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Native bird whirligigs


From NZ Gardener magazine

Rose Hughes re-imagines the classic flying bird whirligig as our favourite feathered fauna.

You will need: (for 1 bird) Bird body – 230mm x 19mm pine, Bird wings – 6mm plywood sheet, 18mm pine dowel, jigsaw, hand saw, small chisel, sander/sandpaper, 4.5mm, 6.5mm & 9mm drill bits and drill, 18mm paddle bit, M5 x 50mm gutter bolts & washers, 6mm clear vinyl tube, pencil/paper/ double-sided tape, 6.3mm galvanised steel rod, wood glue/filler, primer, test pots & brushes. Instructions are the same for all the birds.

Top coat colours:

Cost: $50 (excluding paint).

Step 1 Step one
Draw the bird body shape directly onto the timber or onto paper and double-sided tape to the pine. Cut out carefully using the jigsaw. Sand well.
Step 2 Step two
Cut the dowel into 100mm length. Sand the ends. Place the dowel upright (a vice is handy for this). Mark the 4.5mm drill bit at 40mm and drill a centred hole at each end.
Step 3 Step three
Drill an 18mm hole through the bird body where the wings will go. Gently hammer the dowel into position. Undercoat the bird body with Resene Quick Dry Primer.
Step 4 Step four
Cut 2 x 25mm x 40mm lengths from the pine. Cut a 6mm wide by 10mm deep gutter into each end of the block on the diagonal using multiple cuts with a hand saw and tidy with a small chisel – see the photo. Drill a 9mm hole in the centre of the uncut face.
Step 5 Step five
Cut two wings from the plywood and sand well. Insert the wings into the gutter (wing tips in opposite directions), glue and allow to dry. Fill any gaps, sand well once dry.

Step 6 Step six
Drill a 6.5mm hole into the bottom of the bird body for the metal rod. Top coat in the colours listed above.


Step 7 Step seven
Insert 6mm vinyl clear tube into the hole in the wing block and trim to fit.
Step 8 Step eight
Attach the wings to the body. Gutter bolt, washer, wing block, washer. Then screw into the dowel on each side so that the wings will rotate.

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.