Circa Rings

Having read some older posts I am now persuaded that Circa rings work more smoothly than Rolla discs. However, the Circa rings are substantially more expensive. Does anyone sell them for less or are they only available through Levenger?

In the alternative, are some sources of Rolla discs better than others? Any thoughts on how to avoid the "mold mark" issue? Aside from cost I like the variety of Rolla disc colors. Or do I just need to take my chances and file the mold marks down if necessary?

Right now the smaller Circa rings are on sale at Levenger but only in the color red, which is a little garish for my taste.

ETA do Circa rings come in any colors besides Black, White, Red, and Blue?

Thanks, Cath

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Colors and mold marks


For the mold mark issue, grab your nail file and file down the nubbin of extra plastic. I use a metal nail file, which takes less than 10 seconds per disc. You end up with a smooth-turning disc that has one slightly dull spot.

If you're good with a blade, you could slice off the mark. I'm not that good with a blade. :)

The Rolla discs are all made by Rolla from what I understand. So getting them elsewhere nets you the same quality--but the prices are better at some other distributors than at Rollabind themselves.

The Circa rings also come in silver. I have a few. The ones I have are sort of matte finish, rather than glossy. This made the pages of my book a little more difficult to turn. There are factors that could have influenced that besides the matte finish, but when I swapped in red rings of the same size (also Circa) the pages were freer-turning. The red Circa rings I have also had the mold mark issue but as with the Rolla rings, a quick file took care of it.

Anyway, the pastel colors are only available from Rolla distributors. Likewise purple and green and gold and the translucent colors.


Silver Rings

I'm fairly new to Circa. I ordered the Jr. Zip Folio a few weeks ago, upon receiving it I realized I would need larger rings, which finally arrived today. I too ordered the silver ones and I noticed the pages are a little bit more difficult to turn than they were with the original black. Do you think a file would improve those as well?

1" silver rings

I ordered the 1" Silver rings and was definitely not happy with them. Not sure if filing would help. I'm just going to get some smaller black rings and use the big silver ones to hold blank pages and pages I need to keep for reference for whatever reason. I don't know if it is the size or something else that is causing the issues.


I remember posting about the

I remember posting about the difficulty of turning pages on 1" Circa rings. But surprisingly, I'm now using 1" rings on my daily planner and find them less difficult to turn, for two possible reasons. One, the thick covers (no brand non Levenger plastic) seem to provide a stable base to the pages when turning. Two, because I am not in a hurry to turn the pages, i.e., I take my time and don't rush the turning, so they don't feel "bumpy".

Having said that, I am thinking of returning to 3/4" rings for the daily planner, so that I can fit two Circa notebooks into my DayRunner binder. Right now, I have a 1/2" notebook in there with the 1" planner and find it difficult to zip the binder closed. What I plan to do is use the second notebook for taking notes, and keep the planner solely for planner purposes.

Silver discs


I have a sample of the silver matte, and I think it's the matte finish that's the problem. If you run your finger over the flat surface of a silver disc, it feels 'rougher' than the smooth finish of the other colors.

I think the paper grabs on that rougher surface, increasing friction.

So no, I don't think a file would help, unless you filed the entire disc a hair smaller in every dimension.. If you had some spray-on clear coat or lacquer or something to restore the smoothness, that might work--but it also might make the discs too thick for the holes. You might have trouble with getting the stuff to stick without melting the plastic, too. :)

I had the same issue with silver vs red in my planner. I use the 'medium' Circa size there (Rolla Large), and with a half-inch stack of paper the toothy finish on the silver really made a big (unpleasant) difference..

But the silver is fine for reference items that I don't use much as a book--like spare forms, only bound to make them easy to handle.


odd thought...

I'd never thought the finish on the rings could make a difference. I've been blaming it on the size the whole time! Oh well, I've got a Circa Agenda coming - I think that has 3/4" black rings. We'll see how those work.

One thing you might want to check out if you want to try clear-coating the problem rings: model kit paint. It is made to be used on plastic. It is a little pricey, but it would probably be cheaper than a whole new set of Circa rings.


Give it a try

Darn, I wish this post existed about 15 days ago when I placed my order for the silver rings, I thought they'd look sharp, but didn't expect the problems with them. I may just try the model kit paint. I know what stuff your talking about, I'll give it a try and see if it helps, thanks for the suggestion!

I don't think paint would help

Paint would only make the rings thicker. My first thought, believe it or not, is talcum powder! Think teeny tiny ball bearings. Graphite would definitely work--but you don't want the grey mess. Talcum, on the other hand, would hardly be noticable, if at all... you would have to re-apply on occasion, I fear--and it might not work at all--but can it hurt to try?


I have used wax successfully

I have used wax successfully on metal tracks I made from fencing wire, after smoothing them with a very fine abrasive paper. The wax made a big difference, and the paper glides very freely. I think I used polish from a tin, the old fashioned type, but rubbing a candle over the rings might also work. It will fill in microscopic valeys, and be a lubricator too. rubb any excess off on a piece of cloth. Using an abrasive would probaby remove the silver surface, its only a thin layer .

Are the silver ones painted?

Are the silver ones painted? I have silver discs from both Levenger and Rollabind and, while they are quite different, I can't tell if they are molded from silver-colored plastic or if they're painted silver. (And I don't want to score one to find out.) The larger black ones I have are definitely black plastic.

I was going to say that I don't notice that big of a difference, but then realized that I just have the silver ones on my small, 3x5 Circa hipster. All the larger notebooks have black discs.

There are pics

Ryan posted pics of a Circa silver, cut through the middle, so you can see how they are made. I believe they are painted, but they will not do what the Rolla rings did. My Flickr isn't working too well right now, but if I get it to work later, I'll post a link here...

Found the link! Circa cross-section



The Rollabind silver rings I have are clearly painted.

"It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy." -- Steve Jobs

different rings for different things

I'm one of the ones that mentioned the Circa vs Rollabind rings and Circa rings turning pages a little smoother. That is based on the experience of a notebook from Staples, which may not be the same quality as ones from the website. Although I think Rollabind is really careful about licensing their technology so Rollabind rings are likely to be the same no matter where you get them.

The turning issue may or may not be a big deal. Anyone really interested may want to buy a Rollabind notebook, try it for a while. Stick with it if you're happy, buy a Circa notebook to try if you're not. For my personal use, I think a pack of Circa rings is worth the price for a planner I'm going to use every day. For a journal or archiving old project info I may need later, I don't think the difference will really matter.

As far as the Circa ring colors go, the largest ones are only available in black or silver. The other sizes are available in blue, black, red, white, and silver. Red is only on sale for 1/2" (smallest) and 3/4" (second smallest). No other colors or sizes are on sale. :-(


The problem with Staples Rolla notebooks

This was the first touch I got of Rolla, and I thought it was abysmal. I pulled a page, and it was punched so that it had the half-circle missing, and then a cut to the edge of the page. Not a channel cut in the page, with about 1/8th inch missing, but a single blade cut. The edges of the cut touched each other.
So any discs will rub with paper cut that way. One consequence is you can't estimate Rolla ring quality from that.
Another consequence is that I'm left thinking that there's a major blunder in the whole QA process. Or worse, that the situation was understood, the physical product resulting from this inferior punching was tested, and the business decision was made to go forward with this product. Blech. I'd rather believe that somebody at Staples said "we'll do the punching", and the people who got the job muffed it, and the cross-company-collaboration-confusion-coefficient meant that each side thought the other had made sure it was right...

I would take one of these if it were given to me, but only for as long as it took to salvage the rings and discard the paper.

No More Rollas :(

I actually stopped at my local Staples this afternoon to grab another Rolla notebook. I figured I'd pillage the rings to play around with for a DIY circa PDA (using Sara's smurf punching hack). Alas, they are no longer to be found. They had a couple of packs of refill pages in letter and classic size, but no more notebooks of any configuration.

On a positive note, I also saw some index cards from Oxford that were lined in a portrait configuration. They were padded - a bit inconvenient for me, but easily separated.


Portrait lined 3x5 cards

Horizon (in Bampton Ontario) makes protrait lined 3x5 cards. I found them at a Buck or Two store. Anyone that lives up here can get them for 1$/100 cards. I bought a lot of them as you can well imagine.

"It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy." -- Steve Jobs

That's nice

The Oxfords were the first portrait cards I'd seen locally here. They sure would be nice to have a cheap source for. I like to print the diy templates on one side, and lines for notes on the back - and portrait are better for me.



That's exactly that I do with them.