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I've done both routes...cutting up old junk pipes and starting with fresh stainless J-bends.

pros/cons of the old junk pipes are:
-cheap, if you have the right raw material
-look fine if you wrap/paint them
-not so cheap to chrome
-you might not have the exact bend you want/need
-weld up with flux core MIG if that's what you have

Just did a loooong set of pipes for a honda chop basically for free...used a lot of junk pipes and some header paint. Investment practically $0.
Having the right raw material is key.

pros/cons of stainless j-bends
-can be pricey. I've got probably $200 in the exhaust on my gooseneck.
-look really nice once finished up/ground/polished. No chrome needed. Plus I like the yellowed stainless look once they get hot a few times.
-need to be able to weld stainless. I tig welded mine.

Key on either type of pieced together exhaust is the fitting of the pieces together. My stainless pipes came out really nice; I have to point out where the joints are on it. The pipes on the honda, not so nice, but we were in a big hurry/low $$$/rat chop mode anyways.

Don't know anyone that has mandrel bending equip. at home; it's pretty specialized. What you could do is piece it together to give him a pattern to follow. You wouldn't have to be pretty on the fitting of the joints either.

Hope this helps.
 
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