[Histonet] Plastic sectioning basics

From:Jorge Tornero

Hello, I am a newby in the histology business and working with anchovy
gonads in the daily egg production method. We have to cut the gonads
at 3 micron thick, so we use technovit 7100 resin for the blocks. We
have a leica rm2145 microtome equipped with a tungsten-carbide knife.

Until now, all my little knowledge about histotechnique has been
adquired with the experience and with the old trial-and-error method,
but I would like to ask you about severals aspects of the work.

What's the correct angle for cutting this kind of plastic?
How should be the maximum witdh of the block to be cutted? 
What's the "life expectance" of the edge of a tungsten-carbide knife
when cutting resin?
I think I've read something about lubricating the cut with water to
ease the cut, but I have experienced that even when in some cases I
have got some moisture over the knife, the contact of the slice with
the moisture ruins it. But also I have experienced that a little
breathing over the block just before the cut eases it and prevents
from rolling.

I would like to know about good books in spanish or in english about
these particulars, but unhappily i do not have good access to
libraries and this stuff, but anyway i'd appreciate comments about it.

I have a lot more of questions to ask you, but i think it is enough
now. Thank you very much and excuses for my bad english

Jorge Tornero
IEO - Cádiz

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