GMA Block Trimming

From:"Macke, Gail" <>

Dear Histonetters,
      I need help with my GMA block trimming ( please excuse typing as I
trimmed 2 of my fingers a little bit, the tips of them). Currently I have a
holder for my block and I set it in the holder and trim the excess off to a
point for cutting on a rotary microtome at 2 microns. I usually use glass
knives for research and now some times use a diamond knife for the clinical
skin graft biopsies I do. Most of my blocks are 2x15x5mm and I use 6x12x5mm
for the punch biopsies I get back from grafting sites, as they do not fit in
the other molds. The Occupational Health Nurse wants me to find another way
of trimming my blocks. I use a razor to trim them now. I have cut myself one
other time when  I hit an air bubble. I have been doing GmA's since July of
1996.  This is how I was shown and the only other way I know about; I've
read about.  It is to use is a fine saw.  In reading ,I read that the dust
is very bad for you. Is this correct?  My work load of blocks since starting
is as follows 1996-- 100 blocks, 1997--580 blocks, 1998---980 blocks,
1999--1300 blocks, 2000---915 ( my processor broke down in November), and so
far 2001 I have 610 blocks. I have look at Kevlar gloves but I don't know
that I can hold a razor blade and the block stable in the holder with such
bulky gloves. Are there any non-bulky Kevlar gloves?  What ways do any of
you trim your blocks. Should I stop trimming the 2x15x5mm and just let there
be whatever vibrations there are upon hitting the glass knife and let it
travel thru the whole block?  I still need to trim down the 6x12x5mm to fit
my glass knife as it  isn't that big. I have tried sawing in the pass once
before and remember the dust being very fine and all over everything and
hard to cleanup. As I am the only one in this lab I have no one else to ask,
so I thought you might be able to help with some ideas.
  If you have any questions, please let me know. Thank you for any help you
can give me.
       Gail Macke,HTL
        Shriners Hospital for Children: Shriners Burns Hospital--Cincinnati,
Ohio, USA

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