SZAMBOTI CUSTOM CUES

Maker of pool cues from 1989 to present currently in Feasterville, Pennsylvania.

Barry Szamboti grew up in the household of his father, Gus Szamboti, one of the greatest cuemakers that ever lived. As a teenager Barry started helping out in the shop. At first, it was basic tasks, like sweeping the floor, cutting wood, and gluing veneers. As the years passed and the backlog of orders increased, Barry was able to help with more and more aspects of creating Szamboti cues. Ultimately, although he had never completed a cue, he had experience in making every single component of one. After the untimely death of his father from heart disease in 1988, he did not officially start selling cues until he felt they were worthy of the Szamboti name. This was in the spring of 1989, when the first three cues were finished in April. Quite a bit of his early work involved refinishing and restoring cues his father had made. Working with these cues made him even more familiar with what makes a great cue. The first cues Barry made were all marked "BS" on the butt cap. Soon, he was not marking his cues, unless the customer requested it. In 2001 he started marking high end cues with "SZAMBOTI." The cues that are not marked are identifiable by the style and craftsmanship typical of all Szamboti cues. Like his father, Barry is very proud that his cues are made by hand, without the help of CNC machines.

Barry's cues reflect the tradition of his father's work, but incorporate subtle design differences so that they won't be mistaken. For instance, Barry will alter the number of stitches in rings from what his father used. As with cues made by his father, the shafts on a Barry Szamboti cue are of utmost importance in the construction of a cue. Barry discards more shaft wood than most cuemakers today. Over time he continues to become more critical and more selective of materials in order to make even better cues. His shafts always weigh a minimum of four ounces, and usually have 1 1/16 in. ivory ferrules. Most of Barry's cues have bird's-eye maple forearms, with four, six, or eight points of ebony or rosewood. He is sure to use only the finest materials available. Stainless steel joints are most common, but ivory joints are available, as are ivory butt caps.

 Propellers, bar bells, and spears are common inlay themes, in the tradition of Gus Szamboti cues. Barry has taken these designs a step further, as well as creating new ones. He feels driven to continue, and add to, the designs of Szamboti cues, as he knows his father would be doing if he was still working today. Recently Barry started using gold and silver in his cues. Barry rarely makes simple cues, because so many of his custom orders are for elaborately inlaid works. Only six plain Szamboti cues without points have ever been made, and five of them went to Japan. Due to this, the restoration work on Balabushkas and Szambotis that has been keeping him very busy, and because of heart disease, Barry's production has decreased in the last few years. He has made less than twenty cues per year for the past few years, and his goal is to make twenty cues in a year soon.

Although anyone who has seen a Barry Szamboti cue will agree that it is truly a work of art, his utmost importance is their playability. He is somewhat disappointed when he knows a cue has been put into a collection without ever having hit a ball. He loves to make cues for players, even the most basic ones, so that he can hear feedback as to how well they play. Barry offers three different tips for different types of play, and he hand-selects the finest tips from his supply.