Antique Balance Scale Restoration

I found two heavily trashed Ainsworth antique balance scales at the flea market. $40 later, they followed me home. Between the two carcasses, I was able to get parts to assemble one complete unit.IMG_0016-001 I should probably also mention that the finished product is not “original”. A true collector would probably shudder at the fact that I took artistic license by┬áremoving (and not replacing) several parts simply because I thought they were ugly. You can see clues of that from the photo sequence.

The photos will not be much of a “how to”, but do show before and after. The steps it took to get from A to Z were:

  • Complete dissassembly including all the glass panes.
  • Sandblasting (at the Tech Shop) all the cabinet parts to remove old chipped paint
  • Repainting (I build a paint booth from plastic sheeting to keep dust off the drying surfaces). All the painting was with rattle-cans. I don’t have a sprayer.
  • Cleaning all the brass and glass, replacing some glass panes
  • Fabricating some simple parts such as retaining clips for glass
  • Reassembly

The whole process took about 3 months. The finished product really looks outstanding on display in our family room.

Starting point. Two Ainsworth laboratory balances. The “church steeples” on top will be removed.


This one will be the “donor”, while the “piano key” balance will be restored.


Part way back to the living. Painting of the main cabinet parts complete.


Main balance pillar and weight controls after reassembly


Underside view of piano weight adjust mechanism


Almost like new!



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