Quality Italian steel frame with a bent dropout, what are my options?
Back story, feel free to skip the next two paragraphs if not interested.
I recently picked up a Simonelli frame with a bent driveside dropout for free from a local BF member who built me a set of wheels. I mentioned that I was looking for a quality but damaged frame to practice on (try to repair it, add some braze-ons, if junk then salvage lugs, straight tubes bb shell...etc. just general practice with the torch).
The frame he gave me is a Simonelli that somebody put a lot of effort into hiding it's identity by covering most of it in thick paint and then covering the entire thing in electrical tape. Removing some of the tape I was able to find some original Simonelli decals and Simonelli is engraved in the BB shell, and possibly the chain stay caps (covered with thick paint, hard to tell). The frame is a little big for me (56 square) but I could actually make it work as I prefer a 56 top tube, just leaves me with not much standover--still, I would like to rescue it as it is certainly a high quality frame and would be a fun project.
The frame is straight and is Columbus tubing of some sort. Rear stays are fully chromed, dropouts are Campagnolo. Drive side dropout is spread about 5 extra mm wide at the open end and derailleur hanger is bent inwards by about the same amount. (I'll get some pictures up tonight). However, the stays appear to still be straight and in good alignment.
How should I go about reparing the dropout? Can I just heat it and bend it back? I'm not worried about damaging the chrome, as this bike will need a complete refinish if the repair goes well regardless.
Think I need to replace the dropout?
How bad/toxic is it to heat up chrome?
I would just bend it back cold. There is no real need for heat and any real heat will ruin the chrome and any paint nearby.
It's hard to say for sure without seeing a photo but I doubt you'll need to replace the dropout. I say this because I can't tell you how many I've bent back over the years and they work just fine. There are a few tools that one needs to do the job well/right but it's not hard work.
The dropout slot being spread open like it is makes it a bit more tricky but it's absolutely doable. The shop will need "H" tools and a hanger alignment tool like John D posted above and you should be all set.
If the shop has the tools it's a 15 minute job at best and it's done all the time.
A rear derailler probably got sucked into the wheel to bend the DO like that. I would use a stout C-clamp to bend the bottom back parallel with the top and then get the hangar aligned. Fortunatly, there is little weight/stress carried by the bottom half of the dropout, it only really serves to keep the wheel from slipping forward. If you get it bent back without cracking, it should be fine.