Carving Wood as a Side Gig

Roman2Carving USROWING22 February 2016

Göran R Buckhorn writes:

The name Roman Horoszewski might not ring a bell for many American rowers or coaches. Truth be told, it is not as a rowing coach at The Peddle School in Hightstown, New Jersey, that Roman is best known in the U.S. rowing community as a whole. However, if you attended the USRowing’s 2015 Golden Oars event in November, then you at least have seen some of Roman’s work, wooden art work, to be more precise. As a wood carver, he was asked by USRowing to create the 2015 Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards, which went to Seth Weil and Megan Kalmoe respectively.

At the USRowing’s 2015 Golden Oars event in November, Seth Weil and Megan Kalmoe were appointed the 2015 Male Athlete of the Year respectively Female Athlete of the Year. Their awards were made by wood carver Roman Horoszewski.
At the USRowing’s 2015 Golden Oars event in November, Seth Weil and Megan Kalmoe were named the 2015 Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Their awards were made by wood carver Roman Horoszewski. Photo courtesy of USRowing.

“As an oarsman, I create and donate rowing-related carvings to USRowing to be auctioned off at various USRowing events such as the Golden Oars,” said Roman. “I also do work for members of the rowing community at large, typically creating wood versions of their club crests and logos.”

Roman, who graduated from college in the late 1980s, is in real estate development as a career, “but I do wood carving as a side gig,” he told HTBS. Located in West Windsor, New Jersey, he is not far away from where some of the rowing action takes place, as one of USRowing’s training centres is at the Princeton National Rowing Association (PNRA) in Princeton.

Roman at his trade.

He began wood carving in 2012 and he quickly started doing rowing pieces, and by now Roman has carved approximately 20 rowing related pieces.

“My work is often multicolored using only the natural color of various woods; I use no paint, stain or dye. Rowing has a rich history of utilizing wood for shells, oars and boathouses, so in our modern era of carbon fiber and concrete and steel, my work harkens back to an earlier time in our sport,” Roman remarked.

Roman donates pieces to USRowing that are auctioned off to raise money for the National Team. Pieces for individuals and clubs are done on a commission basis. How much does it cost? “$500 and up,” he said. “It’s all custom work and 5 per cent of each rowing related piece is donated to USRowing.”

How long will it take to do a carving? He is usually able to deliver within 6 weeks of receiving his client’s deposit, which is 50 per cent.

A crest for a well-known boat club in Philadelphia.

When HTBS asked him if he knows of any other wood carvers or craftsmen doing rowing related objects in the U.S., he answered: “Not that I’m aware of, but both rowing and wood carving are pretty small worlds, so there are probably not going to be many rower-wood carvers out there.”

Pictures of Roman’s work can be found on his Facebook page, RH Wood Carving, or at his Instagram and Twitter accounts (both are rhwoodcarving). You are also welcome to e-mail Roman at

Roman is also carving pieces that have nothing to do with rowing.

© All photographs Roman Horoszewski, except the one of Seth Weil and Megan Kalmoe, which is © USRowing.

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