What does it take to learn to fix this?
I know, silly question.
But really, having it shipped off, worked on, refinished and shipped back is not cheap. And being into vintage steel this may not be the last crack I'll encounter.
So what does it take? Lots of equipment? Evening classes? Apprenticeship in the big city?
Or should I just toss it and go hunt on eBay?
the thing that stinks is that it's chromed, which for safety should be removed. The easiest way of fixing it is to tig weld the crack, but that's a ~2k investment plus learning to tig. Short of that, you could braze in a new dropout since they are still easily available. Of course, that requires removing more chrome. So restoring it to the original is going to be expensive no matter if you do the work yourself or not. Actually learning to restore classic bikes is something you can't pay to learn, you have to invest a lot in tools and probably take classes and then try to figure out how to do the things that only a few people are doing but not teaching.
I'd fill the crack and the adjuster hole with brass and just ride it without the adjuster.
without removing the chrome, and without bending the drop back in shape?
you can do it without removing the chrome, but you are risking your health. I'm sure John meant after you bend it back