Hand Microtome

Operating Instructions

  1. Safety: When melting wax and sectioning tissue, students should be supervised by a knowleable, trained instructor. Students should wear protective gloves of heavyweight cotton Kelnit, safety goggles, and aprons or smocks when handling melted wax.
  2. Prepare a section of material to be cut, approximately 1" long and 1/4" diameter.
  3. Melt the paraffin granules in a waterbath of approximately 52OC (126OF). Caution: Do not overheat? Overheated wax will produce smoke and will catch fire.
  4. Place the section in the microtome so that a small portion protrudes from the top.
  5. Carefully pour the melted wax onto the specimen, filling the space around the section with melted wax (see Figure 1). Caution: Avoid contact with skin; melted wax can cause second- and third-degree burns.
  6. Let wax cool; do not move specimen while wax solidifies.
  7. Using a safety razor, shave the protruding section until it is flush with the top of the microtome (see Figure 2). Safety: Always move the razor blade away from you.
  8. Twist the threaded bolt slightly so the section rises to just above the top of the microtome.
  9. Shave as thin a specimen as possible from the section. Note: To obtain a suitable specimen, you may need to practice this technique a number of times.
  10. Using a pipette, apply a drop of water to the center of a clean microscope slide. Using fine-tip forceps, place the thin section on top of the water; the water will help flatten the thin section.