The Protection Your Cue Needs™

The Palace Garden

This is the Palace Garden.  It is the most ornate case we have made to date.  The owner of this case is a German collector who is a biker who is also into orchids.  The reason that this case is called the Palace Garden is that I chose to do a path of flowers around the case which is like the gardens in the German palaces. The pattern is unbroken and winds around the case. As you turn the case around you can follow the path and always see different florals.  Click on the case to take your own stroll around the case.

So by now you have figured out that we make cue cases.  Welcome to JB Cases.

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 to go and work for Sterling Gaming Billiard Supplies .  Sterling sent me to China in 2006 and I worked for them as an employee until 2010.  Today  I work with them as a supplier/consultant  to create new cases and other products.

I started out in my attic in Koblenz Germany 1991 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 little team, around 200 cases before we moved into mass production in 1994.  My thoughts however always stayed with all the unique cases we had created in the beginning.

Starting over in May 2007 and thanks to the opportunity provided by Sterling Gaming, I began taking orders again. 

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.  In 1990 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 butt cap 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 I felt it should and that was to protect my cues until I removed them from it.

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 kind of protection am I talking about?  Read about it here in depth, Protection Matters.

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 a non-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.

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 any thing 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.

Cookie cutter vs. similar models.  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 those 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 many of 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.

For example the case you see below is an example of a true custom case from start to finish and 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

This case is a model called the Chris case which is a great example of a customer starting with a particular case and adding the things he wanted:

Then along comes Jim Murphy and says he wants the Chris case but modified to look like this:

So you can see that we aren't constrained and we are willing to try anything.

A new addition to our offerings is the return of the Butterfly cases.  Now we had sold a few butterfly cases since 2007 but this new crop are the ones I am really proud of as they are completely redesigned from the interior out.   I spent several months refining the interior to make it super user friendly and protective.  Without a doubt ours are the very best on the market at this time.

Check them out here - Butterfly Cases

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 modern 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.

As mentioned above am proud to announce that the creation of the J.Flowers Line of cases is going well.  Jasper "Jay"  Flowers along with case maker Nora Van Horn were pioneers in this business. We have created a line to honor their contribution.  J.EF Q Cases or "Flowers" cases as they were better known inspired many case makers including myself and Jack Justis Cases.

Where do JB Cases come from?

Well, from my mind to start with, but people who ask this question want to know what patch of Earth the cases are produced on. 

At present I live and work in Xiamen, China. I have built a small workshop to design and create pool cue cases.  Although I can and do work on every aspect of making cases I prefer to direct.  My talent lies in figuring out new ways to build 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, four master seamstresses 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 possiblilty for us.  All in all we are up to 9 of us who are committed to making the very best in custom leather cue cases.

I will do my utmost  to provide the highest level of protection using the very best materials to fit your desired design and your stated needs. We won't be able to do the impossible but we might get close and surprise you with the results. All I ask in return beyond the price we agree on is your patience.  The actual construction of the case can take anywhere from a few days to a month.  The most time consuming part however is designing the perfect case.  Each customer gets the same special attention and you can see how having a  lot of orders will make it more difficult to respond to all inquiries quickly. We will get it done though and it will be worth the wait.

After nearly 20 years in this profession I am proud to say that myself and my team are ready to make you the case of your dreams.

Thank you for your time,

John Barton
Cue Case Maker

If you aren't in the market yet for our style of cases then I recommend the following makers. Please note that I don't endorse the relative protectivenessof these brands, with the exception of the ones I am involved with.  I do however feel that all them build solid cue cases worth owning.  If your favorite case maker has been left off the list then I either don't know them, aren't familiar with their work or wouldn't use their case myself.

GTF Cases - GTF/Roy Malott has revived the Fellini and Centennial style of case.  - Shameless Plug - We make these and we added some improvements to an already great design.  GTF cases are now the best in class for this style.  As one customer said, "GTF is like Fellini on Steroids".

Sterling Pool Cue Cases and Billiard Supplies
- A wide assortment of inexpensive pool cue cases.
(most models JB Case Design and featuring JB Case interiors)

Nittany Leather Custom Cue Cases - Brian Bonner builds solid and elegant cue cases. It's been rumored that Brian isn't making cases any more.  Well the site is still there so you can look at least.
Whitten Custom Cue Cases - Dan and Joe and family make the Jaguar of cue cases.  Easily the sleekest cases on the market a Whitten is very upscale.
Instroke Leather Cue Cases - My former company and my designs of course. Not much has changed since 1993. Now a "classic" design and still solid.

On Q Custom Cue Cases -  Garth Bair is making fine cases and specializes in the inlay designs.
Dennis Swift Custom Cue Cases - I have never met Dennis but have seen plenty of his cases.  Swift cases are well crafted, traditionally tooled workhorses.
Jack Justis Custom Cue Cases - Jack is a legend in the cue case business.  Originally based off the style created by Jay Flowers and Dennis Swift he has now forged his own distinctive look. Jack and I don't get along but he builds a decent case.
Adamant Leather - Marcel is a new case maker with amazing creativity.
Jim Murnak Leather Cases - Jim is closer to my taste in cases with his willingness to step outside the box on design.
Steve Price Cases - Steve has been around the game since the 60s.

Chas Clements - Chas holds a special place for me. He is a leather artist and casemaker of the highest art.
We collaborated on a few cases while I had Instroke and each one was beyond compare and sold within one hour of being offered.
  Chas was injured several years ago and that injury all but ended his leather working career.   If you can get any work done by Chas you will have a treasure for life. This entry is more a tribute to his legacy but I hop he can return to work.

Other new custom cue case makers who are making a name for themselves with impressive work are Rusty Melton and Marc Turcasso, Rex Goulet and Del W.  None of these makers have a website yet but when they do I will list them here.  You may also check my gallery where I add pictures of the work of new and old case makers as I find them.  I am a bit of a case historian and like to collect and discuss information about them.
The Gallery - Other Case Makers

JB CASES™ - John Barton Cases™ - GTF™ - Sterling™ - J.Flowers™  All images and text are copyright  ?2010 by John Barton
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