Just catching up on this thread (I've been out of town for the past week). So, for what it's worth, here are my thoughts and advice.
Listen to what Hobiwan and gweimer1 tell you. Also, if you get any advice from Brian Anderson of Anderson Pens, listen to him as well.
I have tried to fix a bent Estie nib. In my case it was a 9128 (flexible extra fine) that I got greedy about on eBay a couple of years ago and didn't look closely enough at the photos for the listing. And when the pen came the tines were literally bent into an "s" shape when you looked at the nib unit in profile (and yes, my bad, so the seller did get good feedback for the pen being as described -- the photos were there, I just didn't look at them... ).
I very carefully tried to bend the tines back in shape with a couple of pairs of cheap jewelry pliers (on the grounds that I couldn't bork it any worse than it was already). Then I went to a pen show (in that case it was DCSS three summers ago) and shopped the nib around to various nibmeisters. Three of them said "Toss it and get a replacement" -- but I was loathe to do that because the nib alone was being advertised for more than I had pay for the pen. Finally, I took it to Mike Masuyama's table and he cleaned up what I did. (And no, I still haven't tried the pen -- but I got lucky last spring and found an SJ at an antiques store with a 9128 nib for less than I'd paid for the first one even before paying for the nib work).
I will give you one warning though -- Esties are like potato chips, and they breed like rabbits. Or possibly tribbles..... I think I now have about 15 of them, and a few extra nib units as well. I'm partial to the mackerel J series pens myself -- other people like the Pastels, or the Icicles. I've mostly gotten mine on eBay, but I have picked up a couple in the wild, and got a black LJ with a 9284 nib at the Ohio Pen Show last fall.
Esterbrooks are great pens and the prices are still decent (although they've been creeping up over the last couple of years). Some people will call them a third tier brand although I'd dispute that (having some *real* third tier brand pens like Arnolds). I'd call them a second tier brand. They're well made, and they put most of their R&D budget into the nibs. Even my first one, a black SJ with a 1555 Gregg nib, is a decent writer (and the 1xxx nibs are just folded over without any tipping on them). Also, my understanding is that Venus and Osmiroid nib units also fit on them, and that will expand your options if you do end up having to get a replacement nib unit.
Good luck and let us know how things turn out.
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth
"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."