Riding: 1960s Falcon commuter; Queued: 1977 Bob Jackson, 1983 Serotta Club Special, 1984 Motobécane Team Champion, 1983 Guerciotti SLX, 1974 Harding (like Holdsworth Pro), 1974 Peugeot PX10LE, 1970s Jeunet Franche-Comté, 1974 Raleigh International
Cracked (not separated) forged dropout; repair?
I bought a vintage Motobecane frame with chromed rear stays and dropouts. Unfortunately, the drive-side rear dropout seems to have a crack about 3/4 the way through the chainstay web, right at the front of the raised dropout face, starting at the top. Please see attached photo. Is it a lost cause, or dodgy venture, to have it repaired by welding (grinding material away if that's necessary), or should I bite the bullet and have both rear dropouts replaced? I'd love to replace just the one, but they're obscure Simplex ones, that I'd probably never find a match for.
I understand that the chroming complicates things. Correct me if I'm wrong: there's really no way to rechrome the dropouts without rechroming the whole length of the stays as well. Actually, the whole frame is chromed, and the triangle painted over that, as is not uncommon. Chrome (though French ;-)) is in good shape, very little spotting/rusting.
I had a similar crack, although it was nearer the dropout/chainstay joint. Paul Sadoff (Rock Lobster in Santa Cruz) repaired it by putting a "V" groove in the dropout along the crack, then welding (not brazing) the crack. He cleaned up the weld and had just the dropout rechromed (before painting). It has held up nicely and is virtually undetectable.