The Waterrower has recently been made famous by Kevin Spacy as the rowing machine used in the ‘House of Cards’. It is a type of wooden rowing machine produced and manufactured by Waterrower Inc. in New England, USA. The rowers were designed by ex-US national team rower john Duke in the mid 1980’s and the company to manufacture them was established in 1988.
Wood is used for its unique visual appeal, but also for its ability to absorb sound vibration for smooth, quiet operation, as well as it's stable longevity. The Club edition rowing machine is handcrafted in solid ash wood and stained for color. It has been designed for high traffic or commercial areas, and its black rails have been styled to prevent scuffing. The other wooden components are finished in an attractive rosewood which is more resistant to soiling than the Natural model. Each machine has also been hand finished with Danish Oil and Urethane for protection.
Outside of resistance type, we found the number-one arbiter of ride feel to be cord quality. Water ergometers tend to employ nylon cords, while air ergometers feature metal chains — a durability factor we anticipated would result in our favoring air. But while all three water rowers aced our expectation of smooth, high-tension strokes, perfecting the chain seems to be more difficult: Some tug with just a slight rumble, others feature bouncy, grinding chains that are incredibly loud, something akin to angry snoring. As for nylon, the best wind and unwind like elastic silk — no slack, no sound, no catching, just perfectly even tension throughout the stroke.