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Swann-Morton Scapel


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I just posted most of this in “What have you received today”, but I need help and thought it would be a good idea to post here as well.  

I picked up 100 Swann-Morton no. 11 scalpel blades.  They came with handle, a plastic box that is somehow going help to removing blades and a pair of hemostats.  There were no instructions on how to install blades and everything I tried seemed to be too hard and clumsy.  All this was exacerbated by total fear that I was going to cut off a finger.  I would truly appreciate any help on how to use this thing.  Thanks.

 

Best.

John

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Edited by Landlocked123
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What I do is use hemostats to grip the blade.  It basically goes on the top end of the holder, then you slide it down until the bottom clicks in place.20171024_192914_resized.thumb.jpg.ff714058ee0807248bd7033d74936aba.jpg20171024_192944_resized.thumb.jpg.c0e0cd1bfe2cda74d86e63727feffeba.jpg20171024_193006_resized.thumb.jpg.b7b00f9780cc64ca52871965de07731e.jpg

I always wear safety glasses when I'm working with them because I have had a couple of blades snap while I was using them.  In all fairness I was likely using too much force on it and probably should have been using a different tool for the application.  I agree though, they can be intimidating.

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First thing is throw that blue box in the bin. Pretty useless :angry:.

 

I simply use a small pair of flat needle-nose pliers, grasp the blade just on the "pointy" side of the slot and slide the blade down toward the handle until it clicks in. Removal is a reverse of the same, except I grab the end closest to the handle and lift the blade enough to clear the locator.

 

I've never broken a blade or cut myself, and the only tricky one was the first one I tried (about 90 blades ago :)). It takes me longer to open the pack than it does to actually change the blade :D. They get a lot easier after you've changed a couple.

 

:cheers:  Danny

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I've fitted many scalpel blades over the years.  Peel open the package enough to expose the heel,  a bit further than slot of the blade.  Avoid picking up the blade with your fingers - use the hemostat.  I usually grasp the blade at a more acute angle along the spine, i.e. not perpendicular.  Then slide it onto the groove of the handle   To remove, you can grasp the heel of the blade with the hemostat and slide it off.  I've never used the removal device, but I'm sure you can figure that out or find directions online.

 

Oh, and see if you can find a pair of Mayo-Hegar needleholders; they'll work much better.  Needleholders have long handles and short heavy serrated jaws, often with carbide inserts.  Another highly useful instrument is a right angle artery forcep (a Mixter, or Crile style) - similar to a hemostat, but with longer handles and as the name implies, the jaws are bent in a right angle.  They're very useful for manipulating things.  And generally, I always prefer curved hemostats to straight hemostats, and the same for thumb forceps (tweezers).

 

Edited by Bob Blarney
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Thanks Derek,

 

I’ll give a shot tomorrow when I don’t have 2 snootfuls of single malt under my belt.  Does it take a lot of force?  I also noticed that the slot for the blade is about 1/3 the depth of the handle.  So which side the cutting edge blade go on, the 1/3 side or the 2/3 side?

 

Thanks,

John

Edited by Landlocked123
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18 minutes ago, Landlocked123 said:

Thanks Derek,

 

I’ll give a shot tomorrow when I don’t have 2 snootfuls of single malt under my belt.  Does it take a lot of force?  I also noticed that the slot for the blade is about 1/3 the depth of the handle.  So which side the cutting edge blade go on, the 1/3 side or the 2/3 side?

 

Thanks,

John

You installed it on the correct side. 

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I'd also use needlenose pliers instead of a hemostat too, if I didn't have needleholders.  I think that small hemostats are just too delicate for comfortable and safe handling.  Also, if you don't use the blade extractor, collect your sharps as we did in the bad old days, in a bottle with a screw cap for disposal - something like a softdrink bottle.    

 

 

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while we're discussing using surgical instruments - here's a video about using an instrument to tie a knot.  This can be very useful when you only have a short length of line/thread to work with.  But generally, a surgeon uses only fingers to tie, because the fingers will tension the know better than with an instrument and a finger.

 

 

 

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I use the same procedure as Dan and never injured myself in 30+ years ... Fear makes your movements unsure ;)

 

Doctors and nurses uses such removal devices because they handle the equipment with surgical gloves that may not be perforated in order to remain sterile and in order to minimise the risk of infecting themselves by contaminated blood etc.

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Just as a side note, I made this inexpensive way to safely dispose of scalpel blades and other sharp blades such as razor blades.  I bought a can of beef stock.  Instead of cutting off the top, I simply put a slot in the top carefully with a heavy kitchen knife.  I then emptied the contents of the can into a soup I was making and rinsed it out several times. It takes a bit of patience because you are trying to rinse it through a narrow slot.  When dull I slip the used blade through the slot.  I have been using it for two plus years now and it's still not close to being filled.  When it is full you can simply recycle it.

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Instrument tying is often superior to hand tying.  It allows me to get into tight areas that even my small hands would find difficult.  Once you get the feel for the correct amount tension to apply for the type and weight of the material, it is just as secure as hand tying.

 

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On 10/29/2017 at 10:22 PM, tlevine said:

Instrument tying is often superior to hand tying.  It allows me to get into tight areas that even my small hands would find difficult.  Once you get the feel for the correct amount tension to apply for the type and weight of the material, it is just as secure as hand tying.

 

There is another way to instrument tie other than as shown in the video.  It involves passing the longer end of the thread alternatively over and then under the jaws of the instrument.  It is also useful when space is restricted.  I'll see if I can find a video that shows it, or maybe I'll make a vid if I have some time to set up a 'studio'.

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  • 2 years later...

Here I am as usual, finding old posts and putting my misguided views forward.

 

My take on fitting and removing these blades isn't going to make me any friends with the health and safety mob and I don't recommend it to the ham fisted and careless. (see 'Supatool' at the end).

 

DISCLAIMER I take no responsibility at all for any self inflicted injuries.

 

Over 40 years ago I was shown how to do it this way; I must have changed blades a dozen times a day and in all these years have never cut myself or broken a blade.

 

IMPORTANT! the business end of the holder must have no knocks or nicks that would cause the slot in the blade to hang up.

 

FITTING

Hold the handle in the left hand firmly, with the locating 'flange' facing you.

Carefully pick the blade up, flat between the fingers, observing the base of the blade angle is in the same direction as the stop on the handle.

Carefully place the wide bit of the slot over the locating 'flange' and slide it along until it stops.

Put the handle flat on a firm surface and hold it there. Using a suitable implement (I use a mini screwdriver) ease the blade to the left, pushing against the left end of the slot until it clicks into place.

 

REMOVING

Hold the handle firmly as before. The blade has a long notch at the top rear. Place your index finger in that notch and place your thumb against the flat at the bottom and lift that end of the blade and gently slide the blade to the right so it is onto the 'flange'.

Then firmly pull the blade off the handle to the right. Dispose the old blade considerately.

 

Left handers obviously have the handle to the right with blade to the left.

 

As with any SHARP thing, keep away from the SHARP bit!

 

BEWARE These blades are not designed to be used with any side pressure. They WILL SNAP and travel great distance with lethal velocity. NEVER use a cracked blade.

 

It has been my experience, using pliers of any kind is guaranteed to crack or break the blade at the slot, more often than not.

 

I use the number 3 and 5 handles with 10a blades. Both my handles are over 30 years old.

 

You may not be aware; Swann-Morton produce their 'Supatool' range of blades and handles, which are more hobby related. These are a much more substantial heavy duty scalpels. The blade is held between the two halves of the handle which is closed with a screw. There is a much wider range of blade shapes and cutting edges. These blades don't break unless seriously abused and remain sharp for longer.

 

My suggestion; if the scalpel worries you, go for the 'Supatool', which is made for our kind of work anyway.

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By now I've probably changed about 400 of these blades. I simply slip the blade on like Shipman does using just my fingers, but I use a needle-nose pliers to pull it back off after cutting myself ONCE using just my fingers (once bitten, twice shy :D ).

 

I didn't bother getting one, but I believe Swann-Morton make a special tool for replacing blades. A waste of money IMHO.

 

Danny

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