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A whale of a rocker

As with penguins or pandas, distinctive black-and-white markings make orcas (or "killer whales") instantly recognizable. Maybe that's why kids love them so much.

Virtually any do-it-yourselfer with a few basic tools can add this favorite to a child's (or grandchild's) menagerie for less than $50. The secret is that the entire project is made from just one 4-by-8 sheet of plywood. The laminated double thickness of plywood not only makes it inexpensive and much stronger than the equivalent dimensional lumber, but also much easier to work with.

To build, trace all but five of the project's pieces onto plywood (we used birch, but any plywood relatively free of voids will work) and cut them out. Laminate the pieces together (glue, clamp and allow to cure) to achieve the necessary thickness. Next, sand everything and paint according to the guide included on the pattern. When the paint's dry, assemble with screws and glue. Once the glue's dry, you're ready to rock.

The rocking whale measures 43 inches long by 16 inches wide by 25 inches tall.

The Rocking Whale plan, No. 913, costs $9.95 and includes step-by-step instructions with six photos, full-size traceable patterns, construction diagrams, a cutting layout and a complete shopping list and cutting schedule.

A package of four rocking toy projects, No. C73, is $24.95 and includes plans for two rocking horses, a rocking airplane and a rocking dinosaur. A catalog picturing hundreds of do-it-yourself projects is $2. Please include $3 for postage and handling (except catalog-only orders) and allow about two weeks for delivery.

To order by mail, send this article with a check or money order to U-Bild Features, c/o St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 2383, Van Nuys, CA 91409. To order by credit card, call toll-free 1-800-828-2453.

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