THE REMATCH – The Lion vs. The South Dakota Kid!

Posted in Pool in General on August 23rd, 2011 by John Barton

The first battle was epic.  For 2 Days Shane pounded on Alex and by the third day with just 30 games to go Shane was ahead by 15 games.   Shane needed to win 30 games and Alex need an incredible 45 games.  Alex clawed back and by the time Shane had won 22 games Alex had won 37 and made up the deficit – NOW it was a race to 8 for all the money.  Alex prevailed with Shane only winning two more games.  Most of us feel that this was one of the greatest comebacks in pool ever.  

Now, after three years and many battles in between, Alex and Shane are going back to where it all started.  The Action Report kicks off their new studio with the rematch of the century so far.  

Reap What You Sow

Posted in The Journey on August 18th, 2011 by John Barton

I am a dick.  I screw people's hopes and dreams.  Often someone will come to me with a vision for a case and I enthusastically walk with them and talk about their vision.  I get caught up in thinking about how their case would look and promise to make it.  

The problem is that my enthusiasm oversteps my ability.  Since I can't say no I try to take on everyone's requests and almost always I find myself at the center of many such conversations where I promised to make someone's dream come true but am failing to deliver.  It's not because I can't do the work.  Hell I have 10 people working for me who can make just about any cue case that can be conceived of.  It's precisely because we often turn out work that other case makers can't do that I am approached.

And I want to make all these great cases that my customers and myself envision.  But the nature of reality is that things get built in the imaginary space far easier than in the real world.  In the real world people have sore fingers, leather is inconsistent, people get in bad moods, people are lazy and uninspired, artists can't translate your fantasies, mistakes are made and just life in general conspires against the best of intentions.  It takes hard work to be consistently creative and cut through life's clutter.  I am a lazy dick who doesn't want to put in that amount of work.  I want to have ideas and sit on a hill top and communicate those ideas to a bunch of hardworking folks who will carry out my ideas faithfully and flawlessly.  Sounds a bit familiar doesn't it?  In any event any artist likes to hear praise like this;

Jack,, from my very first case 2×4, to my second 2×4 Andy Stevens tooled, to the third 3×6, to this ross tooled 3×6 beauty being my fourth, and meeting you this year at SBE i love your work. I dont have any of the first three cases any longer, the tooled extreme 3×6 by you and Mr. Ross is what I have of yoursand truly charish. You are great to talk to via email, the phone, and in person, you also make a promise on things that you keep. You do what ya say and say what ya do!,period and i respect that alot. Your work is excellent and prices are fair.

Id never sell this case, its not for sale, and will only be in my old days when I give up pool for good, so so give it 20years +lol

Thanks Jack and Ron
P.S. Cant wait for the 2×4 gray elephant with black ross tooled accents/pockets!

It is in reference to this case:

Which is an absolutely stunning piece of work done by master tooler Ron Ross and assembled by cue case maker Jack Justis.  The owner heaps praise on both men deservedly so.  But he is also heaping criticism on me for failing to deliver on making a case he ordered a long time ago.  We had agreed to trade for a Justis 3×6 and I had agreed to make him a very nice case.  Nothing to hard but I completely let him down.  So as much as Jack and Ron deserve praise for this case I deserve every bit of criticism contained in this passage.

The proverb goes "be careful what you wish for because you may get it".  I have longed to have a shop capable of producing cases of this caliber and beyond.  This case represents an amazing marriage of 40 years of solid leather tooling mastery and 20 years of solid cue case making.  Our shop now is capable of doing all the technical aspects of making cases that go far beyond what Mr. Justis chooses to do.  Not a knock on him as he has settled for a particular well-defined style and limited options to make his cases.  We have chosen to be fairly unlimited in our approach to case making.  This has it's advantages as we are able to make each case to the customer's desire with little compromise on the customer's side.  And the disadvantage is that we have many details to contend with that our competition does not.  Get one wrong and we are taking the case apart and rebuilding it.  Obviously this slows down the process considerably.  So anyway I have what I wished for and now I have to learn to control it.

My wife, who deserves a ticker tape parade down Wall Street for putting up with me, is helping me to herd these cats and organize our little workshop into a super-efficient machine that turns desire into reality without me gumming up the works.  My friend Sean Leinen calls the IT wizards pizza-under-the-door guys.  People who sit in their super-cooled environments and work tech-magic and don't want to be bothered except by a pizza slid under the door every couple days.  That's my next wish.  I love making cases.  I love making people happy.  I don't like pissing people off and dashing their expectations.  So if I have been a dick to you or your order through a heavy flirting session followed by neglect, I am sorry.  I can't promise to get much better about it but I can promise that as a team we are all working to make your cases.  I hope that I don't get any more of these backhanded rebukes which I deserved.

The case however is now for sale if someone else wants to own this masterpiece:

I doubt that the current owner is looking to order from me but if he does this time we are ready to rock it.


John Barton – crazy case maker.

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