by Gary LeClerc
As we approach Thanksgiving of 2022, I wanted to share a snapshot of my story. First of all, my name is Gary and I am the founder and owner of Stripwell. I am the husband of my beautiful wife, Lisa, and father to my 6 year old daughter, Via and 5 year old son, Lucas. Via and Lucas are adopted and many times adoption is presented as “changing the lives of children,” but I will say that I would not be who I am today if it were not for the two of them. Lucas and Via may not be blood, but they are so much more and are 100% my children and will be forever. They make me so proud. They are filled with such beautiful energy and vibrancy.
So, with that being said, let me tell you a little more about myself. To start, we need to go all the way back to the 1980’s. Who loves the 80’s? Who’s trying to forget the 80’s? Anyway, back in 1986, the song “Walk Like an Egyptian” by The Bangles was one of the longest running number one singles of that year, and the original Top Gun movie hit theaters. Also in 1986, my dad made a change that profoundly impacted my life and the future of our family. In order to spend more time around my mom, my older sister, my older brother and quite possibly even me, he decided to take a big risk. He left his career in the aerospace industry working on jet engines and started a furniture refinishing and restoration business in the garage of our home in Cheshire, Connecticut.
Sometimes, I feel like a walking paradox.
On the one hand - I really, really care about the environment around me. It’s my personal belief and conviction that the world around us was created so that we could both enjoy and take care of our planet and the living things that inhabit our world. I also believe that there are big changes that can be made to help ensure the longevity of the planet for our children and for future generations.
On the other hand, I really, really love cars. That’s right — gas guzzling, fast, rip-roar-those-tires-’til-they-smoke kind of cars. I was the kid with posters of Lamborghinis and Ferraris on my wall who watched Top Gear all day long. (Now as an adult with three kids, I keep those limited to my phone wallpaper because my wife says it doesn’t go with our home’s aesthetic).
The paradoxical problem here is obvious — the gas guzzling cars are terrible for the environment that I’m passionate about protecting.
Enter my fascination with electric cars. My chagrin for California gas prices aside, I am in awe of the meteoric rise in the popularity of the electric car market. They’re far from perfect in regards to environmental impact, but they do make a world of difference compared to the gasoline-fueled vehicles that we drive today.
However, there is one problem: electric cars in their current state are relatively expensive. A new Toyota Camry will cost you in the neighborhood of $28,000, while a Tesla Model 3 will put you in the hole for about $39,000.
So why am I the proud owner of a Tesla Model 3?
Because for me, there is something so much more important to life than a price tag.
As someone who wants to leave the world a better place than I found it for my kids, in most areas of my life, I’m much more concerned with the cost than I am with the price of something.
Cost vs. Price
Very simply, the definitions of price and cost are as follows:
Welcome to QCS!
You did it! You just unboxed our flagship product - QCS! You made the bold choice of choosing your health and well-being over the status quo. You are an early adopter and we are so grateful that you are! We also believe that you will not regret your decision! QCS was born out of 35+ years of furniture restoration which led to the question that begins most journeys toward innovation - “Why?” In our case, we asked why are we using such hazardous products? That is where it began.
QCS was developed to keep YOU safe as you remove paint and finish from your projects. This can be a tedious and often hazardous task that many try to avoid, but our goal is to make stripping a safe experience for all.
When we set out to develop QCS for the furniture refinishing and restoration industry we had two primary goals.
First, QCS had to be super safe for everyone and the environment we all share. Second, QCS had to work really well. It needed to be both safe and effective. Does QCS work a bit differently? Yes it does...but it works and it won’t kill you while it does. The secret ingredient to QCS is patience. Let QCS work for you while you do other things. Your time and your health cost a lot more than QCS does.
QCS stands for QUICK, CLEAN and SAFE and QCS is all of those things. It is non-flammable, biodegradable, nearly completely non-toxic and contains no carcinogens. It was developed for furniture refinishing and restoration professionals, but is safe for everyone!
So, thank you for valuing what we value at Stripwell and giving QCS the opportunity to prove itself to you. We believe that if you care about starting your projects safely and effectively, then QCS is going to become your go to finish remover.
Your Stripwell Team
For the best possible results please read the following instructions.
For application, we recommend spraying QCS on, but you can also apply with a brush or pad.
ONE: Apply a light and even tack coat of QCS (not too heavy) over the entire surface you wish to strip and wait 15 minutes.
TWO: After 15 minutes, apply a second even coat of QCS over the entire surface. This coat should be heavier. Wait 15 to 30 minutes.
THREE: Check the results. If the coating is loose and gummy and feels ready to release from the surface, you can move forward to step FOUR. If it is still clinging, coat the surface again and continue to recoat every 15 minutes until the finish feels ready to come off. NOTE: You can walk away from your project and QCS will not stain the wood like other products, but if you let QCS sit for too long, you may need to use more product than necessary to “reactivate” it.
BE PATIENT AND LET QCS WORK FOR YOU.
Your time and health cost more than QCS does, so just let QCS work and enjoy life a little bit more or just work on another project while you wait.
FOUR: Once the coating is showing signs of letting go, begin to remove the coating with a putty knife, scraper or blade on flat areas. Use a toothbrush or wire brush with softer brass bristles for cleaning the details. Finally, use a 0 - 0000 grade steel wool to scrub the entire item being stripped. VERY IMPORTANT: be sure to pour some QCS into a small container and dip your steel wool as you scrub OR spray QCS onto your steel wool pad. You DO NOT want to scrub the surface with a dry piece of steel wool. You will cuss and become quite angry. Always scrub wet.
FIVE: Once you have scrubbed all of the surfaces thoroughly, wipe off all of the residue with paper towels. These will not become a fire hazard because QCS is non-flammable.
BONUS STEP: If you are stripping paint off of a piece and the paint is still in the grain of the wood after you wipe off the surface, apply some fresh QCS to the surface and allow 15 - 30 minutes for it to weaken the remaining paint. Then use a wire brush with softer brass bristles and scrub in the direction of the grain periodically dipping the brush into QCS. Then repeat step five.
SIX: Apply some clean QCS to a cloth or paper towel and wipe down all surfaces. QCS is also your after wash and replaces the need to use mineral spirits, acetone or alcohol.
SEVEN: This step is optional. Rinse or wipe down your project with water. This is not fully necessary, but in some cases it will help to capture the remaining residue. Wipe dry.
EIGHT: If necessary, spot treat any areas that you may have missed by applying some more QCS and repeating the previous steps.
Frequently Asked Questions
By: Tim Holt
My first experience with "disposable furniture” came when I was first married to my wife in 2015. We had just moved to Chicago and had rented a cheap studio apartment as our first home together.
When it came to furnishing our apartment, we immediately drove to the cheapest furniture store we could find: IKEA. We picked up the cheapest version of a bed, couch, and coffee table we could get there.
We returned home to our little hole-in-the-wall apartment and began the first great test of our marriage: trying to assemble each Ikea piece together. We eventually decided that divorce within the first month of our marriage wasn’t the best option and each worked on separate furniture pieces. After a “short” time, we had an apartment full of furniture!
Sadly, at the end of our stay there, each piece was falling apart and had no lasting value. So, we did what nearly every other young couple does with their disposable furniture — we sold what we could and disposed of the rest. It turns out that we weren’t the only ones who had bought into the quick-buy-quick-trash world of disposable furniture.