The judges on HISTORY's Forged in Fire are each quite respected for their abilities when it comes to smithing and weapons-making, but all that skill and experience doesn't mean their work isn't dangerous. And on a few occasions, their occupational injuries have been noticeable to viewers.
For example, during an appearance on the channel's special, 101 Weapons That Changed the World, Forged in Fire judge and expert weapons-maker David Baker appears in an eye patch, alarming fans of his show that an accident had cost him his eye.
Don't worry — David Baker's eye patch was only temporary.
The special, which recently re-aired, is actually several years old, but for many seeing it for the first time, it might have seemed like a recent and very troubling development.
David saw fans concerned about him and clarified that he was just fine, but had sustained an injury to his eye the day before shooting, necessitating the patch over his wound as it healed. "Hey gang. If you watched 101 Weapons that changed the world, yes that was me in an eye patch. I had to have a metal splinter removed from my eye the night before the shoot. That was several years ago. I'm fine, thanks."
That's definitely a relief. However, working with metal and forges that are sometimes hotter than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit will definitely cause more than the occasional injury, even with the proper protective gear and safety precautions.
In fact, there have been several 'Forged in Fire' injuries — just not on the show.
Thankfully nobody has ever been seriously harmed on the show. For liability reasons the producers are sure to keep conditions as safe as possible, but it's still an artform that deals with very hot fire and molten metal, and even after all that danger is out of the way, if you did your job right, you have a razor sharp weapon.
Every weaponsmaker has a battle scar and a story to share about their worst injury, but for the most part, thankfully, most on-set injuries have been minor cuts and burns.
The injury that temporarily benched J. Neilson was unrelated to metalwork.
For a brief period, J. did not appear on the judges' panel as he was out getting surgery for an old injury to his hand. Many assumed he got hurt making swords, but it turns out to have been the sort of accident anyone could have in their own backyard, even if they don't have a metal forge in it.
In an interview with the podcast Knife Talk, J. explained that he had fractured a bone in his hand several years ago after slipping on some wet grass. Rather than treat it right away, he figured it would heal on its own, but over the years it caused him discomfort, so he underwent surgery to repair the damage.
Just goes to show that even though forging weapons can be dangerous, so can walking in your own garden!