Excellent my friend! You have just duplicated my own definitive test with such a blade temporarily-mounted. Your problems (EX-problems now, or at least greatly-reduced and now with a firm strategy in sight to eliminate!) have just been very clearly and repeatably revealed with respect to a good start with sectioning.
From this and the future (go-get one from Brunel - they're a fine outfit) acquisition of a holder you will rapidly begin to perfect your sectioning protocol/s and most importantly, understanding
- the vital requirement before improvements are able to be formulated and tested of course.
I'd proceed from here as follows if I were you:
1) Order holder and blades (blades
from internet are far cheaper and always genuine).
2) Continue with your test-rig for now.
3) Resist the temptation to switch your (main) attention towards processing etc (comments re your images sections following) and concentrate on the sectioning
You have a major progression at your fingertips here, get the holder & blades and you'll master sectioning - for certain in my experience and my study of these images which are so much more informative.
Comments re images and what they tell me;
You need to attend to the shape of your wax-block's cutting face - the horizontal edges MUST be as parallel as you can get they, just by eye of course - don't over-think this bit.
All faces both horizontal and vertical must be straight and of a clean-looking (within reason) finish after trimming - yours are a little sub-optimal but again, no worries here for you at all.
Keep flotation water covered except when placing in or lifting out sections - dust will
appear if you don't.
Sectioning (each block every session) is a two-part process, the 'roughing and 'polishing' of the block's face comprise 1 phase the final sections are the second.
Roughing/polishing - new blade which will not then be used for final-sectioning cuts (as you don't yet have disposables which are able to be used as one end for phase 1, the other end for phase 2, by sliding the blade across the holder as you move from phase to phase.) into the clamp as it is now.
Make first cuts at about 10-12µ smoothly and calmly until full-sections begin to appear - ribboning will be a bonus but at this stage don't worry - individual but well-cut sections are easy enough to handle.
When your happily cutting smoothly complete sections pause after about 20 or so and become attentive to any actual tissue to appear within the sections, then switch to thickness of about 5µ to 'polish' the face for about 3-6 sections if all goes (literally) smoothly in terms of no pieces missing from sections, wrinkles parallel to blade and compression (all sections cut will be
smaller in the cut direction that the block-face due to this, all
-sections - no worry, you're looking to exclude holes, tears etc.).
When you are ready, switch to 8-10 µ for your final cuts. This is an excellent and by no means
over-thick section. It's often thought that thinner is better - it isn't! I section the vast majority of my slides at this range for many solid reasons, not because I can't go thinner - I have sectioned anthers and pollen at 1µ with the Mighty-Shandon)...
You sections and question re bubbles - an easy one!
The bubbles under the sections. A few different reasons exist....
a) water is a touch too warm (i.e. above about 45 deg) - I use between 42-44 deg myself (far too warm would be above say 50 deg in spite of what you'll have read)
b) bubbles are forming on bottom of your water container, not because your container's not clean enough, but because you need to 'stir gently' these peskies away before you begin flotation - they are less common in glass that in my full-on lab flotation black-line jobby - but simple brief stirring gets them away...
c) water not deep enough and slides disturbing these an any unseen bubbles during insertion of slide into water.
URK - just noticed all those bubbles on the surface
of your water - nooooooooo get rid of these.
I've a short video of the section onto slide process,
Now, to the sections themselves;
In terms of cutting - very good, no scoring, tissue-tearing/loss or other integrity problems - your blade's edge and basic tissue-processing therefore looks to be off to a good start.
I think they may
look a little 'sweaty' which can be a symptom of wax ant-medium still present in the wax, but this may be the view-point - don't worry at all about this - we're looking at the sectioning here.
The shrivelled-looking cells within the section can be, and very
often are, quite normal - for the very delicate parenchyma tissue of plants - the walls of which contain in life a huge amount of water and suffer the harshness of processing far more than the more rigid walls of other cell-type for example lignified vessels. The stability of these other cells enable us to make sections that are easily close enough to life morphology for enjoyment and study....
If sectioning a succulent for example, stem or leaf, you'll find sectioning a greater challenge - your images have the look of an aloe-type succulent. They're easy to section but blighters to process - I always use them when I want to have a go at improving my technique for processing. Obversely soft but lignified dicotyledonous tissue is 'just right' - easy to process and easy to section - relatively.
Are they OK to take further - yes I think so - you're learning and these look good for this stage and will give you a lot of heuristic knowledge.
So, sections with bubbles under the actual section - no good at all - bubbles not under tissue regions - fine.
Float onto slides and briefly allow to drain (see video). Place nearly vertical to dry at RT onto slide under dust cover - for at least 24hrs.
De-wax with wax solvent such as Histoclear or Xylene (I only use the former) for 2 changes of about 10 minutes each. Remove solvent with OH (I use IPA) at 100% or nearest you have - 95% (nom) IPA is absolutely fine, for 2 changes of about 3 minutes each then onto OH/water rehydration stages for aqueous staining (I'd suggest Safranin - superb stain at 1% for about 5 minutes).
Water to remove excess stain the move through to 100% OH then to 100% solvent in preparation for resin mount....
Looking good - keep focus tight with your study here - many factors yes, but never of equal relevance at any one time.
Hope this helps - go get the holder and blades (if you have trouble finding cheap blades let me know)
Good luck - you're doing really well my friend!