refinishing an old Fairbanks scale


posted by on Kitchen, Renovations/DIY, Thrift, second hand, dumpster finds



fairbanks weight scaleHi

In between my lung surgery and my heart attack I managed to refinish one of the many projects I have on the go; an old Fairbanks scale that I picked up last fall. I think I paid around fifty dollars for it. Is that a bargain? I have no idea.

fairbanks weightscale

It was is pretty rough shape when I picked it up but I could see with a bit of work it would look awesome on our kitchen counter. It was painted a terrible orangey colour as you can see.

I used some paint stripper to get it down to the base. I could have had it sand blasted to get the surfaces perfect but I planned on painting it to match the kitchen so there was no need for that.

weight scale before x2

Once I took off most of the paint I then took it apart. Note: when doing something like this take a few pictures because you are going to need them when you try to put it back together. Of course I never and I had a heck of a time figuring out where things went. Actually I gave up and Todd put it back together. ;)

cleaning weight svcale collage 2

Once I had it all apart I worked on removing the rust and basically just cleaning it before I sprayed it. I went online and searched a few methods to do this. So with supplies I had on hand I went to work trying a few of them out.

Method one; Baking soda and lemon.  Method two; potato and salt. Method three; vinegar and baking soda.

cleaning weight scale

Each one had its benefits and did great at removing dirt and rust. My preferred method was vinegar and baking soda using an old toothbrush.

Once the scale was clean I picked up some spray paint. Semi gloss black by Rustoleum, heirloom white also by Rustoleum in a satin finish and a grey again by Rustoleum in a metal finish. I wanted to be able to see the different finishes and you can really see it in this picture below.

refinishing old fairbanks scale

The galvanized bowl was easy to paint. spray, dry, spray, flip and repeat.

refinishing old fairbanks scale

Individual pieces, like the weights and innards I placed on a drop cloth and gave them a few coats of semi gloss black. For the body I sprayed the black upright piece first then once it was completely dry (I left it twenty-four hours) I used painters tape and carefully cover it. Because the stem (long upright part) was circular I used many small pieces to cover it that’s why it was important to make sure it was dry. The rest I just covered with an old cloth. I was sure I had taken pictures but I can’t find them. Oops.

weight scale collage

Then using the heirloom white, which is beautiful by the way, I sprayed the base. Again spray, dry, spray.

weight scale finished 1

I did leave the long measure arm paint free. I gave it a good clean though. I felt if it was painted it would have made the piece look cheap and plastic. With it left natural it looks like an antique that’s in great condition. I also love the patina on the metal.

before and after

With it finished and brought upstairs to the kitchen we added felt pads to the bottom to prevent damage to the counter top. It now sits proudly at the end of the counter.

So there you have it, another project off the list. Todd again is happy.

refinishing old fairbanks scale


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  1. Toni

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