Re: WHICH paraffin wax

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To:Jim Almond <>
Date:Mon, 17 May 1999 20:16:51 GMT0BST
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I've said this many times before; extensive testing has convinced me 
that there is very little difference between the waxes on the market 
for histology.
We use plain, pure paraffin wax (which we happen to buy from Raymond 
A Lamb).  You just need to be assured that the melting point (so 
called) is (roughly) what it purports to be and that the wax is 
"clean".  We use it for routine including teeth and other decalcified 
tissue, FNAs and anything else.
I did have a passion for b-terpene enhanced wax (Hercules Chemical Co 
- piccolyte), which was once marketed by a us supplier (Surgipath, I 
believe) and an told Hercules has stopped producing that.  There are 
a variety of other beta-terpenes that can be used and my strong hunch 
is that Colophonium resin (as recently featured on these pages) would 
Only problem with the  terpene additives is that your floating out 
bath needs to be 10 degrees or so lower.
It certainly enhances the "adhesion" between the tissue and wax block 
following embedding.
However, all of that counts for nothing, as, microtomy and 
microtomists being what they are, favourite waxes will always cut 
better, thinner, quicker sections on a blade that lasts twice as 
Be interested to know the outcome of your survey.
Best wishes
ps.  I "used" to have a passion for many things once!!!
Russ Allison, Wales

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