Apolinar Aguilar is a blacksmith who lives in the town of Ocotlan, about 20 miles south of Oaxaca city. He makes swords, knives and martial arts weapons as well as domestic utensils such as letter openers and cake serving sets. He hand forges each item using methods that date back to the colonial period. One thing that is different is his source of metal: he uses old car parts, bronze plumbing pieces, and door fixtures. The handles are made of other materials: tropical wood, antler, or bone.
It's quite an experience to see him at work. He pumps the leather and wood bellows until the coals are red-hot, and hammers the pieces by hand until they take the desired shape. Besides the pieces that he has on display, he also makes items to order and will engrave names and dedications on the pieces if requested.