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I Forge Iron

Knife pierces heart

Steve Sells

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Gordon Sayward Dempsey


Gordon passed away unexpectedly Friday, October 24, 2014 in his shop in Pleasant Grove, Utah when a knife that he was bufffing on pierced his heart. May he rest in piece, and forever be a warning to us all to be careful.

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My condolences to the family.




 I hope we can learn more about how this occurred in the interest of shop safety. Buffer accident?



I agree. In cave diving, accident analysis of past deaths have lead to a group of rules to follow. Almost all the deaths  are usually attributed to one of five different things. Knowing what happened and why allows us to learn from the "mistakes" of others so hopefully tragedies like this don't get repeated.

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powered buffers and wire brushes plot to maim/kill you constantly.  PPE is mandatory!

But even a heavy leather apron won't save you if the buffer grabs the blade and sends it right back at you point first.


When I worked with the swordmaker he had an *underpowered* buffer with a rather loose v belt drive.  If something went wrong you tend to grab harder and he could choke the motor down or slip the belt rather than having a blade forcibly yanked from his grip and returned.  Yes it took longer to buff a blade---but no lost time accidents and expensive ER visits.


Many metalworkers tend to want to over power their buffers and do it FAST; (knew an armourer who had a 5 hp massive buffer that scared me just to be in the room with it!)


Learning how to buff so an edge doesn't catch; or how to use a backer board to do areas that are tricky usually takes experience; experience that is hopefully gained without blood loss.

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I heard of a fellow working on a Wood Turning Lathe who was found on the floor with a chisel driven into his leg, that cut the artery and he had died before he could call someone, only phone was on the floor above, before days of cell phones. Lathe was till running when they found him. I've never used one since!

Deepest Condolences' to Mr. Dempsey's family.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I only just saw this notice. Gordon was a good friend and careful man. We lived a few hundred miles apart but were pretty close none the less. Karen is a spinner, she and Deb hit it off right away, being married to blacksmiths couldn't have had anything to do with that could it?


As safety conscious as Gordon was something can always get you. As I recall he never used the buff without wearing leathers and still. I do know how something can get you no matter how careful you are.


Nobody knows how long we have on Earth, live every moment like it's your last.


Frosty The Lucky.

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