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Shelf life of Cetol/Epifanes
Wanted to thank everyone for their comments and close the thread with a couple of other tips my research on this found.
Doug''s marbles tip is excellent, and apparently kinda common in the kayak''er community. If stored on board your boat with marbles, you also increase the "agitation factor" to keep the product from settling and/or separating over time. It also discourages the formation of "hard drips" in/on the lids of the can.
Apparently the key to very long storage is simply removing the oxygen in the container; like marbles do. But there are also products like "Finish Preserve", a combination of nitrogen, argon and CO2 which you spray into the top of any paint, stain or varnish can to preserve the contents. The computer cleaning spray "Dust Off" can also be used in the same context. Some people use butane, propane or other flammable gases. Yipes.
Professional varnish/stain folks seem to prefer simply holding their breath and blowing into the can as they cover it with plastic wrap. Then mount the lid over the wrap and store the can upside down - and at an angle. Read of that technique being used to store Cetol and other (like Sasha says) stupidly expensive varnishes for over 5 years without noticeable degradation or skimming.
Epifanes taught me that the best way to store those expensive badger-hair brushes is to leave them suspended in diesel fuel or kerosene. Give them a quick rinse in mineral spirits before and after storage. I imagine it makes for some stinky but well-kept brushes.
Last, seems that the best container for volatile varnish is glass or cans. Some use Ball jars with extra lids (Sasha''s suggestion of wrapping in duct-tape is a good one there too), or small solvent cans (tins) available real cheap over the net at places like woodfinishingsupplies.com and others. Seems that everyone advises to store them upside down and/or tilted on angle.
With a combination of those tips in your pockets I feel reassured that you can safely store stupidly expensive varnishes for a very long time for lots of miserable brightwork days.
Thanks for the help!