Roll Your Own Mask, #2

By Erik Dolson

My local hardware store carries pleated furnace filters. The highest grade of these claims to have a pore size of .1 to .3 microns and be able to filter viruses. So I bought one and tore it apart, getting rid of the metal screen on both sides.

Then I cut a piece a little larger than the width of two of my hands with about seven (7) full pleats.

I wrapped a rubber band tightly around one end, and then another rubber band tightly around the other end.

Then I cut two pieces of string about double the width of one of my hands.

I fed one end of one string under a loop of one of the rubber bands, and then tied the two ends of the string together with a square knot. I did the same to the other end of the mask.

Done.

I opened the pleats, which turned the mask into a small “bowl” shape or half dome and put the mask on. I had to adjust one of the strings around my ear for a better fit, and I was finished.

I like this mask. It takes very little time to make, is disposable, should provide adquate coverage and protection. I read that some are recommending Tyvek, the white plastic they use now to sheathe houses before installing the final siding, as a filter. The furnace filter does feel like Tyvek, but I have no idea about relative effectiveness.

In fact, since I have no way of testing, I have no idea how effective my new mask is going to be. There are no guarantees.

But it fits, is easy to wear, cheap and disposable, and I’m going to leave the N-95 masks for health care workers, cops, grocery story clerks, post office employees and delivery people — those who make “shelter in place” possible for the rest of us.

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About Erik Dolson

Erik Dolson is a writer living in Oregon

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