Adjustable stock stand

For quite some time I’ve had it on my list to build some type of adjustable height stock stand but in the meantime I have muddled through projects with various impromptu props, all of which worked, just not very well. Recently though I spotted a steel table base in the trash of our local coffee shop and thought it would make the perfect base for a stock stand. After a little sketching with MoI and rummaging in the scrap pile (I did have to buy some 3/4″ threaded rod & nuts), the idea took shape. The resulting stand provides a stout & convenient support with heights ranging from 30″ to 56″. The photos and the sketch tell the story.

Larry’s eggs

The desire was a healthy hot meal, but the requirements were simple and low-tech due to the shop cooking options being limited to a microwave and toaster oven. The resulting dish is wholesome and hearty and has become one of our favorites for breakfast. The original version (3 eggs & a potato) was a single serving made and served in a stoneware bowl, the version below serves two.

  • 1-quart baking dish
  • 6 large or 7 medium eggs
  • 17-18oz red potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt & pepper
  • Aged white cheddar or other tasty cheese to top

I was raised on red potatoes & I love their unique taste so that’s what I use here. Wash them and pierce the skins with a fork a few times and then put them in the microwave for about 8 minutes, the goal is just to slightly soften them. While the potatoes are cooking, grease the inside of the baking dish with butter. Cut the remaining butter into a few chunks so that it will distribute while cooking & leave chunks in the baking dish. Add the eggs & very lightly stir to just break the yolks and mix a bit: the resulting dish will have distinct areas of egg white and yolk. Add pepper and then salt. I use enough pepper to fairly darken the eggs and enough salt to offset the buffering nature of the potatoes; probably more of each than you’d initially expect. Refine with experience.

Coarsely dice the potatoes and add to the eggs. I cut the potato into quarters and then slice off 1/4 or 1/2 inch chunks, whatever works for you is probably just fine. Once all the potato chunks have been added, use a fork to gently press them down so that the eggs cover. Top with diced cheese. I like the aged white cheddars, but sometimes add a bit of yellow cheddar for color. Place in a cold oven and bake (uncovered) at 350 for 55 minutes total time (I don’t fuss about how long it takes the oven to come up to temp). The eggs will rise a bit and the butter and cheese will contribute a light golden brown color.

Options I include from time to time: A bit of nutmeg with the salt & pepper adds a nice touch as does some diced meat like ham or summer sausage. I find adding the meat before the potatoes and then a little more time pressing down with the fork after the potatoes have been added distributes it nicely.

Viking Serpent

Recently I was taking apart an old Royal vacuum cleaner that I’d scrounged from the trash and was amused by the face that I saw in one of its castings. As often happens, an interesting shape gets me thinking; in this case the image that came to mind was of a serpent akin to those found on the prow of Viking ships. With a bit of experimentation I came up with some pleasing curves to use for the neck & then bent them from 1/2″ steel rod. Arranging and holding the rods prior to welding was a bit of a challenge, but once welded and cut to fit flush to the head, the real challenge was how to clamp the rods for drilling and tapping. Maybe overkill, but I like the neat appearance of machine screws so I attached the head to the neck with #10-24 SHCS. Once complete, the next step was to mount it to the drill press…a bit of a whimsical mascot! May need to raise it a bit though as it wound up being just about head-banging height. Working on a dorsal fin for him now though…