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How to Make a Face Mask

 
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r ranson wrote:

I think if we can get people to understand masks aren't a substitution for social distancing and handwashing, the media might be on to something.  Homemade masks might make a big difference to reducing the spread.  But there is a genuine concern that saying this will take supplies away from those who need it most.

Which is why just as we're encouraging people to plant a garden, encouraging people to sew enough masks for family and friends will got a long way to helping with this problem.

Hmmm... Could we set up a PEP badge bit for this one? On the fly?

I may try to sew some of those folded ones today and see if I can use old sock strips as the "elastic". For many people that would be good enough - some people need something that fits better than that (like me) but many people seem to do fine with the folded ones.
 
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I sent an email off to some people about making it a PEP bb
 
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No need to sew, if that's not one of your skills.  Check out this video, in which Jeremy Howard explains why my mask protects you and your mask protects me, and how to make a mask from a t-shirt and paper towel, using a sizzors:



Check out this inspiring video and the file of links to understand why the universal use of masks is very effective, and has the possibility of flattening the curve while allowing some degree of economic activity:



https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HLrm0pqBN_5bdyysOeoOBX4pt4oFDBhsC_jpblXpNtQ/preview#heading=h.9yzpxufkt5ow
 
r ranson
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Here's a bit about homemade maks by the British Columbian Health Officer.



I think it is a really good overview of the risks and benefits of homemade masks

She talks specifically about materials needing to be easy to breathe through and wash regularly.
Staff note (Roberto pokachinni) :

I understand that cotton is best for its washability and breathability. Wash in hot water with detergent.

 
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This just arrived in my inbox
https://www.statnews.com/2020/04/02/coronavirus-cloth-masks-recommendation/?utm_source=STAT+Newsletters&utm_campaign=b5390d2883-breaking_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8cab1d7961-b5390d2883-149932941

White House expected to recommend all Americans wear cloth masks to prevent coronavirus spread


They note it is not final and that the guidelines are expected to stress leaving N95s for the professionals and using cloth masks to protect others in public.
 
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Yup, Mayor de Blasio recommended some kind of facial barrier today, but it doesn't sound like an official City guideline / requirements ... yet.

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2020/04/02/nyc-mayor-de-blasio-urges-new-yorkers-to-cover-face-with-scarves-or-bandanas.html
 
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Finally the authorities are telling us to wear masks!
Before too long, perhaps, they will also recommend gloves. I still see some folks in the supermarket 'feeling' the produce to judge its ripeness. These seem to be *also* the folks who don't care to mask, by the way.
Think of the glove as another skin, which you can wash as frequently as your own hands when you enter a new store or get back to your loved ones. A small container with a little towelette and rubbing alcohol is nice: You can wash your gloves when you get back in your car.
It is just another layer between you and Covid 19 and infected folks. Think of all the things you touch in a day that could be infected. and the alcohol is in case you don't have the skill to turn the glove inside out without touching the outside of the glove, which can be just as contaminated as our hands. It is certainly less of an imposition as the mask, but botyh should be used, besides social distancing.
It is just good old common sense, folks.
 
r ranson
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been sewing today
mask-small.JPG
[Thumbnail for mask-small.JPG]
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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r ranson wrote:been sewing today




Kitchen towel? Lint-free? It looks great. I wish I still had my sewing machine.
 
Tereza Okava
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Question from the fool in the room.
Tea towel? What exactly is a tea towel, and what makes it so good for this application? I have some kitchen towels that are definitely quite loose weave, like I wouldn't be able to use them to strain small seeds for sprouts, for example.
I assume this is a cultural thing, as here (where 100% cotton is not easy to find, forget about a nice thick one) the orientation is to use either nonwoven fabric (the stuff used to make surgical drapes and gowns) or "whatever woven fabric you have" (read: poly/cotton blend, like the type people use for quilting) together with a coffee filter. A lot of people are using old clothes.
 
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Tea towels (often called dish towels) are usually 100% cotton, linen or a blend of the two.  That makes for fast drying and good moisture wicking.  Synthetic towels don't pull the water off the dish and need to have extra fancy weave structure to make work.

They are usually a plain weave so they are strong and durable for this kind of application - and cheap to make.  The weave often starts out loose but with many washes in hot water, the holes close up quickly.  An old tea towel can be used to boil pudding or hold water in or out for short periods of time.  

I wouldn't want to use anything synthetic on a reuseable face mask.  The individual fibres break down - especially with frequent washing in extra-hot or sanitize cycle - and can irritate and cause inflammation in the lungs.

I'm also worried about nonwoven fabric for reusable facemasks.  Woven cloth traps the individual fibres inside the cloth, but the nonwoven fabric has to stick together somehow.  What 'glue' is it?  Is it safe to breathe this glue?  being next to the skin heats the mask, and medical masks have safety tests to know that the glue is safe to breathe.  But then, washing the nonwoven cloth breaks down the glue and fibres, which changes how they interact with the human body.  
 
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Thanks, R.

Washing in hot water is also not a thing here (most people don't have hot water in their houses. Shower water is heated on an electric device right on the shower head itself). Then again, I can dry my mask in the hot sun. Some things just don't move well from culture to culture.

(The suggestion I read on an official site this morning was to make your mask from plastic produce bags and a coffee filter. I will be using cotton blend quilting fabric, as my concern is for protecting other people rather than myself and that is what I have)
Staff note (Julia Winter) :

If you wash in cold water, with soap or detergent, you're probably good. If you can expose it to 70C (160F) for half an hour, that sterilizes it.

 
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Tailor's been busy. The nurses and people working with people don't need these selfmade ones anymore, a shipment of proper masks came in from China for France.
In Holland still nobody has them, it's an outrage .
masks.png
[Thumbnail for masks.png]
 
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Wool is antimicrobial, right? I wonder if a well-felted wool layer would be good. You'd want it felted so it doesn't lose shape in the wash. Would it be too hard breath through, though?
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Wool is antimicrobial, right? I wonder if a well-felted wool layer would be good. You'd want it felted so it doesn't lose shape in the wash. Would it be too hard breath through, though?


I can't see how wool, felted or not, could filter invisible particles. On the other hand, it would be much easier to breathe through than a bra cup, which I've heard being used. ☺
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Wool is antimicrobial, right? I wonder if a well-felted wool layer would be good. You'd want it felted so it doesn't lose shape in the wash. Would it be too hard breath through, though?



Will antimicrobial wool stop a virus? Depending on the thickness of the materials, it should be fine to breathe through but what should folks use to sanitize such a mask? Hot water is probably out: It might shrink the wool. Hydrogen peroxide? Rubbing alcohol?
Having 2 layers of different weaves would definitely be helpful though.
 
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The resource from Stanford (on the potato phone, don't have it at hand but it was posted up thread) compared cleaning methods and it looked like alcohol and bleach soaks were not effective, but that 10 minutes of steaming was.
 
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NBC had an articl on fabrics to make masks : https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/making-your-own-face-mask-some-fabrics-work-better-others-n1175966.

-----

"The best masks were constructed of two layers of heavyweight "quilters cotton" with a thread count of at least 180, and had thicker and tighter weave.

Coronavirus mask guidance remains unclear. Here's how history can help.
Lesser quality fabrics also worked well, as long as they had an internal layer of flannel.

"You do want to use a woven fabric, like batik," Segal said, "but you don't want to use a knit fabric, because the holes between the knit stitches are bigger."

In other words, if the fabric allows for a substantial amount of light to shine through, it's probably going to allow tiny viral particles through, as well."

-----

I'm holding up my wool felt, and it's hard to see light through. Maybe wool sandwiched between two layers of quilters cotton would be good?

https://www.meoair.com in New Zealand says that "Our mask’s distinctive shape and unique wool filter reduces the build-up of moisture and heat which is common with other masks. The filters have extended particle capture ability, resulting in superior performance."

 
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The only thing I can add was one suggestion that made sense to me.  The suggestion was to make the mask out of two different fabrics, so it's easy to tell the inside from the outside.  
 
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The Canadian CDC (and here) is warming to the idea of members of the general population wearing homemade facemasks.  Not as protection for the wearer, but to pretect against the asymptomatic spread in the population.  They promise more advise soon, but for now they have these suggestions for making and using masks at home.

  • Wearing a non-medical mask is an additional measure you can take to protect others around you.
  • Too much or the wrong material can be difficult to breathe through and can prevent you from getting the required amount of oxygen needed by your body
  • you must wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (in addition to practising good hand hygiene while wearing it)
  • cloth masks need to be laundered with other items using a hot or sterilize cycle and dried thoroughly - and need to be a material like cotton that won't degrade in these conditions
  •  
    Jay Angler
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    I've seen a number of sites trying to tell people that a certain design or material is the best. The best mask is the one that fits you and is comfortable, because one that doesn't will defeat the purpose! I'm probably more aware of this than many as I'm an outlier - an adult with a very small bone structure. I've tried two homemade mask sizes and 3 different strap systems and I'm still not willing to say I'd be able to wear it in public without touching it to readjust as it either rode up and poked me in the eye, or slid down leaving a gap at the nose. The fact that I wear glasses gives issues with moist air escaping beside the nose and fogging up my glasses.

    So as people start to wear masks, I recommend you wear them in the house for everyday activities and if there are issues, be prepared to change the way you wear it until it works. I just spent an hour mowing lawns with mine - it's "yellow pollen season" here, so I'm using it for that also -  and I managed to only mess with it 3-4 times which considering I had to balance it with safety glasses and over the ear hearing protectors I find encouraging, although I was sure glad when I finished.
     
    r ranson
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    motherearth tutorial for how to make a cotton mask


    it looks like the simplest one yet, but quite comfy.
     
    Tereza Okava
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    I assume "sewing masks" involves "learning from my mask mistakes" and "mask follies".
    Hopefully this helps someone not waste their time and raw materials.

    The mask pattern I thought was ideal (for not using ear straps) turned out to be WAY too narrow, to the point of being totally useless.
    The fabric started as 8 inches up and 10 across, but the final mask was under 7 inches across after seaming together and then a double foldover on each side to get the string in the channel (these are tie masks, not over-the-ear). I suppose I might have been too generous with my margins.
    (this was the pattern I used, btw.)


    My project for this weekend is to take the prototypes of this mask that I made and see if I can undo the seams and maybe pleat them and convert them into over-the-ear ones.
    For a variety of reasons I wanted masks with a tie instead of ear loops, but it is looking like I may be the only person who cares about that (I am the only person in our small mask population who wears glasses full-time....). Hopefully the next installment will include better results!

    (random squash is not affiliated with mask efforts.)
    2020-04-13.jpg
    prototype masks with straps
    prototype masks with straps
     
    Jay Angler
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    I'm hoping these pictures will help anyone trying to sew the pleated masks. I wanted two different fabrics, and some places recommended flannel, and many recommended cotton, so I used cotton as the outside and flannel on the inside (flannel is just fuzzy cotton).
    First I cut a square of each fabric 8" by 7 1/2" and pinned them right sides together along the 8" edges.

    I stitched a 1/4" seam, turned it right-side out and pressed the seams.
    Then I sewed a tiny pocket to hold a piece of wire. The wire was inside while I stitched, so the pocket had to be a little over-sized so I didn't accidentally hit the wire with the needle.
    I marked the pleats from the lower edge on the inside of the mask. I wanted the pleats to face downwards when wearing the mask. I pressed the pleats one at a time and then pinned them.

    Now for each mask I cut two strips 2" wide by about 6" long to make the casing. These strips do not have to be the same colour as the mask, but they will show so it would look nicer if they went. These strips don't really have to be cotton though, as you won't be breathing through them. Put the right side of the strip against the outside side of the mask, with about 1/2 an inch sticking out to tuck under to the inside on one side - pin. Then as you tuck under the second side, trim the strip so it also tucks around to the inside by about 1/2". The strips won't be exactly the same finished length as if your pleats are a bit larger or smaller, it will change the length of strip you need. Stitch a 1/4" seam, fold the strip out from the mask, press the second edge as shown with a narrow fold, then fold it over to make the casing for the string and stitch.

    I used an old soldering iron to cut some thin "rope" into suitable lengths. Because I need a little "stretch" to keep the mask from slipping and I had no elastic, I used a "hair elastic" and stitched a little loop in the end of two of the pieces of string with the elastic in between. The elastic is hidden inside the casing during use.

    I have found this mask to be quite comfortable and I'm able to work around the property with it on. One of our egg customers asked me to sew two for her and she's been very pleased with hers, and now I'm making 2 for her neighbor. I made similar ones for Hubby, but he has a beard, so I used 8 1/2" instead of 7 1/2" in the direction that the pleats go so that it would be large enough.
    If anyone has questions, I'll try to explain it further.
    HUGE thanks to Pearl Sutton for helping me re-size the pictures so that people with less bandwidth would be able to upload this post!  
     
    r ranson
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    Here's some great advice from etsy for those making masks to sell online: https://www.etsy.com/ca/seller-handbook/article/tips-for-selling-handmade-masks-and-face/788845527234

     
    Tereza Okava
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    So, mask update. I did add the side casing as Jay describes above. The masks were definitely big enough. I made one pleated and one without the pleats (the drawstring gathers the mask at the sides).
    I also added the nose wire (found some jewelry-grade wire in my craft box).
    We did decide that unless you are wearing a ponytail or a baseball cap or something, the strings simply do not stay put- they slide up and down. I really liked the tie design but it isn't working.
    So the next step will be to go buy some elastic and turn most of these masks into ear-strap ones. I thought I had a lot of elastic, and I do, but it's all waistband-sized!!! Luckily we have a new sewing supply place and it seems to be doing a booming business in mask making supplies.... will post pics once I have a good final product to show.
     
    Jay Angler
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    Tereza Okava wrote:

    We did decide that unless you are wearing a ponytail or a baseball cap or something, the strings simply do not stay put- they slide up and down. I really liked the tie design but it isn't working.

    It's amazing how "slippery" hair can be! I really think that tie systems that go around the head/neck benefit from some sort of stretchy material as part of the attachment. I hope you find some 1/4" elastic. If you can't, finding something with lots of friction that you can slide over the strings - off the top of my head I'm thinking of a strip of that anti-slip drawer liner stuff - that you put a few holes in and weave the string in and out of the holes to give the string more surface area and more friction just in the area you need it. if the elastic over the ears works, that will certainly be easy, but you may have to fit the elastic to the specific head, not just do the "one size fits all" that the instructions say, if it needs to be comfortable for hours at a time.

    Also, for Hubby who never had to tie an apron behind his neck, we grabbed a salvaged spring button gizmo that are used to adjust strings on coats (hoods particularly often have them). His string is one continuous loop from one side casing, behind his neck, through the other casing and the two ends go through the spring button so he can adjust the tightness really easily.
     
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    I saw a the medical surgeon of USA show a folded T-shirt, and two rubber bands.
     
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    Finally found the most comfortable mask, made locally by a mother/daughter team.

    First, sorry, but the fitted masks are soooo much more comfortable than the pleated masks which soon start to tug and wear on your ears; plus the way they slide, you are always touching your face.

    The key to fogless glasses with the fitted, or cup shaped mask is a generous "nose peak" that is both high enough and just a tad loose. Place the nose pads of the glasses ON the sides of the nose peak, this creates a chimney effect that sends warm, moist air under the bridge of the glasses.

    Consider skipping the sewing elastic altogether and use rope elastic from the craft store (like the hair elastics with the metal crimp, or sometimes on gifts, or for necklaces). Because only slight tension is required for the fitted mask, the smooth, roundness is really soft on the ears. Cut it to length, tie a knot - if wearer needs it tighter, just add a second or third knot.

    Be flexible with the length of the sides. Ideally the elastic should track equal width apart, from mask to ear to prevent gaping. The older we get the larger the ear, the longer the mask sides should be.

    Remember that this mask will be your new "public face", and will, in part, define who you are. Choose the fabrics wisely to ensure it makes you feel happy, and will provoke the reaction you want in those that you see, talk and interact with. Think of masks like your favorite tie or funky socks. What you wear makes a statement, be sure it is the public definition you want of yourself.  You may want to consider having an internal pattern (guns, palm trees, middle finger...) to be your "private statement"; perhaps yellow happy faces, or some such friendly G-rated fabric on the outside? Your kid loves Pikachu, baseball, horses? Compliance is key here, pick a fabric they will love, no one who idolizes Superman will squawk at wearing a mask with his iconic shield with an "S".
     
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    My spectacular mother has been sewing masks. She started with the pleated style with much grumbling about how annoying they are to sew. I asked her to make some of the fitted style Craft passion pattern masks shown earlier in this thread. She has been making masks with old pillow case fabric against the skin and thick scrap flannel outside.


    She says the craft passion masks are more difficult but also more satisfying to sew than the pleated style, as they look better when they are done. She has modified the pattern to attach a nose piece under a piece of twill tape, as she thought their pattern was too fiddly. I like them much better for fit as they dont ride up and stab me under the eyes.

    She did make a larger -than-pattern sized pair for my father (when you start sewing masks for your ex husband,  that's when you know you are worried about the pandemic) as the men's size is the right size for my wide Eastern European face, and would be too small for him.

    The most comfortable and easiest straps so far are the Craft passion suggested tshirt yarn ones. Enough elasticity to stay on, easy to sew, and very adjustable. Ribbon slides, cloth straps aren't tight enough, elastic hurts. I like how it slides through the casing and you only need to tie one bow. And that all you need to do is tear a strip off an old tshirt and BAM! Strap is made.



    So far she has sewn 6 craft passion style masks, and 6 pleated masks.
     
    Jay Angler
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    Catie George wrote:

    My spectacular mother has been sewing masks. She started with the pleated style with much grumbling about how annoying they are to sew. I asked her to make some of the fitted style Craft passion pattern masks shown earlier in this thread.

    Please tell your mother I think she's spectacular also! I think it's really good to have a variety of sizes and shapes. The fitted masks are comfy, but can be more claustrophobic. The size and shape of the individual's face can affect the fit of either style of mask, so having a variety of sizes and styles for people to try is really worth it. I admit that when I sewed my fitted mask, I altered the instructions to make that nose piece a little easier also! That said, several people I've spoken with or written to have said that they find the nose wire *really* helpful. I suspect that how important it is partly depends on the shape of the nose. As I said earlier, the *best* mask is one that fits you and is comfy - we're all different - vive la difference!
     
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    I have been making the fitted type mask, and even though it takes longer, I think it is easier.  I added an inch to the center of the pattern for my guys.  Some like elastic, and some ties.  My daughter who has to wear hers all day had me make a small strap for the back.  It is about 5" long, and 1 1/2 to 2"wide.  There is a button in the center at each end.  You hook the elastic on the buttons so it doesn't have to be on your ears.   It makes it more comfortable to wear.  
    I just made my friend a few different styles with a single thickness of fabric, so I had to rework the pattern a bit.  She gets super hot, and starts to feel a bit sick, so I am hoping the single thickness of fabric will make it easier to wear.  I know it won't be as safe, but something is better than nothing.
     
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    A possible solution to the tender ears? These videos are on knitting & crocheting, but I see no reason buttons couldn't be sewn onto any other headband - especially if you have one that stays put. I also have very fine, slippery hair, so the only headbands that stay put for me are the hard ones - which give me wicked headaches - or the ones with silicone or latex applied on the inside. If you have some that you can apply, yourself, this might help:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?utm_content=If+You%27re+Looking+For+Something+New...&_bta_c=cn4881v6952a2yl1r3pokw4pzsibl&_bta_tid=42326271165476385204070966130678775251251357836074645743513898277339696402390469737955697567795244741892&v=T3VBajtM49c&utm_campaign=NPA%3A+April+22%2C+2020&utm_source=bronto&utm_term=knit+headband&utm_medium=email&feature=youtu.be

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?utm_content=If+You%27re+Looking+For+Something+New...&v=4pdsikWA7XE&utm_campaign=NPA%3A+April+22%2C+2020&_bta_c=hvx99grhh24a6hlc4d3xpbgn5xrlr&utm_medium=email&utm_source=bronto&feature=youtu.be&_bta_tid=25506302275476385204070966130678775251251357836074645743513898277339696402390779222965518912863969522948&utm_term=crochet+headband
     
    Jen Fulkerson
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    I also have very fine hair.  I use small hair clips instead of Barrets, I was going to give my friend one thinking it may help keep the tie in place.
     
    Lorinne Anderson
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    My hubby in his "fitted" mask. Someone local here makes them, and we couldn't be more grateful.
    Mask.jpg
    [Thumbnail for Mask.jpg]
     
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    My problem is "sensory issues" related to autism. What does that mean? For me, they mean that washing my face is an ordeal, because I can feel the soap on my face. I have little mini-meltdowns every time I wash my face. It means that I stay clean shaven, because the feeling of stubble would distract me constantly all day long. But it also means that I shave "dry," with just water, because the feeling of shave gel or shave cream is more meltdown-inducing than soap. If you can begin to comprehend this, then you can begin to comprehend why I have been resistant to wearing a face mask.

    Now, when I posted about this on Facebook today, several of my friends replied suggesting ideas for a mask that provides protection without touching my face. If I can get or make one of those, I can do this.
     
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