I have a lovely old bicycle from 1948 that I use around The Towns. Single speed, fillet-brazed, perfect geometry, maybe a little heavy by today's standards. I've added some marvelously cheap wire baskets on the rear rack. For use in civilization they make more sense than panniers. They're not worth stealing so I don't have to take them with me when I go inside, and I can just dump my grocery bags in them without bothering with straps and buckles. Together they also create a wide platform for carrying lager parcels that would be hard to balance on just a rack.
I bought a front rack to make the bicycle perfect but, and this is how things like this must be, the rack didn't fit.
For some reason I had imagined that the rack could be fastened on the front wheel axle. But the holes in the tangs (those strips at the bottom) were too small, and I couldn't make them larger without breaking the tangs. And if I had managed to pull it off, the rack would tilt forwards instead of being parallell to the bicycle's top tube.
If I had read the documentation properly, I would have known that the lower parts of the rack were supposed to be fastened to the fork's braze-ons. But a lot of bicycles don't have them. Newer bicycles often lack them due to some misguided idea about sacrificing usefulness for the sake of shaving off pennies and ounces. And other bicycles, like mine, were made in a time when stuff was fastened to the frame and fork using other methods.
So I had to make my own faux "braze-ons".
I found a truss mending plate I had lying around, and drilled appropriately large holes to fit on each side of front axle. The small holes that were there to start with were perfectly braze-on-sized.
I then used a hack saw to make the shapes sort of as I wanted them. I'm still amazed that one can actually saw metal with just a little bit of elbow grease. And a nice tool.
The pieces were really horribly sharp around the edges. Accident wating to happen.
Then I clamped them together and filed them around the edges to make them vaguely uniform in appearance.
Then I fitted them around the axle, together with the fender stays. The bolts now don't go all the way in. There are all kinds of chemical thread-fastening substances people use to keep their nuts and bolts in place, I've usually used hair spray but I don't have any lying around at the moment. Using safety wire is another option, but nothing helps if there's insufficient contact between the threads of the nut and bolt. Maybe slimming down the fender stays would help.
But to be honest, I feel my fake braze-ons look sort of professional. Satisfied with self.
I the fitted the rack to it all. This involved som drilling into the fender and fastening it to the rack to avoid rattling etc.
I like front racks better than handle bar bags, as my handle bar bags always end up rattling and rolling around, being fastened only to one point and always overloaded. However, this rack doesn't really do anything except look good until I get some useful straps, a bag or a box.
Also, I have to stop looking at it while bicycling. Should pay attention to the traffic instead.
Update: This post got a mention on the VeloOrange blog, a site with plenty of interest for owners of classic bicycles.