Frequently Asked Questions about Disc Bound Notebooks

Myndology Luna Disc Bound Notebooks
Myndology Luna Disc Bound Notebooks

Disc bound notebooks have specially punched loose sheets of paper that are bound together by small circular discs. This binding system makes it easy to  customize, organize and re-organize your notebook without ruining your work or your notebook! Companies such as Myndology, Clairefontaine, Levenger, Staples, Atoma and Rollabind have their own versions of disc bound notebooks. We’d like to answer a few frequently asked questions about this style of notebook.

Is the paper interchangeable among the different brands of disc bound notebooks?

The answer is yes and no. The shape of the discs and shape of the hole punched in the paper of many brands of disc bound notebooks (such as Myndology, Clairefontaine, Staples Arc, Levenger Circa, Rollabind, Martha Steward and Atoma) is similar and therefore the paper can be used with different brands of discs. Mixing brands can make it a little bit more difficult to turn pages, so if this bothers you for best results stick to the same brand.

The “no” part of the answer is that paper sizes (and insert sizes) vary from brand to brand which might mean you don’t want to mix brands. For example, if you try to fit a metric A4 size piece of paper (approx 8.25″ x 11.75″) inside an American notebook that takes 8.5″ x 11″ paper, you’ll find that the A4 size paper is too tall so it sticks out the top/bottom of the American notebook. Some medium size American notebooks are 6.5″ x 8.5″, but a metric A5 medium size notebook is 6.5″ X 8.25″ and so on. However, it could be fine if you are using small sheets of paper inside a large size of notebook.

Myndology Sync Disc Bound Notebooks
Myndology Sync Disc Bound Notebooks

Are paper refills available?

Yes, most companies offer a variety of paper refills. One exception is Clairefontaine which, as of this date, has not yet made separate paper refills available for their disc bound notebooks.  A suggestion for Clairefontaine users: If you’re using a Clairefontaine Clairing Koverbook you can buy a cheaper card stock covered Clairefontaine Clairing notebook and use the paper inside that as a refill for your Koverbook. Myndology offers paper refills with college ruled, graph or plain paper.

Myndology Plain Paper Refill
Myndology Plain Paper Refill

Can I punch my own paper and make my own refills?

Yes, several companies offer hole punches so that you can make your own paper refills.

Does it matter what kind of paper I use for making my own refills?

Yes, paper quality and weight do make a difference. Good quality paper that is a heavier weight than your average 20 lb copy paper will give you best results in your disc bound notebook. Clairefontaine disc bound notebooks contain 90 g bright white paper that works beautifully with fountain pens.

Clairefontaine Clairing Notebook with French Ruled Paper
Clairefontaine Clairing Notebook with Fountain Pen Friendly French Ruled Paper

Can I use a punch to make my own covers?

Yes, many punches are strong enough to punch through card stock and even light weight plastic.

Can I buy accessories like dividers?

Yes, dividers and other accessories are commonly available. Myndology offers folders with pockets and 8 movable tabs for both medium and large size notebooks. Clairefontaine does not sell accessories separately, instead they include 2 book mark flaps with an integrated clear pockets to store documents, one adhesive label and 5 repositionable polypro dividers with their disc bound medium and large size Koverbooks.

Clairefontaine Clairing Koverbook Accessories
Clairefontaine Clairing Koverbook Accessories

Can I buy discs separately?

Many companies allow you to purchase discs separately so that you can make your own custom disc bound notebooks.  The discs are made from a variety of different materials and come in different colors. Clairefontaine does not make discs available separately, but Myndology does.

Myndology Disc Bound Notebooks with 5/8" Discs
Myndology Disc Bound Notebooks with 5/8″ Discs

Can I get different sizes of discs?

If you buy discs separately, you’ve got a bigger choice of disc size to choose from. We’ve seen discs that range in size anywhere from 3″ to 0.25″.

Of course, products change over time so some of the information in this blog post may change over time too. Do you have any tips you’d like to share about disc bound notebooks? Any questions? New discoveries? Ideas? Let us know!

Clairefontaine Clairing Notebooks with Graph Paper
Clairefontaine Clairing Notebooks with Graph Paper
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Exacompta Refillable Pocket Journal Review

Exacompta Refillable Pocket Journal with Club Covers
Exacompta Refillable Pocket Journal with Club Covers

Exacompta Pocket Journals are adorable yet sophisticated notebooks for your purse, pocket, briefcase or backpack. They are the perfect size for journaling on the go or while traveling.

Exacompta Pocket Journal with a Lilac Club Cover
Exacompta Pocket Journal with a Lilac Club Cover

The gold-colored page edges of the pocket journal add a touch of class to the high quality paper it contains. The paper is made in France by Clairefontaine and has the exceptionally smooth finish that is the hallmark of their writing paper. Even though the journal is only 1/2″ thick, it contains 192 sheets of lined ivory paper. The lines are light grey, are spaced 7 mm apart and do not go all the way to the edge of the page. To fit so many pages into such a compact size, Exacompta has used a light-weight yet strong 55 g paper.

Exacompta Pocket Journal with a Turquoise Club Cover
Exacompta Pocket Journal with a Turquoise Club Cover

The journal insert is covered in a flexible, textured. light brown colored cardboard. The sewn binding enables you to open it without fear of the pages coming loose and falling out. Each page is perforated in the lower right corner so if you tear off the corners as you go, you can easily open to the current unused page. The ribbon bookmark is glued to the outside of the top of the spine which is okay because even though you can use the insert on its own, the journal is usually paired with a stylish refillable cover. Without the cover, the insert is about 3.5″ x 5″, with the cover it is about 4″ x 5.5″ in size.

Exacompta Pocket Journal with a Rose Grenadine Club Cover
Exacompta Pocket Journal with a Rose Grenadine Club Cover

Three styles of refillable covers are available for the Exacompta Pocket Journal: Club, Soho and Mignon full calf leather. All of them are stitched around the edges and when taken care of can last for many years. The refillable covers have pockets on the inside that the cardboard cover of the journal refill slides into. The Club and Soho covers are both made of a sturdy leatherette, the difference being that the Club cover is textured/grained and the Soho cover is smooth.

Exacompta Pocket Journal with a Blue Club Cover
Exacompta Pocket Journal with a Blue Club Cover

From my own personal experience, if you want to use both sides of each page, I would recommend writing with fine tip gel pens, ballpoint pens or pencil. Fountain pen ink tends to bleed through this light-weight paper. Medium and broad tip gel pens tended to bleed through the paper as well. Check out the scan of the writing test below and see what you think.

Do you carry a journal with you when you travel? What are your favorite pocket-size journals?

Exacompta Pocket Journal Writing Test - Front
Exacompta Pocket Journal Writing Test – Front
Exacompta Pocket Journal Writing Test - Back
Exacompta Pocket Journal Writing Test – Back
Exacompta Basics Pocket Journal Refill
Exacompta Basics Pocket Journal Refill

 

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Your Fall Stationery Style Guide

Do you like to change your stationery supplies with the change of the season? I do! Now that autumn is here the ink in my fountain pens changes to warm, rich fall colors such as orange, gold, maroon and brown. Of course, it is necessary to select a harmonizing pen and notebook to complete the ensemble. Here are some of our fall stationery favorites:

Yellow Leaf

Yellow & Gold: One of my favorite everyday writing tools is the LAMY Safari fountain pen which is available in a cheery bright yellow that reminds me of the autumn color of some maple or birch tree leaves. Yellow ink is not practical for regular handwriting writing, so I like to use a golden amber shade such as J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie fountain pen ink. If you’re new to fountain pens, and you’re going to use bottled ink in your LAMY Safari or Al-Star pen, you’ll need to get a LAMY Z24 ink converter.

LAMY Safari Fountain Pen in Yellow
LAMY Safari Fountain Pen in Yellow
J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie Fountain Pen Ink
J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie Fountain Pen Ink

Orange Pumpkin

Orange: I love seeing all of the colorful autumn squash in the supermarket this time of year. The star of this fall’s orange fountain pens is the limited edition copper-orange LAMY Al-Star pen. This relative of the LAMY Safari fountain pen is made from light-weight aluminum with a metallic finish. LAMY created special copper-orange ink cartridges just to match this fountain pen. A couple of my favorite orange bottled inks with nice shading are Noodler’s Apache Sunset and Noodler’s Habanero ink. Want a paper notebook with an orange cover? Go no further than Rhodia‘s famous orange notepads available in all sorts of styles and sizes with fountain pen friendly paper.

LAMY Al-Star Copper-Orange Fountain Pen
LAMY Al-Star Copper-Orange Fountain Pen
R by Rhodia Notepad, Medium Size, Orange Cover and a Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen
R by Rhodia Notepad with an orange cover and a Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen
Noodler's Ink Apache Sunset
Noodler’s Ink Apache Sunset

Red Maple Leaves

Red & Maroon: Doesn’t this orange Rhodia notepad look stylish next to these red Japanese maple leaves? The color of these leaves makes me think of the deep burgundy red color of the clear resin Bourgogne Platinum 3776 Century Fountain Pen. Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink in Momiji or Autumn Leaves is a red shade emulating the bright red leaves that are iconic of a Japanese autumn landscape. The ivory paper inside the red Quo Vadis Habana Journal complements the warm, autumn shades of ink that I use this time of year.

Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink Momiji - Autumn Leaves
Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink Momiji – Autumn Leaves
Platinum 3776 Century Fountain Pen - Bourgogne
Platinum 3776 Century Fountain Pen – Bourgogne
Quo Vadis Habana Journal with a Red Cover & Ivory Paper
Quo Vadis Habana Journal with a Red Cover & Ivory Paper

Brown Turkey Tail Fungus

Brown: I absolutely adore anything in tortoiseshell, and the Stipula Tuscany Dreams Peposo Fountain Pen in Brown Tortoiseshell is no exception! It’s a pity that this manly pen is too large for my small hands. This pen pairs well with J. Herbin Lie de The Ink Cartridges or Pilot Iroshizuku Wild Chestnut ink which is a brown color similar to the shade of a ripe, fallen chestnut shell during autumn. Aston Leather’s pen cases in golden caramel Tan or dark Brown are going to look great with and provide protection for any of your fall writing instruments.

Stipula Tuscany Dreams Peposo Fountain Pen - Brown Tortoiseshell
Stipula Tuscany Dreams Peposo Fountain Pen – Brown Tortoiseshell
Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink Yama-guri - Wild Chestnut
Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink Yama-guri – Wild Chestnut
Aston Leather Double Pen Hard Case in Brown
Aston Leather Double Pen Hard Case in Brown

What are your favorite stationery items for fall?

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Quo Vadis Monthly 4 Calendar Review

Quo Vadis Monthly 4 Planner - Black Club Cover
Quo Vadis Monthly 4 Planner with a Black Club Cover and elastic bookmark

The Monthly 4 Calendar from Quo Vadis provides 18 months for scheduling beginning with July of one year and ending with December of the next. It has the flexibility to be used to plan out a school year starting in August or September, or it can be used as a regular yearly planner.

Quo Vadis Monthly 4 Planner open to a calendar planning page
Quo Vadis Monthly 4 Planner open to a calendar planning page

As its name indicates, this is a monthly planner, which means that it displays an entire month over 2 pages for making notes about activities and appointments. It is a compact and useful tool for those that don’t need to keep extremely detailed records for each day. Each week of the monthly calendar indicates which week of the year it is (ie 34th week etc), begins with Monday and ends with a smaller space for Sunday. Each day indicates which day of the year it is and how many days are left in the year. Lunar cycles and holidays are also noted. On the right side of each month there is space for notes such as phone numbers, websites and expenses as well as small displays of the 2 previous months and 2 upcoming months. The bottom of each month has a space about 1.5″ tall for taking notes.

Quo Vadis Monthly 4 - Annual Planning Pages
Quo Vadis Monthly 4 annual planning pages

The first few pages of this planner include a page for personal information and a year and a half of annual planning pages that correspond to the 18 months in the planner. After the final calendar month of December in the planner there are annual planning pages for the following year.

Quo Vadis Monthly 4 world time zones & map of Canada
Quo Vadis Monthly 4 world time zones & map of Canada

The back of the Monthly 4 planner has a chart of international holidays for 31 different countries, international telephone access codes, world time zones and 8 pages of world maps. There is one page that displays 3 yearly calendars, an A to Z address book of 5 pages and 16 ruled pages for notes.

Quo Vadis Monthly 4 address & notes pages
Quo Vadis Monthly 4 address & notes pages

The smooth white 90g paper in the Monthly 4 planner is noteworthy because it is made by Clairefontaine. This means it is really great if you like to use fountain pens! Clairefontaine paper is acid free, chlorine free and PEFC certified. Each page in the planning section of the Monthly 4 has a perforated lower right corner. When you tear the corners off as you progress throughout the year it will help you to easily open the planner to the month in progress. Take a look at the very bottom of this post for a writing test we did with the paper in this planner.

Quo Vadis Monthly 4 map of Africa & 3 yearly calendars
Quo Vadis Monthly 4 map of Africa & 3 yearly calendars

A feature that is appreciated by many is that the sewn binding allows the planner to lay flat when it’s open. The Quo Vadis Monthly 4 can be purchased with a variety of refillable covers or it can be purchased as a refill without a cover. My planner has a Bamboo Green Texas cover that has a soft, suede-like feel to it. It’s the slimmest, most flexible and most light-weight of the available covers. The leather-like Soho and Club covers have stitched edges and are sturdy enough to be paired with a Quo Vadis elastic bookmark. The size of this planner is approximately 7″ x 9.38″ so it will slip into a medium size purse, backpack or briefcase.

Quo Vadis Monthly 4 Planner with a Bamboo Green Texas Cover
My own personal Monthly 4 Planner after a year & a half of use – still looks good!

Do you like to use a monthly planner? If so, which one is your favorite?

Quo Vadis Monthly 4 writing test - front of the page
Quo Vadis Monthly 4 writing test – front of the page
Quo Vadis Monthly 4 writing test - back
Quo Vadis Monthly 4 writing test – back of the page
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Why Use a Paper Appointment Book or Planner?

Exacompta Space 17 Pocket Size Weekly Planner
Exacompta Space 17 Pocket Size Weekly Planner

In the age of smart phones and digital calendars, why on earth would anyone want to continue using a paper planner to schedule appointments? I personally have both a digital and a paper calendar because I find that each one has a particular role to help keep my life organized. Here are some of my favorite reasons to use an old-fashioned paper appointment book to keep track of my schedule:

1. The act of writing by hand is a memory aid. When I pick up a pen and write down events in my schedule I am much more likely to remember these events without looking at any calendar – whether it’s paper or digital!

2. You can use your beloved fountain pens to write in your planner. Yes, you know who you are. If you’re like me, writing with a fountain pen is a satisfying, calming experience. (Check out our list of Fountain Pen Friendly Planners if this applies to you.)

Quo Vadis Minister Weekly Planner
Quo Vadis Minister Weekly Planner

3. It slows you down and helps you to focus. There are no notifications, videos, ads, texts, etc to get in the way of your thoughts as you put your pen to paper. Distractions can cause me to schedule things poorly but a paper organizer eliminates digital “clutter” as I plan out my weeks.

4. A paper planner can also become a memory book. I seldom look back through my digital records to reminisce, but a paper diary or record of my past events has a much more personal feeling to it.

5. It encourages creativity and is fun to personalize. I really enjoy using a different style and type of planner each year. Some planners I’ve used are very traditional and business-like, other years I’ll choose something pocket-size or a planner with eye-catching artwork. Inside I like to mix it up with a variety of ink colors and a some doodles. Some people go all-out and completely decorate their planners with stickers and memorabilia. Emotions can also be expressed with the fonts and style of handing writing that you use.

Exacompta Journal 21 Daily Desk Diary
Exacompta Journal 21 Daily Desk Diary

6. Handwriting is also good exercise for the brain and we all need more of that, right?

7. Writing in a planner or diary is an opportunity to help keep your penmanship in tip-top shape.

8. Maybe it’s just me – I really prefer the “week at a glance” or “month at a glance” view in a paper planner over a digital planner, especially for the non-work related events in my personal life.

Do you use a paper appointment book? Why do you enjoy recording upcoming events using pen & paper? Planners for 2016 are now in stock at Writer’s Bloc.

Quo Vadis Notor or Textagenda Daily Diaries
Quo Vadis Notor or Textagenda Daily Desk Diaries
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