Good work; I saw you there. Yes, they ovalized the end of the thread area, and I managed to squeeze it back round, at least round enough to insert the right stem and thread the headset parts on. I used a 14 inch channel-lock and a pair of wood buffers. It took about 15 squeezes, in several different directions. No added thread damage.
Plan is to assemble the fork to the frame, finish reassembling the bike, and do some smooth-road test rides, just a few hours. That will be enough to tell me if I like the bike and geometry, which is the main point of this whole project. If I do like the geometry, I'll get a replacement.
Update 1: The headset install feels pretty darn good! It adjusted correctly and spins freely 360 degrees.
Last edited by Road Fan; 11-16-09 at 05:25 PM.