top-bound Circa notebook experiments

At my new job, I had a choice in office supplies: do you want legal pads or steno notebooks? I took the steno notebooks because I didn't want pages falling out. I guess I'm used to my pages staying put due to using Circa notebooks. It did give me an idea: what if the rings were on the top on other Circa notebooks to get the rings out of the way?

I think I went a bit overboard, as I've done a top-bound notebook with just about every size paper I could get my hands on. If anyone is interested in seeing how it turned out or curious about just how far I took this idea can just check out this picture and then the newer ones: on flickr.

The verdict: your standard index card sizes work great for this. 3x5", 4x6", 5x8", and 2x3" (4x6" cut in fourths).

Letter size is too big to comfortably use this way, and Classic/Junior (whatever you want to call letter size chopped in half) has the issue of the discs being too close to the edge when you put them on the top.

An odd bonus I found: 5x8" index cards make a nice heavy-duty refill for Classic/Junior sized Circa pages if you don't mind losing a little bit of writing space.


PS. If anyone wants to start a 12-step program or send me extra Circa/Rollabind discs, let me know!

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Close to edge


A piece of advice on the 'too close to the edge' problem. Just move the paper a quarter inch to the left when you punch it so you're using fewer discs. Then the disc farthest to the right will not even be in the paper, and your discs will be about 1/2 to 3/4 inch from the edge.

You don't have to center the discs on the paper. You can center the gap between instead. That is to say, you don't have to have an odd number of discs, you can have an even number instead.

Try it, you'll like it and you'll save discs, too. :)


not symmetrical?

But then it wouldn't be symmetrical! Is that allowed? ;-) Also, isn't that what Ryan did in this picture? It looks like you've got a half a smurf on the edge of the page if you do this.


Asymmetrical downside

That would be that you can't flip a page over backwards and re-insert it into the book... I wouldn't like that myself...


Asymmetrical, no.


Yes, you can still make it symmetrical if you have an even number of discs. What you have to do is make sure the discs are the same distance from the edge of the paper on both ends. The rest will take care of itself. It might take more than a quarter inch of adjustment, but it can be done, trust me.

I do this with my Classic size books, my quarter letter books.. You can *always* make *any* size symmetrical with *any* number of discs (even or odd), because the discs are evenly spaced. You just have to find the right spot to put the paper on the punch.


cutting covers

What do you use to cut the cover material?

I've come close on more than one occasion to buying a pack of the same stuff you're using.


I just use a plain pair of scissors. You can only cut one sheet at a time and the edges do sometimes come out a bit jagged. Also, the pack I bought the bottom corners of each sheet are rounded. I put the front and back cover together with binder clips and use the scissors to cut the square corners to match the rounded corners.

One more tip: use dry erase markers and a ruler to mark where you will cut. When you're done cutting, you can wipe off the marker.


interesting alternative

A while back, Rollabind had a suede artist's folio which was bound at the top --- I've always regretted not getting it.


sounds lovely

Do you know of any pictures out there in cyber space? :)

my artwork | my blog

followup on top-bound Circa and other notebooks

I thought I'd followup on this a bit... At work I've been using a fairly cheap steno notebook - wirebound on top. Roughly half of a letter size page. I liked how the binding doesn't get in the way of the writing. The problem I noticed with top bound: if you want to see two pages at a time, it is very awkward for anything bigger than 4x6" index cards. I'm going back to traditional side-bound stuff, except for my micro pda.

Luckily my prototypes are all using the cheapest index cards and printer paper I can find. They will make great scratch paper to write on the front. I just won't use the backs.


my project

One of my current projects IS my project keeper... its a top bound classic sized book that is used side ways... confused? heheh'

no worries ... i plan on getting pics and explaining usage within the next day or so :)

sorry to hear that the top bound didnt solve your problem :/

my artwork | my blog

Landscape format top bound notebook

My favorite notebook is my top bound landscape format notebook. It's basically just 8.5" x 14" paper and chipboard punched to accept circa rings. I print out my own templates in landscape format in both lines and grids, as well as some specialty templates for project planning and brainstorming.

I'm thinking of having covers cut from stainless steel by Big Blue Saw. I think that would probably be the best notebook ever. *drool*

off topic: cover material

In Half Price books the other day, I saw a wire-bound notebook that had thin wooden front & back covers. I would love to do that but I have no idea how I'd smurf that.


Very tough

To use wood, you would have to make the cover in pieces because the plastic/paper covers flex to get onto the discs.

And I would not try it unless the wood was a plywood. Check a hobby shop, especially one that supports R/C model aircraft. Birch plywood is available down to 1/32"

Contrarywise, I can think of a way to do it. And there are companies that do laser cutting of such plywoods. Hmmm. Note to self: Check resources. With the Atoma/Myndology wooden discs, a wood cover would rock.

Edit: Afterthought: You could always do like Levenger does for the leather covers -- a strip of plastic for the smurfs, but if a completely wood cover could be pulled off, it would be awesome

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

what about

what about a drummel tool thing? or those super fine saws blades... i had to use a super fine saw blade and a manual saw (just the metal arch to hold the blade) in jewelry class... i bet you could get pretty close to the smurf shape with one of those :)

my artwork | my blog

Lizell used to have a top-bound notebook

Lizell used to have a top-bound notebook because I just found a refill pad the other day. I asked the company what happened to its disc top-bound notebook. No response yet. The refill pad is Junior size.

"To fly, we must have resistance."

My current journal is top

My current journal is top bound this way, and I do use letter sized paper. I have a small desk top at home, and this fits quite comfortably, with no binding to get in the way as I write.

I also have a smaller 5.5 x 8.5" top bound notebook that I use similarly to a steno pad for writing down those things by the desk that I will transcribe elsewhere later.

Elaine Normandy