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Note: This article first appeared in “The Commoner”, the official publication of Canda’s House of Commons.

At The Commoner, we love to share stories that showcase what our colleagues do in their spare time — which is why we are thrilled to share this story about the unique hobby of House of Commons Master Cabinetmaker and former Military Policeman Patrick Morais.

Patrick Morais

 So what does a master cabinetmaker at the House of Commons actually do? Well, in Patrick’s own words, he “repairs, designs, and builds custom furniture to suit his clients’ needs across the House of Commons. This could involve anything from a custom bookshelf to shelving for a gym.” But it doesn’t stop there. “I also restore pieces of furniture with historical significance that are in need of attention”, says Morais.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Patrick’s time outside of work is spent applying his woodworking skills to a project, but what is truly impressive is the scale of his project. Patrick has recently built a boat.

With a name that suggests Patrick may have taken some pleasure in the project, he christened his new boat “Aqua Therapy”. He found his inspiration not in a need for speed, but a preference for low-speed, casual cruising with an eco-friendly twist. When we asked Patrick what prompted him to build a boat, he explained “I was tired of applying my woodworking skills to home renovations in my free time — it was time for something new”.

Hours of research helped him discover an electric-powered motor — providing an environmentally friendly alternative to the noisy, gas-guzzling, high-powered boats that often disrupt the tranquility at his cottage in Gracefield, Quebec.

The plans for the boat that took a total of four months to build were purchased online from Glen-L and were based on a model named Lo Voltage. But before beginning this ambitious project, Patrick conducted many hours of research and study to gain a solid understanding of the precision that goes into building a boat.

The vessel is made from a combination of plywood, fiberglass cloth, and plenty of walnut. It was carefully assembled using a method called “stitch and glue” in which copper wire acts as thread that stitches the plywood panels together. The joints are then sealed with a mixture of glue and epoxy and covered in fiberglass cloth to keep the water

What makes this electric-powered boat so unique is that the motor comes from an old golf cart, requiring only six 6-volt batteries to propel it forward. Using a dated golf cart motor had clear advantages (eco-friendly and cost effective), but it also came with a major disadvantage — in order to function, it requires a rare part that is on back order. In other words, Patrick has been waiting all summer for his part to arrive so that he can launch his boat.

“My family and friends are all excited about the big launch day as long as there isn’t ice on the lake/river or canal. And I promise that no matter when the part arrives, the boat will be getting wet!” says Patrick. “I tell people that the reason I know it floats is because with the plug in the drain hole, it holds rainwater really well without a tarp”, he jokes. As you can tell, Patrick’s spirits run high. Maybe his optimism is attributable to the Aqua Therapy he’s enjoying from the entire building process.

(Many thanks to Tony Martin at the Kitchissippi Times for providing key information.)

Read about Patrick’s first launch of his boat on the Boatbuilder Forum.

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