Restoring Old Wood with Vinegar – Antique Cradle

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

Restoring Old Wood with Vinegar

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 a while back about restoring old wood with vinegar, so I decided to give it a try.

Restoring Old Wood with Vinegar

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.

Restoring Old Wood with Vinegar  

Isn’t that fantastic? And it was so easy!! The oil and vinegar soaked into the wood and brought back it’s great finish.  

Restoring Old Wood with Vinegar  

Restoring Old Wood with Vinegar  

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.  

Restoring Old Wood with Vinegar  

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.  

Restoring Old Wood with Vinegar  

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?  



Tuesday 17th of January 2023

Wonderful article and beautiful piece! I’m so glad you didn’t paint it!! I would use this to store toys or stuffed animals in a child’s room. I have an antique goat cart that my kids slept in as babies. I sewed a padded liner for the inside to keep them safe. These items have such beautiful craftsmanship that needs to be preserved! I have used a lot of the white magic eraser sponges to remove built up grime on antique wood. They work great! Thanks for the informative site 😊.

Melanie Alexander

Tuesday 17th of January 2023

I have an old goat cart also! I love mine, it's on my front porch with a giant fern in it :)

Literal Trash Turned Treasure Vintage-Style Kitchen Wall Decor

Monday 4th of July 2016

[…] it up, I revived the wood using my tried and true oil & vinegar mix (read more about that here–it’s awesome and so […]

Jacqueline Dobson

Sunday 13th of December 2015

Hi, I just came across your website and I love it!!! I just purchased one pine doll cradle and one oak doll cradle. they were handmade from a family member of the estate sale. Basic , nothing fancy but I think they have some type of clear coating on the wood. Did your baby cradle have a clear coating on it? Wondering if the mineral oil/vinegar would work if it has a sealant on the wood. Thanks your time. Merry Christmas


Monday 25th of May 2015

Hi Melanie, I love your website. I happened upon it while researching info on this same cradle. I was given a cradle exactly like this one except mine has wooden slats on the bottom. Were you able to find any additional info on the cradle? Thank you, Robin


Monday 25th of May 2015

I wish I did have more information Robin! But I never was able to learn more about the cradle. It really was a beautiful piece though, and I'm sure yours is as well. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Barbara Ann

Wednesday 21st of May 2014

Christmas time to hold presents. Easter to hold bunnies, the stuffed kind. Summer silk ferns & flowers. But anyone would be lucky to have a new baby to rock in it. Barbara Ann / shop / barbaraannscreations

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