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Microtome Knife Use and Care

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INSTRUCTIONS

USE AND CARE OF YOUR MICROTOME KNIFE

BEFORE USING YOUR MICROTOME KNIFE

A. Your microtome knife has been coated with an oil mixture to prevent rust and corrosion when not in use.

B. Before using your knife, take a lint-free facial tissue saturated in either zylene, benzene or acetone to remove the protective oil coating on the knife.

C. Use a dry, lint-free, facial tissue to wipe your knife clean. DO NOT USE GAUZE or any other coarse material; it will destroy the edge of your knife.

D. Your knife has already been stropped and is now ready for immediate use.

CARING FOR YOUR MICROTOME KNIFE

A. Keep the edge of your knife clean at all times.

B. Spray or brush any household oil on your knife to prevent rust when not in use.

C. Store your knife in its case to prevent oxidation from occurring.

D. If you are using a lab sharpener, periodically send your knife out to be professionally reconditioned.

1. Extremely wide facets result from the continuous use of a lab sharpener. The optimum bevel angle becomes distorted as a result of the facet changes. This diminishes your cutting performance.

2. Double facets may develop on your knife’s edge, creating distorted sections.

HINTS FOR USING YOUR MICROTOME KNIFE

A. To maximize the sharpness of your knife’s edge, use an old knife to trim your first block, or use the extreme end of your new or reconditioned knife.

B. Continuously remove the paraffin, or other embedding medium, on the front and back of your knife to maximize your cutting performance.

C. Depending on the texture of the tissue you have been cutting, you may be able to use the other side of your knife for extended use.

D. Setting your knife at the proper clearance angle will obviously not only enhance your output but it will also extend the life of your knife’s edge.

E. Maintain a sharp edge on your knife. Even the most highly skilled technologists cannot overcome the handicaps created from using a dull or bruised knife.

F. Based on the facet / bevel angle created in our reconditioning process, we recommend a clearance angle between 6 and 8 degrees.

G. When your knife is reaching its dimensional maturity, i.e., the width of the knife’s surface is less than 7/8 of an inch, proper knife stability is difficult to achieve in the holder. Placing a hexagonal pencil at the base of the knife within the holder will act as a filler and provides it with the support required.

 

MICROTOMY IS AN ART ENHANCED BY:

  • Skilled Technologists
  • Well Maintained Microtomes
  • Sharp, Quality, Microtome Knives
  • Properly Prepared Materials
  • Excellent Procedures

Download Microtome Knife Use and Care (trouble-shooting guide) PDF