An unexpected find

9-ring binder closed
9-ring binder closed

I picked up this item in my local branch of Morrisons’ supermarket this week for the princely sum of £3.00. It isn’t pretending to be a high quality product, but I found it irresisible because of the 9-ring mechanist which looked surprisingly similar to a Filofax Deskfax configuration.

Filofax have made many different sizes of binder over the years and the ever-reliable Steve Morton over at Philofaxy has recorded that the Deskfax size was introduced around about 1992 and only produced for a few years. It uses B5 paper, which lies between A5 and A4. If you’d like to read Steve Morton’s full post, it can be found here.

9-ring binder with Personal paper
9-ring binder – compatible with Personal paper

I have checked and this inexpensive file does seem to have the same ring spacing as the Deskfax which means that the paper inside it would fit a Deskfax and this plastic binder could be used to archive papers from the main Deskfax binder. Of course, that would only be useful if you had a Deskfax binder which I don’t; I bought this purely because it piqued my interest. This ring configuration allows Filofax Personal-sized paper to be inserted, but the rings are not consistent with the punching on their A5 paper.

9-ring binder pen test front
9-ring binder pen test front

The binder comes with 96 sheets of 80gsm, ruled, cream-coloured notepaper. This seems similar quality notepaper to the journal which I bought just before Christmas – not the greatest, but actually pretty good considering the price these items are being sold at. The test page using my fountain pens shows the minimum of bleedthrough and a tolerable level of ghosting/showthrough. I could very happily write on both sides of this paper. Each page has a block at the top left with the initials of each day of the week and then an area to write the date at the top right. The line ruling is quite strong and black, with the lines being a generous 9mm apart, giving 24 lines in the writing area.  The additional bold lines at the top under the date area and at the bottom include little vertical notches which help if you want to draw vertical lines to divide up the page; these are approximately 7mm apart.

9-ring binder pen test back
9-ring binder pen test back

The closure system for the binder is a simple, black elastic treasury tag which slips into notches on the cover, and there is a single plastic flyleaf which, like the cover itself, is slightly frosted. On a couple of the holes in the flyleaf, the punching hasn’t quite removed the centre circle, I think that’s understandable in this level of product.

Does this paper size have a place in my life? Would I, perhaps, think of buying a Deskfax-sized organiser if I found one? Not really. At heart, I am happiest with A5 paper and I increasingly find that an A5 exercise book is just about perfect for portability and ease of writing. However, the B-series paper sizes are gaining in popularity with the planner community, providing a larger writing space then the A-series sizes without feeling like too much of a leap. Many fans enjoy the B6-size planners because they retain the portability of the A6 or Filofax Personal planners but give a bit more writing space. The main advantage to the A-series paper sizes is that they exactly double in size as you go through the scale; so if you divide an A4 sheet in half, you get two A5 sheets and if you divide the A5 sheet in half, you get two A6 sheets. This makes them very adaptable, especially in countries where the A-series paper predominates. If you divide a B5 sheet of paper in half, you do not get two B6 size sheets* (Edited to correct: the lovely Amanda of paperpensink has corrected me – B5 halved does give you two B6 sheets. Thanks, Amanda!)

In conclusion, I think this is an excellent product considering the pricing and the type of shop in which it was sold. Top marks to Morrisons.


Interesting fact – whilst I was writing this, there a plane was flying over leaving a trail in the blue sky and for a good while the clouds it was heading towards were moving at the same speed as the plane.