New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

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billbillt
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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#61 Post by billbillt » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:20 pm

Thanks Rod for the heads up on the sharpening stones on Ebay.. I also don't know how they make any money with prices that low..

BillT

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rnabholz
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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#62 Post by rnabholz » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:41 pm

gekko wrote:Rod, thank you. An excellent, very helpful "how to" article on knife sharpening, complete with where to get the stuff you need.
Thanks Gekko.

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#63 Post by rnabholz » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:52 pm

Duplicate post
Last edited by rnabholz on Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#64 Post by rnabholz » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:52 pm

einman wrote:Great Information. Thanks so much. The Ao 815 is truly a beautiful machine and though I recently acquired a Leitz with a few more features I will probably hang onto the 815 just for the beauty of construction etc.


I have 10 AO blades but no handle or guide. I purchased them all in a single deal off e-bay for $50. They appear quite sharp. I will have to look into the handle and guides.

Thanks einman.

I saw your post on your new Leitz, it looks like a heck of a machine. I waxed poetic about the 815 earlier in the thread, so we are in agreement on the charm of that piece.


Kind of a shame that the trend of covering the mechanisms on these machines developed. I can understand the reasoning for dust and safety reasons. Of course it may have also given them license to lower the level of fit and finish on some of the parts, as they would be hidden, likely saving some costs. But it is kind of fun to watch the works spin.

You shouldn't have any trouble finding a handle and guide, but you may have to buy another knife to get them. Maybe you should shoot for an even dozen.... ;^)

Rod
Last edited by rnabholz on Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#65 Post by rnabholz » Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:04 pm

Charles wrote:Rod, Have you tried stropping the blade on a leather strop to get the edge back? Like they did in the old days at the barbershop before they gave you a shave.
Hey Charles,

I am familiar with the concept, even read up on it a bit, but have not tried it. It would be interesting to know if it is possible to quantify sharpness and how a sharp straight razor compared to a microtome knife. Are they so similar that stroping would bring a microtome knife back into the "operating envelope"?

Thanks for the interest

Rod

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#66 Post by rnabholz » Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:16 pm

billbillt wrote:Thanks Rod for the heads up on the sharpening stones on Ebay.. I also don't know how they make any money with prices that low..

BillT
All they have to do is mine the material, shape it, make a plastic carrier, adhere the two together, ink it with the grit number, box it, and ship it half way around the world for less than $2.....

Piece of cake.

Rod

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#67 Post by KurtM » Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:04 pm

Rod, I keep my wood carving knives razor sharp by stropping. Any old leather will do, although I found a proper strop in a junk shop, and use mirror polishing rouge left over from an old telescope making project for stropping compound. The same materials can be purchased wherever woodcarving supplies* are sold. It's super easy, and keeps the blades insanely sharp. If I ever get off my dead butt and start using microtomes, I'll surely be stropping my knives.

* This business provides outstanding service: www.highlandwoodworking.com
Cheers,
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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#68 Post by rnabholz » Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:48 pm

KurtM wrote:Rod, I keep my wood carving knives razor sharp by stropping. Any old leather will do, although I found a proper strop in a junk shop, and use mirror polishing rouge left over from an old telescope making project for stropping compound. The same materials can be purchased wherever woodcarving supplies* are sold. It's super easy, and keeps the blades insanely sharp. If I ever get off my dead butt and start using microtomes, I'll surely be stropping my knives.

* This business provides outstanding service: http://www.highlandwoodworking.com
Well, with that ringing endorsement, I will have to look into this a bit more deeply.

The idea makes a lot of sense, as that edge is so thin that it is not hard to imagine it being moved by cutting and restored by the stroping action.

Too many projects.........

Thanks Kurt

Rod

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#69 Post by Charles » Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:23 pm

Also, I think it will extend the life of your blade since less material will be removed from stropping than honing.

I've been told that you can strop for a bit but after awhile the edge becomes rounded and will need to be honed occasionally.

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#70 Post by rnabholz » Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:41 am

Charles wrote:Also, I think it will extend the life of your blade since less material will be removed from stropping than honing.

I've been told that you can strop for a bit but after awhile the edge becomes rounded and will need to be honed occasionally.
That is my understanding as well, it is not a replacement for sharpening.

I am not sure I could live long enough to use up one of these knives, unless I starting using them for dinner.... ;^)

Thanks Charles.

Rod

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#71 Post by rnabholz » Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:03 am

rnabholz wrote: I was encouraged with my success in sharpening my blade, and am less concerned than I was a week ago about keeping a keen edge to work with. That said, if a cheap holder appeared, I would likely pick one up.
Well it just so happens.......that in my perusing of ebay ads I noticed a knife kit for sale. A metal case that was not labeled American Optical, but the pics of the contents clearly showed an AO knife blade, handle, sharpening guide some paper work and the darndest looking unrecognized accessory. A little closer scrutiny, could it be, I believe I have seen that somewhere, and I think I know what it is.

I opened the PDF of the Microtome manual I had downloaded and sure enough it enabled me to confirm it as the AO Razor Blade Holder. It permits you to clamp a razor in place and use it as the knife in your microtome.

They were only asking $10 plus some shipping, but dang it, no Buy It Now option, and 6 days left on the Auction. Fortunately for me the seller left the words knife and blade out of the title, so I suspect he was not drawing the attention he might have liked. After 6 long days the time came, I placed a reasonable bid over the starting price and waited for the clock to run out......and it did and my $10 bid was not raised. WooHoo.

When I got the package and opened up it became clear that it had never been used. The knife still carried the anti corrosion grease applied and the factory. the handle still had a rubber protective sleeve over the threads. The Inspection tag was inside as well as the guide instructions. Not a mark on anything anywhere.

The real prize though, the razor blade holder is really nicely machined with very close tolerances, a really great piece. It was a stroke of luck to find it, and to find it in such excellent condition after all these years is really amazing.

I now have no excuse for using a dull blade......
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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#72 Post by rnabholz » Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:05 am

More
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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#73 Post by rnabholz » Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:06 am

Still More
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Charles
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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#74 Post by Charles » Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:20 am

That is an awesome buy Rod!

The replaceable blade holders alone goes for $150-400, and yours is brand new and you also get a brand new knife, knife back and blade. That is amazing! Congratulations!

And here I was going to offer you one of the ones I got just recently. I got five used ones for $10.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/291673686076?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT

But, you have a brand new one now! :D

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#75 Post by KurtM » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:02 am

Oh boy, nothing like a great eBay score! I'm practically dancing with glee for you because I've been there before and know the feeling. Wow ... just wow!! 8-) 8-) 8-)

One thing I want to say, though: I only now saw the replies to my stropping post way up above. It is my express understanding that regular stropping means never having to hone unless damage has been done to the blade that stropping alone cannot correct. And it is my direct experience that once you have brought a blade to the point of stropping, just a few quick swipes is all it ever takes forevermore - super easy peasy. It's really something you oughta make time to try - stropping is a huge time saver for me as well as yielding superior results.
Cheers,
Kurt Maurer
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http://sawdustfactory.nfshost.com/microscopes/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/67904872@ ... 912223623/

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#76 Post by rnabholz » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:51 am

Charles wrote:That is an awesome buy Rod!

The replaceable blade holders alone goes for $150-400, and yours is brand new and you also get a brand new knife, knife back and blade. That is amazing! Congratulations!

And here I was going to offer you one of the ones I got just recently. I got five used ones for $10.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/291673686076?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT

But, you have a brand new one now! :D
Holy Smokes Charles, that is quite a lot you found!! 5 of them all together for $10, unbelievable!. Way to go. I appreciate you thinking of me, but as you say, I am all set. Thanks anyway.

Nice score!

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#77 Post by rnabholz » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:56 am

KurtM wrote:Oh boy, nothing like a great eBay score! I'm practically dancing with glee for you because I've been there before and know the feeling. Wow ... just wow!! 8-) 8-) 8-)

One thing I want to say, though: I only now saw the replies to my stropping post way up above. It is my express understanding that regular stropping means never having to hone unless damage has been done to the blade that stropping alone cannot correct. And it is my direct experience that once you have brought a blade to the point of stropping, just a few quick swipes is all it ever takes forevermore - super easy peasy. It's really something you oughta make time to try - stropping is a huge time saver for me as well as yielding superior results.
Okay pal, you convinced me, I am going shopping for a strop.

I also ordered the 3000 grit stone, for $2 shipped why not?

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#78 Post by 75RR » Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:04 am

I opened the PDF of the Microtome manual I had downloaded and sure enough it enabled me to confirm it as the AO Razor Blade Holder. It permits you to clamp a razor in place and use it as the knife in your microtome.
That looks interesting! Have you got photos of the razor-blades in place? What kind of razor-blades?
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#79 Post by Charles » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:38 pm

75RR wrote:
I opened the PDF of the Microtome manual I had downloaded and sure enough it enabled me to confirm it as the AO Razor Blade Holder. It permits you to clamp a razor in place and use it as the knife in your microtome.
That looks interesting! Have you got photos of the razor-blades in place? What kind of razor-blades?
Here is what they look like:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Reichert-Jung-M ... 7675.l2557

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#80 Post by 75RR » Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:26 pm

Thanks Charles
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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#81 Post by rnabholz » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:23 pm

75RR wrote:
I opened the PDF of the Microtome manual I had downloaded and sure enough it enabled me to confirm it as the AO Razor Blade Holder. It permits you to clamp a razor in place and use it as the knife in your microtome.
That looks interesting! Have you got photos of the razor-blades in place? What kind of razor-blades?
Hey 75,

This one will use ordinary double sided razor blades from the drug store. Here are some pics
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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#82 Post by Charles » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:33 pm

Rod,
Nice! That's good to know. Seems I have two of those and the other three uses the longer blades.

Edit: And maybe not. The blade holder for all five of mine seem to be for the double edged razor since I don't see how the longer blades could fit in any of them.

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#83 Post by 75RR » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:40 pm

Thanks rnabholz, that looks even more convenient.
Could you post the dimensions - to see if it would fit in a Cambridge Rocking Microtome knife holder. Thanks
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#84 Post by rnabholz » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:45 pm

Hey Charles,

From what I have read, I believe there were two standards for the disposable microtome blades, a wide and a narrow version. If the issue with your blades is that they stand too tall when clamped in place, you may have the wide and need the narrow.

But Walgreen's can but you in business right away... ;^)

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#85 Post by rnabholz » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:02 pm

75RR wrote:Thanks rnabholz, that looks even more convenient.
Could you post the dimensions - to see if it would fit in a Cambridge Rocking Microtome knife holder. Thanks

You bet, here we go:

Overall Length 118mm
Length of the blade clamp 36mm
Width of the blade clamp 38mm
Width of "blade" on each side of blade clamp 31mm
Total width including clamp knob 48mm
Thickness of "blade" spine on each side of the clamp 6mm
Thickness of blade spine at the clamp 16mm

Let me know if I missed something.

Rod

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#86 Post by Charles » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:23 pm

rnabholz wrote:Hey Charles,

From what I have read, I believe there were two standards for the disposable microtome blades, a wide and a narrow version. If the issue with your blades is that they stand too tall when clamped in place, you may have the wide and need the narrow.

But Walgreen's can but you in business right away... ;^)
I was more concerned with length. The two like yours measures about 36mm from blade edge to edge and the other three longer ones have openings for 70mm blades.

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#87 Post by Charles » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:41 pm

Here is a photo of the two types I have:
Microtome Blade Holder1.jpg
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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#88 Post by 75RR » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:46 pm

Thanks very much rnabholz, will check and see if it fits.
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
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einman
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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#89 Post by einman » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:51 pm

Awesome deal!!!

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Re: New to Me American Optical 815 Microtome

#90 Post by rnabholz » Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:03 pm

Charles wrote:
rnabholz wrote:Hey Charles,

From what I have read, I believe there were two standards for the disposable microtome blades, a wide and a narrow version. If the issue with your blades is that they stand too tall when clamped in place, you may have the wide and need the narrow.

But Walgreen's can but you in business right away... ;^)
I was more concerned with length. The two like yours measures about 36mm from blade edge to edge and the other three longer ones have openings for 70mm blades.
Can the blade extend beyond the end of the side of the clamp? The razor does sick out about 2mm beyond the end on both sides of mine. 76mm would only be about 3mm per side.

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