodsman on your list, as well as be a collectible that would last several lifetimes.
You can purchase this classic 16th century tool, still in use today, from Angel Aguilar at the Pale Horse Galleries online store. Just click on the link, or copy and paste http://palehorsemex.vstore.ca/ into your browser.
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