I want to bend some 1/4" or 1/8" diameter brass rod to make the perch seen in the photo below. Is there an easy way to do this? I tried in a vice and with a mallet but couldn't get nice round bends. I've also looked at a tool like this but am not sure which would work for the size/shape I want. Any advice is welcome!
Bend it around something like steel pipe ( a mandrel).Clamp one end of the rod and the pipe in a vice and pull or push the rod around ; you can use a hammer It does require a sturdy vice. After the first bend rotate the pipe and rod into the vice jaw to make more bends such as 180 or 360 degrees. Once you practice it is easy; i have made about 25 copper "S" hooks with 270 degree bends on each end; using about 3/16 ' wire. OR, the tools should work well.
That tool looks like it would do the job, and you may be able to construct something similar in your own workshop. If you do build your own, I'd simply advise to be mindful that it does have a flat surface to maintain a single plane for the curves to align on.
In addition to using tools or forms to bend the rod around, heating the metal with a torch will increase malleability, making it easier to shape. I'd recommend testing this with spare material if you do attempt this method, because heating and cooling the metal can impact the molecular structure, durability, fragility and coloration of the metal.