[Histonet] RE: microtome cleaning

Osborn, Sharon sharon.osborn <@t> dnax.org
Thu Dec 1 16:53:35 CST 2005

Years ago, when I worked in a lab that used the Leica 1512, we were required
to clean the knife holder every day.  The microtomes were shared, but they
decided to purchase a separate knife holder for each tech.  We did as your
tech is doing, take the knife holder apart at the end or our cutting shift
and cleaned it. We also had to lubricate it.  There is a technic to doing it
properly and handling the springs properly for repositioning to ensure it
goes back together.  We also had ball bearings we had to clean and replace
properly.  It seemed that pieces of paraffin or tissue would get inside and
could create a problem.  Because of the cleaning requirement (don't remember
if required by the lab or suggested by Leica) and techs who wanted their own
knifeholder because they did not trust others to clean theirs the correct
way, etc., the supr decided to purchase a knife holder for each tech and
have them responsible for their own.  Oh, you did not dare use anothers
knife holder, even to cut one or two blocks!  
	So, did the tech come from a lab that had requirement to clean every
day? If so, these technics sometimes die hard for the tech may have been
given reasons it was required daily; therefore the reframing as to why it is
not now necessary needs to replace the old habit.  Or, is this something the
tech feels important?  Have you talked with the tech about their reasoning
for doing the process?  Gayle Callis has the best suggestion; ask the
manufacturer what they recommend;--ask Jan Minshew at Leica in Chicago since
she is their expert histotech.  Then do an inservice (with a rep or other
qualified person) with the SOP you write about the proper maintenance for
the instrument.  And,then you can require everyone to comply with the SOP.

Sharon Osborn
Palo Alto, CA

Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 11:52 AM
To: Histonet
Subject: [Histonet] Microtomy

This is a question for those techs who cut on a manual Reichert-Jung
  I have one tech who insists on completely taking apart her knife
holder everyday to clean it.  She removes the springs and all.  This
person is also the only tech who has trouble cutting and is constantly
having to recut a specimen or nearly cutting through needle biopsies.
  I maintain that handling the knife holder spring so much causes the
problems (knife won't clamp tight evenly, chatter and skipping).  The
other techs, including myself only dismantle and clean the knife holder
about once a month.  We have had to purchase new spring and bolts for
this microtome about every 6 months, whereas the other microtomes have
never had to be replaced.  How do I go about telling this person to quit
cleaning so much.
  I have had the knife holder and microtome serviced to make sure there
is nothing else wrong.  I have cut on that machine and find it cuts
beautifully as long as you don't take it apart after every 10 blocks to
clean behind the blade.
  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated,
  Cindy DuBois
  Integrated Pathology Assoc.
  Stockton CA

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