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Sections sticking to tweezers
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Sections sticking to tweezers


Can anyone tell me why my sections are sticking to my tweezers when I try to separate them?

Answer 1.

You may try to turn your water bath down a few degrees and see if this helps and what is the melting point of the paraffin you are using?  Most likely a paraffin/heat situation. If I  run into this issue, a quick fix is I rinse my forceps into the  ice water, wipe, and the sections will not stick.

Ginny Kurth

Answer 2.

Try chilling the tips of the forceps (I usually keep mine on the ice bath) - as long as they are cold, they shouldn't stick to the paraffin.

Taylor C. Rosa, MS
Research Scientist I
Pathology Services | Charles River

Answer 3.

Yes +1 to the chilling of the forceps, especially when you are just starting out. I often kept two pairs - one I was using and the other chilling. Also agree about turning your water bath down a little.


Answer 4.

Forceps have to be cool and dry.   You can cool them in the ice bath, but you have to dry them off.  If the tiniest bit wet, they will stick to your ribbon.

Not just forceps, everything has to be cool and dry.  Your blade, your microtome stage/ blade holder, your forceps, your slides, if any of them are warm, you'll have trouble getting/ picking up a ribbon.  If you have a drop of water on the back of your blade holder, your ribbon can bunch up,

You have to dry off the face of your block before cutting it. If you have water on the front of your blade holder, it can fold your ribbon over before you can get it to the water bath. If you drip water into your open box of slides, it's best just to go home for the day.

I've used cold spray to cool off a microtome blade/holder in a hot room. Because a cold ribbon can hit a hot blade holder/stage and bunch up.  But you have to wipe off the frost that forms, because... that's water.

Jay A. Lundgren, M.S., HTL (ASCP)

Answer 5.

I have followed some of this thread and I haven't heard this one point:  paraffin sticks to paraffin. No matter how dry (I guess I've put my forceps in the water bath) or how cold (got nothin' on that), forceps with a bit of paraffin on them could stick to your sections.

I've been retired for a while and can't figure out how to get off the histonet, but I do remember that some paraffin is stickier than others. I did eyes and bones at a veterinary school and always used a higher melting point paraffin. A previous good point: water bath may be too hot for your paraffin.
Hot blades? Went through a lot of ice cubes.

Mary Lou Norman from Freeville, NY

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