Editor’s note: This is one story in a series about local businesses in the City of Fairborn. This feature puts a face to the names of those that have been part of the community for many years – some of those best-kept secrets.
FAIRBORN – Bob McDonald has been knocking on, repairing and creating items with wood since his younger years, and now owns local business Cedar Chest, and has been since he started the business in 1985.
He calls the shop such a name because the first thing he ever built was a cedar chest. He has been involved in woodworking since high school after taking a class.
After graduation from Park Hills High School, he went to Wright State University for business classes. Upon completing, he opened up “The Cedar Shop” in 1985 at the current location in Fairborn where it remains today.
His favorite wood to work with is cherry. He said, “It is smoother, better, easier to work with and the look is one that can’t be matched by any other wood.”
He uses all types of wood, but he enjoys cherry in particular. He has a chain saw mill that he uses to supply a lot of his wood for his projects, but if that isn’t available he purchases it from other hardware stores that carry the wood boards he needs.
A recent repair was on a teak totem standing about five feet tall that an artist in florida created, but got damaged in the shipping process to a person in Beavercreek. They brought it to his shop for repair.
He is currently working on a table from North Carolina; a local’s daughter was telling her father the table needed a repair, so he told her to bring it with her to Ohio. When she visited her dad, he called McDonald because he knew of his experience and reputation of repairing wood items and that he would be able to fix it. A few days ago, he was called to drill a hole in the wood desk to drop their computer cords through. He has been known to help with cutting boards for seniors.
One of the more unique items he ever created was a cat coffin. McDonald said one day a women came in his shop in tears and wanted to know if it would be possible for him to build a coffin to put her beloved cat in to be buried. He did the job for her, as it was something she not only wanted – but needed. Over the years, he says no job is too big or small for him to do and he enjoys making people happy by repairing, fixing and creating things they request from him when possible.
In addition, he recently built a laundry hamper out of wood; like a closet, you would open the wooden doors and the shelves and put the clothes in the hamper. He has done many repairs and projects that have come in from all over the United States. He feels that even though he works in a small shop in a small town, his reputation is huge as an expert in his field.
He said he can and will do pretty much any woodworking project anyone needs and has done a lot. An old farm house of the 1930s with antique cabinets needing doors replaced and matched up was a challenge and it took a little time to get it done, but he succeed and the client was very pleased. He will tell you that he doesn’t do kitchen cabinets for a whole kitchen as you can get them done cheaper from a contractor, but if you are looking to match up a piece of wood furniture, replace or repair he is your guy.
To get in touch with McDonald, call 937-878-9097 and set up an appointment. Noise in the background from working on projects, in addition to the loud machinery or steppong out to grab supplies may contribute to him missing the call if such an event takes place.
JoAnn Collins is a Fairborn resident and guest writer.