When I was much younger, I removed the exhaust from an old car. It took all day long. All of the rusty bolts were some serious knuckle busting hardship. Now that I am older, wiser and have more and better tools (the impact wrench and impact wratchet to be specific), I did this in about 20 mins. With a saws-all, I cut the muffler off of the rest of the exhaust pipe, and finished the job with a cutting wheel and an air hammer. Completely removing all welded muffler parts from the exhaust took another half hour. I removed the surface rust with a wire brush and that's when I figured out that the exhaust was still in fairly good shape. I spent about an hour or so cleaning rust off the pipes by hand with a wire brush and getting them prepared to be painted (a hand-held media blaster would have sped that up quite a bit...why the hell didn't I buy one when it was on sale for $15?). I didn't remove the exhaust manifolds today, but I'm planning on doing that tomorrow so I can clean them up and seal out rust with some left-over high temp paint. I painted the pipe that I took off today, and it looks really nice.
Here's a pic of what I removed from the car.
I hope tomorrow's tasks go as smoothly. We're probably going to be painting and hanging blinds in addition to my rusty endeavors.