So, I finally got around to giving this system "The Gresh Test" last night...finally.
First up was a 3/4 PVC "T" joint, which bent into all sorts of wacky shapes. PVC for fat guys was a bust, it seems.
Next was a short piece of copper pipe, again about 3/4".
Great success, but I don't wanna use metal - it's like a blade against the Amsteel. Gonna try to find an appropriate dowel next.