My name is John Barton. I have been a leather cue case maker since 1991. In 1991 I founded Instroke Cue Cases. In 2003 I sold my stake in Instroke and took a break from cue case making.
I started out making only one-of-a-kind unique cases. Each one was either a creation of my own devising or a collaboration between the customer's desire and my interpretation of that desire. In this way I crafted, with my team, around 200 cases before we moved into mass production in 1994. My thoughts always stayed with all the unique cases we had created in the beginning.
Starting over in May 2007, I began taking orders again. Until now, in May 2009 we have made around 60 unique cases from mild to wild. Additionally we started a new semi-production line where we are approaching the 100 case mark.
My philosophy is protection first. I started making cases for one simple reason, protection. Not just any protection either. Specifically, protection against damage resulting from your cues coming out of the case when you don't want them to. I had a $1400 Schon Cue that was broken because my open case was knocked off the table and the cue shot out of it and broke the buttcap as it clattered on the floor. That case was a $400 tooled leather beauty. Top of the line at the time. But it didn't do the one thing Ifelt it should and that was to protect my cues until I removed them from it.
What kind of protection am I talking about? Read about it here in depth, Protection Matters.
As mentioned above, each case I make does not release the cues until you take them out.
Each case has high density foam rubber to pad against impact contusions. Each case has layers of insulation to provide some protection against environmental changes.
Each case is lined with anon-abrasive and non-moisture absorbing material to protect the finish from scratches and to help keep the cue dry.
No cue parts will be allowed to touch each other at any point. Your cue will as protected as the design you choose allows for.
A case's function is first to protect it's contents and second to provide easy access to it's contents. Following that idea I build cases where the form follows the function. Another way to look at it is a center-out approach. Using the cues as the center, I put several layers of protection around them. What is a custom case?
A leather custom case is one that is made to your specifications within the limit of our abilities. Each case we make is absolutely unique. Some case makers will settle on a particular pattern and all of their cases will be simple variations of that pattern. This is their look and style. Our style is that there is not anything that we won't try. The only thing we won't do is make an exact copy of one of our case making colleague's work. Other than that our only limitation is imagination and resources.
Over time we have found that some customers like the look of certain patterns we use and to that end we will also build cases using patterns we have developed. So over the past few years we have developed several categories of cases, not lines, but simply models we named when we did the first one. Then the next person comes along and says,"build me one like the Rolls Royce" and we do with a little twist here and there to keep it fresh and unique.
The major difference between us and our colleagues is that we don't charge extra to change our patterns around to suit your desire. If it takes us a few minutes more to make you a longer or higher pocket then it's not a big deal. We laser cut our parts and we are experts in modifying the pattern quickly and correctly.
The case you see below was a year in the making from first concept to finished case. It has many innovative features and custom parts on it that you absolutely will not find anywhere else.
See more of it here Doc's Case
What else do we do? We design cue cases for the mass market as well. We spend a lot of time researching and developing every aspect of cue cases. Currently our new interiors and exterior designs are featured on 40 new and improved models being sold by Sterling Gaming. We are also proud to say that we were chosen to make moden versions of the Fellini and Centennial cases, the GTF cases. Even if you don't decide on a custom JB Case then there are plenty of choices out there to benefit from our dedication to cue protection.
I am proud to announce the creation of the J.Flowers Line of cases as well. Jasper "Jay" Flowers was a pioneer in this business and we have created a line to honor his contribution. He stopped making in the mid 90s and left us in 2003. Jay inspired many case makers including myself and the great Jack Justis.
At present I live and work in Xiamen, China. I have built a small workshop to design and create pool cue cases. My team consists of myself as the chief designer, teacher, quality control and marketing manager, a master tooler who focuses on the tooled and carved designs, a master seamstress for all the sewing aspects, two apprentices for the tooling and construction and one graphic designer for the pattern making. There is almost nothing outside the realm of possibility for us.
And that's the end of my shameless advertisment. Johanna said to do it.
Thank you for your time,
John Barton, Cue Case Maker
Other stuff we do:
GTF Cases - GTF has revived the Fellini and Centennial style of case. - Shameless Plug - We did these and added some improvements to an already great design. GTF cases are now the best in class for this style.
Sterling Pool Cue Cases and Billiard Supplies - A wide assortment of inexpensive pool cue cases.
(most models JB Case Design)