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He recommended I get a pipe cutter, cut off the feeds lower down, then fit them with the kind of shut-off valves that tighten up from the water pressure, since there will be no threads.

I've never heard of that type of shut-off valve. Do you mean valves with compression fittings?

I would NEVER use compression fittings inside a wall. It is not uncommon for them to begin to leak after awhile, and if they're inside the wall, well guess what. Since you are talking shut-offs, I have to presume there will be an access panel available which could make it possible to service those shut offs if they did leak, so maybe compression fittings would be OK. Still, my preference would be soldered valves.

Then there's the cost. What does a low-end pipe cutter go for?

A pipe cutter can be had for well under $10.
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