Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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A buddy of mine once welded half an inch onto his steerer tube once, and it worked for a while just fine. The danger is that steerer tubes are often very slightly different diameters, so even after you filed down the weld to be smooth, the diameter of the bit you welded on and that of the fork's intact steerer tube might differe just enough to make your stem fit like utter crap and have there be some play involved. If it means the difference between riding and not, I'd say do it if you're VERY CONFIDENT in the welding ability of the guy that you're getting to do it for you. It's not nearly as expensive as you think it is, but you may not be happy with the results. Look for a frame manufactuer that's relatively close to you, perhaps, but most of the welders I know in any industry aren't exactly hacks. Anyone will do as long as the penetration on the weld is proper deep enough.
Alternatively, take out any spacers underneath your stem, maybe try a headset with a lower stack height. All that will probably mess with the bike fit though, so you'd have to adjust all the usual variables (crank arm length, seatpost height, etc.) to compensate.
Chances are though that you should just try to return the fork from the place you bought it from though, unless you're unable to. If you're not able to, try to sell it or trade it to someone else.
Something will work if you want it to badly enough.