RE: [Histonet] Standardized Microtomes

From:"Hofecker, Jennifer L"

Ok, I have donned my flame resistant suit... I agree 100% with Amos! I
learned to angle the block when I learned to cut and I have worked in a
few labs where that was "forbidden". It always seemed so silly to me
that instead of taking 0.5 seconds to angle the block and get a perfect
full face of the tissue that I had to spend 15 minutes re-embedding the
block. I actually had to tape the adjustment knobs on my microtome so I
wouldn't "break the rules". One might think that if you angle the block,
how will the next tech be able to "line it up"?  Answer: If everyone
knows how to angle the block, it's not an issue.  One other question: If
we are never supposed to angle the block, why are those little knobs on
the block holder? Why don't microtome manufacturers make them all
"standard" and not adjustable?  I choose to believe that we are highly
skilled individuals and that patient care is best served by us producing
quality work.  I am "pro-angling" all the way!

I know... I know... 
Have a great day everyone!

Jennifer L. Hofecker HT(ASCP)
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Division of Neuropathology
Nashville, TN 
ph 615.343.0083
fax 615.343.7089

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Amos
Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 7:11 PM
Subject: [Histonet] Standardized Microtomes

Hi Nancy,
     We do not do this, because one of the first things one should learn
when learning how to cut is how to change the angle of whatever
you are cutting at. Setting them all to the same angle just makes
how to use those funny little knobs on the top of the block holder
pointless. So when a situation arises theat requires you to change the
no one knows how to do it. The solution, just cut into it and the block
be the same angle, or re-embed the tissue (astonishingly lazy- extra
work to
accomplish nothing) and trim it back to the angle that is on all the
microtomes thereby loosing tissue anyway! A far better solution, teach
to adjust the block holder without loosing tissue (advance slowly)!
    Give a man a fish & he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and
never go hungry.

Just my $0.02
Amos Brooks

Message: 17
Date: Tue, 13 May 2008 11:28:24 -0500
From: Nancy Schmitt 
Subject: [Histonet] Standardized Microtomes
To: "''"
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset="iso-8859-1"

Good Morning to all

Does anybody standardize microtomes so they all cut at same angle?  Is
impossible?  We only cut control blocks on one microtome because they
each at a little  different angle.  Would be nice to be able to do at

Thanks for any feedback

Nancy Schmitt
Histology Coordinator
Dubuque, IA
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