En casa de herrero, cuchillo de palo

Spanish Proverb - En casa de herrero, cuchillo de palo

En casa de herrero, cuchillo de palo


Significado: La persona que se especializa en algo no necesariamente lo aplica en su vida. A veces falta una cosa en el lugar donde nunca debiera hacer falta.

Ejemplo: Fuimos a entrevistar a un escritor, pero él no tenia ninguna copia de su libro, bueno en casa de herrero cuchillo de palo.



la casa: the house
el herrero: the blacksmith
el cuchillo: the knife
el palo: the stick


En casa de herrero, cuchillo de palo

Literally it says: In the blacksmith’s house, wooden knife.


When someone specializes in a certain type of trade/labour (usually making or fixing something) that sometimes they neglect themselves or their family in that same area.

Like saying if a blacksmith is good at making things out of metal, then why does he have wooden knives (which are not as good as metal/steel) knives in his house.

It’s like a Marriage guidance counselor that is divorced.
A mechanic’s car that keeps breaking down.
A doctor that smokes heavily and is always sick.
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Another Variation

Sometimes the expression is: En casa de herrero, cuchara de palo
Cuchara = spoon


“En casa de herrero, cuchillo de palo” in other languages

English: The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot.
Português: Casa de ferreiro, espeto de pau
Français: Les cordonniers sont toujours les plus mal chaussés


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2 Responses to “En casa de herrero, cuchillo de palo”

  1. Nachete 11 July, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    It´s not cuchillo (knife), it is cuchara (spoon). A knife made of wood makes no sense. Here what you are trying to explain is a paradox. For example, I work at Renault, but I go to work by metro (for me it is a spoon made of wood), because it is useful, but it is a paradox. We are talking about a blacksmith, not a fool.
    However, the saying has evoluted, and now people say it wrong.

    • woodward 11 July, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

      Hola Nachete,

      I investigated this before writing the post and both are correct and in fact, cuchillo is used more than cuchara (even though as you say it makes sense to use cuchara).

      If we make a quick google search, these are the results:
      En casa de herrero cuchara de palo: 83,600 results
      En casa de herrero cuchillo de palo: 448,000 results

      That why at the end of the article I included the cuchara alternative even though it is used less.