You may remember this antique cradle I bought down at Antique Alley last month:

The lady I bought it from said it was German and from the 1930’s .  I’ve done quite a lot of hunting around on the internet to try and confirm that, or just to find out more about when it may have been made, but haven’t had much luck.

So I’m not sure of its true antique value, but when I saw it I thought it was beautiful and unique enough to still make it a good purchase.  Plus, I was just so impressed with the fact that none of those tiny little spindles were broken!

One thing I did discover about it though was that the wood was very, very dry.  I remembered reading a short tutorial on Miss Mustard Seed’s blog awhile back about restoring old wood with vinegar, so I decided to give it a try.

The process was very simple.

I mixed 3 parts mineral oil with one part vinegar (I used plain white), and shook it up in a jar.  Then, I just started wiping it onto the cradle with an old t-shirt.

The result was instant and really quite impressive.

Isn’t that fantastic?

And it was so easy!!

The oil and vinegar soaked into the wood and brought back it’s great finish.

Another thing the oil and vinegar brought out though was some areas of real nastiness.  Some parts of the railing were basically black with years of dirt and body oils.  After a little experimenting, I realized I could scratch it off now that the oil mixture had moistened it up some.

Yes, that’s a paint can opener I was using.  It seemed to get the job done!  Underneath the years of grime was more beautiful wood, that got another coat of oil and vinegar.  It was a real labor of love.

I don’t have any great creative plans for it, like turning it into a bench or anything.  I want to keep it intact, and I’m thinking someone will come across it who may know more about it or who may appreciate its craftsmanship.

With proper supervision, it could be a napping place for a newborn, or house a collection of vintage dolls or quilts.

I’ve also seen an old cradle set under the Christmas tree piled full of presents.  Whatever it winds up being used for, I’m just glad I found it and was able to help bring back some of its former glory.

What would you use it for?

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