Washington furniture maker transitions to surgical masks
MUKILTEO, Wash. - A Washington-based upholstered furniture maker has transformed its entire operation around a new product: Surgical masks.
After hearing that COVID-19 is depleting the supplies of many hospitals, Kaas Tailored president Jeff Kaas wanted to help. He contacted the non-profit health care company Providence St. Joseph, who provided him a blueprint for the masks. Kaas notified and prepared his team of 50 employees for their new task.
In two days, Kaas told KOMO News that he and his team have produced more than 5,600 masks and 1,000 face shields. 
Kaas aims to ramp up production even further. Providence St. Joseph, which runs 51 hospitals, estimates that across the U.S. 100 million masks will be needed.
Last week, the White House called on woodworking, carpentry, and other related industry companies to donate their N95 respirator masks to hospitals in an effort to combat the spread of the virus.
"We would make one specific request, and that is: We would urge construction companies to donate their inventory of N95 masks to your local hospital and forego additional orders of those industrial masks," Vice President Pence said.
Kaas told KOMO that with his transition, the future looks bleak for his furniture business. 
“I think we’ll figure that out,” Kaas said.

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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at [email protected].