My artistic roots come from my grandfather, who was trained and educated thanks to the extensive knowledge of the noted academic and artisan blacksmith, Julio Pascual. My grandfather in turn passed on his know-how to several of his children, among them my father, who also worked alongside Julio Pascual and later set up his own artisan locksmith's workshop around the year 1940.

       I started working in my father's workshop in 1968, when I was 16 years old. At that time, my father worked alongside one of his brothers (another protégé of Julio Pascual), who left the workshop after some years. Among the most frequently requested pieces of craftsmanship were decorative railings and gates, oil lamps and candlesticks, fireplace tongs and andirons, and artistic keys and other items typical of locksmiths.

       With the passage of time and as society advanced, customs and work changed, and by 1970 we were already producing the first handmade swords - some copies and some 'designed on a whim' from our own ideas - alongside axes, halberds, clubs and knives. Three years later, we began changing the hardware we had previously manufactured only from iron and combining it with brass and bronze, making doorknockers, keys, rustic kitchen utensils, brass tables, animal figurines, ashtrays and so on.

antonio       I worked alongside my father until 1983, the year in which he retired. From then on, I ran the workshop myself.

       In 1985 I started making reproductions of historic swords, a very satisfying experience for me, since at that time there were hardly any other craftsmen producing this kind of work with the high-quality materials that I was using, such as fine steel, forged and tempered by hand. At that point, my workday was divided between making these reproductions and working in the forge and the artisan locksmith's.

       During the following years I continued along the same line of work, but leaning more towards historic swords, having produced some personal designs both for swords and for daggers and knives.I also rediscovered the technique of making basket-hilted swords in steel, as were customary in the sixteenth century, and which according to legend were used to poison opponents.

antonio       During the 1999/2000 academic year I worked as an instructor-assistant in the employment workshop of the Toledo Provincial Council's artistan locksmith's, teaching a group of fifteen students aged 25-46 to work on historical fittings for furniture restoration, engraved and embossed for various antique pieces, under the direction of Master Craftsman José Antonio Manchon. This employment workshop was invited to participate in the 2000 Farcama Crafts Fair in Toledo, with a live workshop open to the public, including the presentation of a rapier with a grooved blade which I had designed.

       Given the experience I had gained at that stage of my professional life, surrounded by various master craftsmen, I began modifying my pieces to include more techniques, such as handcrafted etching, embossing, engraving and fretwork, producing unique pieces completely different from what was on sale at the time, yet always true to the replicas on which I based them.


antonio       In 2002, with support from other master craftsmen, I decided to qualify as a 'Master Swordsmith', and I am now the only person holding this qualification in the whole of Spain.

       In 2004 I stopped working in my own name in order to form the manufacturing company for artisan swords, 'Artesanía Arellanos S.L.' with my son, who has been learning the secrets of the trade since he was a small child. And after choosing his own direction in life, he has decided to spend some of his free time working with me in an attempt to keep this dying art alive.

       In the year 2010 I was mentioned in the publication of a special book on master craftsmen working in Castile-La Mancha, and I enjoyed further recognition from various institutions, including the presentation of some of my pieces at different fairs and exhibitions.

       In April 2015 I was invited to teach and be Master Craftsman at the first workshop-school on swordmaking in Toledo, promoted by the city council with the intention of continuing in the future and enabling the training of artisans in this noble art.

       At present we are busy making all kinds of handmade swords and daggers, using methods and practices much the same as when I started working, i.e. one by one and with the utmost respect for the finest materials and manufacturing methods.

Finally, I should mention that some of my pieces have been used in the filming of current popular Spanish series such Águila Roja, Isabel, Toledo, and Carlos V and films including Águila Roja and Captain Thunder.


Antonio Arellano Pulgar


  Master Swordsmith



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