By Darryl Carke
I asked Simon what the Stripping Expo is all about and he said, “The Stripping Expo is a DIY paint and varnish stripping exhibition travelling regionally throughout New Zealand.” 
“The purpose of the Stripping Expo is to show Cooper’s stripping any paint or varnish from any surface.” 
Simon says this months Stripping Expos are in the lower North Island. “We have on exhibition some impressive before and after displays, as well as practical one on one demonstrations.” 
Come and meet the family, chat to us about your project, bring along some photos of what you want to strip and we’ll select a similar old piece of paint or varnish to strip with you.” But what Simon really wants you to do is actually bring along your project, no matter how big or small. Bring a Chair, a drawer, unscrew a window sash, a door, a piece of Archtrave or skirting board, even bring your project car or boat and the Cooper’s will really show you what Cooper’s is capable of doing. ”There’s ample parking outside, so impress us with what you bring along”.

 
Lance Cooper showing Murray how to strip a Victorian Villa Door
 
 
 
 
 

By Dave Hare, 
Coopers was started by Simon Cooper in the early 80’s.At that time, Simon was a cabinet maker with a boutique shop in Wellington making and restoring fine furniture. Disillusioned with the standard of current paint strippers and with a flair for chemistry, Simon set about making a stripper that was easy to use and actually worked.
I asked him what on earth possessed him to try and change the norm.
“I was sick of how difficult it was to use the current strippers, and knew sanding was a complete waste of time,” Simon says.
“Why sand when the person who made the item, sanded it in the first place? I was determined to make a product that was easy to use and made sanding obsolete.”
Simon is Kiwi-born and bred and as a dairy farmer’s son he was taught at a young age to work things out, rather than to accept things as they are.
At high school he developed a passion for working with wood and his love of fine furniture began.
Once Simon developed his own stripper, the word got out and today, over 30 years later, Simon’s products and methods are now known as Cooper’s Strip Club; a complete DIY restoration system, family owned and operated, available throughout New Zealand and Australia.
Simon says Cooper’s is different to conventional strippers in so many ways. The main ones being that it will strip any finish from any surface, without the need for sanding, whether the finish is on the inside or outside of your home.
“I am very proud of it and the results it has achieved,” he says.
With Cooper’s having been used on well over 70,000 homes, Simon says anyone can easily strip anything covered in paint or varnish such as furniture, doors and mouldings, or even weatherboards and windows baked by the sun for over 100 years.
I also asked Simon about the current problems related to safe lead removal. Simon says. “Because there is no lead dust created through sanding, or lead vapour generated by heat guns, lead poisoning is no longer a concern”
Simon with his wife Dorri with sons Lance and George will be at the Lower North Island Stripping Expos this month showing the public just how easy stripping can be.
“If you have a project in mind, come and check out how easy stripping can be.”
I say, it sounds like it strips it all then!
“I wouldn’t have made it if it didn’t,” Simon says with a smile.

 
Simon Cooper showing Dave Hare how easy stripping can be

Simon Cooper showing Dave Hare how easy stripping can be

 
 
 

By Simon Cooper
So you’ve inherited some furniture, a chair perhaps and you’ve decided to give it a new lease on life, but how do you do it? 
Most people have tried sanding, a time consuming, dusty, painful experience you probably never want to repeat. 
Maybe you’re thinking of sending it off to the dipper, thinking it will come back ready for a new finish, unfortunately boiling your furniture in a vat of caustic is rarely a good idea. Joint damage and furry grain that needs a lot of sanding is more often the norm than the exception and I know what I’m talking about, I ran a dip stripping bath… not a good experience. 
By this point we might just think it would be easier to send that chair to a ‘Professional’, well the good news is, that isn’t needed, stripping is easy and you can do it yourself.
Why sand when the person who made the chair, sanded it for you? Simply dissolve the old finish with my Stripper then rinse it clean with my Flusher, it really is that easy.
This month my family and I will be in the lower North Island stripping up a storm, so put that chair (or anything else for that matter) in the car and let us show you how!

 
Simon shows Elanor how to strip her windows

Simon shows Elanor how to strip her windows

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A few of the many projects that have come into the Stripping Expos