Want to play better pool?

Posted in The Journey on February 22nd, 2013 by John Barton

Start Here.  Here are many videos to help you learn better ways to aim, have a greater understanding of what the balls are really doing and more.  I will add what I find as I go along.  Feel free to add more links in the comments.  Also include any blogs or other sources you find helpful.

Center to Edge Aiming – CTE:

Gerry Williams – 9 Ball Ghost with Pro One/CTE call outs on each shot – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=407YA…ature=youtu.be

Gerry Williams – 9 Ball Ghost using ProOne/CTE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ap5MlEVTamE

Gerry Williams – 40 Ball Run using CTE Aiming – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5HaOfEeSHs

Stan Shuffett – Running racks calling out the aiming point and visual sweep – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48vrXDrjntk

Stan Shuffett – Nine Ball Banks with call outs – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7-lt-RV-nE

Mohrt – Cross Corner Banks using Manual CTE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwdyDAisc6o

Mohrt – Banks with CTE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMhCKSU22Uc

Landon Shuffett vs. Earl Strickland ProOne used in the pro ranks – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HYQjoHjwL4


SEE Sytem – Ekkes Video Channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/ekkibaer
Among other things Ekkes I think has one here where he runs a 7 pack.


General Pool Knowledge:

Mike Page's Video Channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/fargobilliards
Dr. Dave Alciatore – http://www.youtube.com/user/drdavebilliards

Feel free to add more and I will add them to the list. Feel free to copy and paste this list everywhere on the internet. The more people who watch videos about pool the more people will be interested in playing.

Pricing and Value.

Posted in The Journey on December 10th, 2012 by John Barton

Ok, I get it that anyone can charge what they want for their work.  But $2100 for this?

I charged $1200 for this

See the whole cases here – WildFlower

Sometimes I honestly wonder if some people look at customers and see the word SUCKER written on their foreheads.  I always think to myself that I want to be able to look a man in the eyes after I sold him something.  I expect to meet my customers at some time and when I do shows I have to face them year after year.  I never want them to feel like maybe they overpaid for anything I made.  Not saying that this is the case with the one above but when I think of what we do for $1200 and what other people do for $2000, $3000, $3500 I am just shocked sometimes. 

Is this a knock?  Yeah kinda.  I mean I don't know if I can ever REALLY wrap my head around a $2000 cue case as a customer looking for one.  I just personally can't see myself paying that unless I really am wealthy enough that it's not a big deal for me.  But if I build a $2000 case then I am sure as hell going to make it spectacular.  I try to make the $1000 cases pretty awesome as it is and the justification for a case to get much higher than $1500 these days has to be a ton of extra work. 

Here is one that we did for $3500 – Actually it wasn't $3500 but if we make another one then it will be $3500 based on the amount of work.

The whole thing is here:  Palace Garden

Take a look at all the things we did to this case.  It's unreal the amount of extra custom work we did here, even inventing a new way to do handles just so we could tool on the top of the handles.

Compare that to this one for $2600


A gorgeous case to be sure.  Fantastic.

But if the case were made with all cowhide then it would run about $800ish.  – The amount of elephant skin needed to make this case is say 6ft. – to buy an 8ft piece is about $320 http://www.allexoticleather.com/product-p/elbw.htm 

So let's assume that it costs $500 for the leather and whatever extra work it might be to work the elephant hide.  Without subtracting the price of the cowhide that wasn't used we are at about $1300 for this case factoring in the exotic leather.  So WHERE is the extra $1300 coming from? 

The brand?

Ok fine I get it some brands are prestigious.  Hell we bought a freaking $2000 Prada bag in New York City on 5th avenue for a friend of my wife's.  She and I both wouldn't have spent $100 for this bag but her friend wanted a genuine Prada and a specific model.  I get desire. 

But still I operate from a common sense point of view that makes me look for the most I can get for the money I am going to spend.  And when it comes to cue cases I build them like I want to buy them.  I totally understand that the normal average consumer has no idea what those differences really are and so they go on reputation, hype, prestige, ego, and a host of other factors that have nothing to do with the actual case.

Which is why I risk getting told that I am an asshole for daring to make comparisons as above.  A year or so ago I saw a plain case that was covered in Ostrich and it was claimed to be worth $2500.  WHAT???  Now a year later it's still not sold and the price is down to $1100 I think.  Still, WHAT???? 

Anyway, if you want a heavily tooled case or one made with elephant I promise to charge you ONLY the extra costs I incur OVER the price of a plain case.  This means you will get a fantastic case without getting gouged in any way shape or form.  When you get it I want you to feel like you would have gladly paid twice and much for it.  Then take the money you saved and spend it on something else you like.  I will get my big screen TV from the profits off many cases and don't need to get it from one person.

Anyway that's my rant on pricing and value.  Sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes.  Just the way I see it.  The day I can't justify my prices based on the product I sell without any extra emotional appeal is the day I quit building cases.  And I can't put a price on the feeling you will get when you get exactly what you want from a true custom shop anyway.

Have a good one,

John Barton – pool player and case maker.

When Thomas Wayne Liked Me – (and I liked him)

Posted in The Journey on September 22nd, 2012 by John Barton

This is a post Thomas made about me in 1999.  Funny how things change in a decade.




Post reply


help with case purchase – overeaction to idiocy
On Sat, 30 Jan 1999 13:33:50 +0100, inst…@t-online.de (John
Collins) wrote:


>Apology to rest of group; there´s just a wee bit of history and pent up
>frustration here.  Thanks for listening.

Just weighing in with an uninvited and possibly unwelcome opinion

- hide quoted text -


On occasion a thread gets started regarding the "top" list of
cuemakers and who they might be.  For the most part I've stayed out of
those discussions, but when I have weighed in, I've pretty much stuck
to my fundamental belief – that when you reach the upper level of the
upper level of the top floor in ANY pursuit, the "A" list is usually
just too close to rank.  That's why I don't believe there is, or ever
can be a clearly defined 'best' cuemaker.

That being said, John Collins and I have known each other for many
years, and there are lots of little personal and business issues that
we (frankly) don't agree on, sometimes passionately.  But I have
watched his products evolve and grow both in style and quality over
the years, and I have to say that there really is none better.  Now
that is not to say that John's products are specifically "the best",
but rather that they are so good as to be in that ranking that defies
further ranking.

In my never-humble opinion, one mark of success in your field is when
you are copied and imitated by the 'knock-off artists'.  This is a
sure indication that you have developed a product that stands out.  In
the field of cue cases, I've noticed a small group of makers who have
been mercilessly ripped off over the years.  That short list is:

Fellini (now defunct)
Joe Porper
Jack Justis
Dan Whitten
Instroke (John Collins)

Interestingly enough, each of these makers seems (to me) to have a
particular area of excellence that makes their product worthy of
owning – and desirable for the product thieves to copy.  Skipping the
long-gone Fellini, those qualities are:

Joe Porper – Joe invented the closed-cell foam cored case and has
consistently produced one of the finest, most durable and protective
(not to mention affordable) cases ever made.  I have watched him
continually devise new and improved versions of his original classic
design, and his latest all-leather 2×4, with its patented top closure
is, IMO, world class stuff.

Jack Justis – one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet, Jack has
consistantly built some of the most beautiful and downright pretty cue
cases I've ever seen.  His devotion to quality materials, meticulous
attention to detail and masterful leather work remain unmatched in
this arena.

Dan Whitten – Like his peers, Dan's devotion to quality materials and
clean workmanship results in a product that impressively stands out in
any crowd.  Pretty much every casemaker offers various accessory
pouches, handles, shoulder straps and other doodads, and Dan is no
exception to that practice.  But his benchmark product, for my taste
at least, is his classic 1×2, no handles, pouches or other
whatchamacallits.  Sleek and streamlined, easy to grab in one hand,
this basic frontrunner just oozes simple ellegance.  Even decked out
in a Nicole Miller tux and Italian shoes, carrying my black leather
Whitten makes me feel just a bit underdressed.

John Collins – John's stuff is okay too.

Alright already, just a little poke in the ribs there.
Actually, the Instroke cases, from John Collins, are some of the most
original and innovative creations I've ever seen.  His very original
eye for design and practicality have led the field, and thus spawned
more than his share of imitators.  I am proud to have a few of his
cases – as well as every maker mentioned here – and I know first hand
they are as good as it gets.

'Nuff said.  

Now, John, if I could just get you to pull yor head out of your ass
long enough to see everything ELSE my way, we'd get along great…

Thomas Wayne


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