Two replicating techniques currently used for scanning electron microscopy were investigated qualitatively and quantitatively. The most accurate and reliable replicating material was an epoxy resin; this was superior to copper plating as the model material, despite some dimensional inaccuracies. The selected method was then used to obtain accurate elastomeric replicas of rodent and human palatal mucosa. Salivary-duct openings, epithelial cell boundaries, desquamating cells and cell-surface micropits were identified. In some areas, coccal organisms could be seen colonizing the epithelial surface.