A Kamloops guitar manufacturer is fielding requests from across North America after posting on Facebook about his willingness to adjust his pick-making machine to produce items for health-care workers.
“We’re making ear savers, which is what people are calling them,” Mike Miltimore, owner of Riversong Guitars, told KTW, describing items designed to prevent hospital masks from rubbing against ears.
“If you’re wearing masks for an extended period of time, it takes all the pressure off your ears and puts it on the back of your head.”
Miltimore said he was struck with the idea while setting up his new production facility, having recently moved from a building on Lorne Street into the basement of his family’s business, Lee’s Music.
The ear savers are made from the material Miltimore uses to produce guitar picks — a five-layer combination of plastic and wood.
“I thought, ‘That’s something I could produce,’” he said.
Some people are using 3D printers to make ear savers, which can take hours. Miltimore said his laser cutter can make one in about 45 seconds.
“At first, I started with a phone call to [CEO] Heidi Coleman at the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation, and I said, ‘I can make these things — is there a need?’” Miltimore said. “She asked me to make her a few and she would take them to the hospital and find out.”
Miltimore said he gave Coleman about 60 pieces and they proved popular.
He promoted the items on social media and has since been inundated with messages from across B.C. and Alberta and as far away as Michigan and Georgia.
“I think it was just all because of Facebook,” he said. “They private message me. It’s a little overwhelming.”
Miltimore said he is making his ear savers for free, sometimes asking the recipient to cover shipping.
“There is so much demand,” he said, noting he is a small business owner. “Last night, I got a request for 4,000. I feel like that’s a little outside of what I can do. I can make 20 ear bands out of this material for free, or $360 worth of guitar picks. I want to help out, but I don’t want to deplete all my materials.”