Forum: In the UK: Atoma/Adoc versus Circa/Rollabind

Okay, I know I'm not the first person to be stuck on this decision. I think I need some user experience to help me out with my problem!

First, and potentially most important: has anyone used the Circa/Rollabind punch with A4 paper? I know it won't fit perfectly, but is it close enough to be functional? Oh, and do A4 papers noticeably stick out of letter-sized covers?

Second, has anyone printed directly on to the Atoma or Adoc paper? It mentions on both the Manufactum (Atoma) and Pegasus National (Adoc) websites that the paper is suitable for inkjet and laser printing. I can see myself offsetting the cost of the £85 Atoma hole punch by buying pre-punched paper and printing on to it, but I'm afraid the paper will jam, etc.

Third, how do people's experiences with paper quality from the different suppliers compare? I think other posters have suggested that Rollabind paper is of somewhat lesser quality than Circa. Does anyone have a similar comparison between Atoma and Adoc paper - or better yet, all four paper types?

Fourth, can anyone compare the strength/durability of the smurf types? That is, to my eye the Atoma/Adoc smurf type seems almost zipper-like and probably holds the paper in place well but might cause more folding/bending of the paper when it's removed and replaced. The Circa/Rollabind seems easier for replacement and removal, but maybe a bit less secure. I haven't seen either system in use, so I'm happy to be corrected by someone with some experience of both!

Thanks for your help!!

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Using Rollabind punch with A4

Hi there

I've used the Rollabind punch for A4 paper: the UK version has 12 smurfs rather than the 11 in the US (I think). I got mine from a crafts website in the UK and it was about £60.

The only pre-punched paper I've used is Circa, which doesn't come in European sizes. To be honest, I've found it mediocre, and unusable with fountain pens. Actually, I have used another paper. Clairefontaine produced some Atoma-punched notebooks which had fabulous gridded paper, but they were wider than the A5 that I use, so I had to trim them too to transfer them to my main planner.

I find it easier to punch my own sheets, after printing.

Hope this is some help!


Thanks for that! Very

Thanks for that! Very helpful.

I keep hearing about the £60 Rollabind punch, but the only one I can find at the moment is the portable £20 one. I don't think I can face punching my painstakingly crafted DIY planner page by page!

Still mulling it over...

I've used the rollabind

I've used the rollabind portable one for a couple of years now. It must be a UK one as it's marked with A6 and A5 and A4 fits in perfectly. I bought it from an online UK craft store - I can't remember which one. The only problem I've had with it is my 2.5 year old daughter has become fascinated by it and the "mushrooms" in it and dropped it quite a few times so it's a bit fragile now. It's coped fine with punching cardboard and plastic covers as well as lots of paper.

I've mixed it with notepads from WHSmith and some ADOC ones (from paperchase on Tottenham Court Road in London that were a bargin at £2). Only had a little stiffness on turning the really large ones where I've done some elaborate dividers. I bought some of the levenger extra large disks as they were bigger than anything else I could get and a junior notebook which just fits A5.

Hope that helps!

PS you don't have to punch a

PS you don't have to punch a single page at a time - it takes up to five.

Rollabind in the UK

Like Kate I have a 12 smurf desktop punch and I generally print out my own sheets and punch them as I need them. I have used various types of card and paper and find them generally quite durable but as it is only paper it has a life span that will be affected by the number of times you use it.

I recently bought some unbranded A4 disc bound notebooks from W H Smith and they are OK - I think they are Atoma smurfed, definitely not Rollabind but the paper quality is OK.

If you want a Rollabind punch try, it is not listed on their website but they are lovely people and very helpful and I know they have stocked it in the past.

Hope this helps, anything further I can do to help feel free to email me at: almoore @ hotmail . co . uk

Circa vs. Atoma smurfs

I've used both Circa and Atoma style smurfs and the difference I've found is that while the Atomas hold paper marginally more securely, in my experience, it's much easier to tear the tabs and you have to remove the paper more slowly and carefully to avoid doing so.

Also, you can use Circa punched paper with Atoma smurfs, but Atoma paper will not fit Circa smurfs.

To me, the difference in secure hold is negligible, as I've never had paper accidentally fall out of either type.

This is excellent! Great

This is excellent! Great comments from everyone.

I've pretty much ruled out Circa due to size issues. The Rollabind portable punch is sounding better to me now, and that system is certainly cheaper to set up than Atoma!

I think I'll do a DIY Rollabind system to start off. If I stick with it, I might reward myself with Atoma in six months or a year. Like the Circa system, it's very seductive!

Rollabind? Eh. prefer circa

Having been a long time Circa user, I was delighted to see the rollabind stuff in local Staples' stores. But everything about it seemed to me to be a bit cheap in comparison. I prefer the circa paper and rings themselves. I've been using a desktop circa punch for a few years and I'm very happy with it.

I can't comment about the other two, having never heard of them before this post.

Best of luck! Keep us updated with your results. I'd be happy to switch to something without the circa price premium.

Rolla/Atoma in the UK

I wrote a comment on a similar topic recently which adds a little more to this discussion. Another point I thought of is that if you have an A4 notebook and also add A6 sheets to it, then a 12 hole punch will allow two A6 pages to be inserted one above the other and match up with the A4 page. With an 11 hole punch the holes would not be symmetrical with the A6 pages and they would not fit in so neatly. Also, you don't have to change the slide on the punch when moving between A4 and A6, as the spacing at the bottom of the page is the same, with A6 being exactly half the height of A4. Only downside is an extra disc to use for either size.

Great points

My understanding is that the rollabind punch was designed for scrapbookers, who often use 12"x12" paper, hence the extra punch.

The fact that it works so well with the A-system of paper sizing is a happy bonus.

Well, I was bidding on a

Well, I was bidding on a portable Rollabind punch on ebay and didn't win it. I also haven't had a reply about the desktop Rollabind punch from - this isn't surprising, as I emailed them Tuesday night, but I'm a little impatient. Now that I've finally mastered my own DIY planner templates (based on the Planner Pad templates listed in the Templates section on this site) I want to set it up now!

Soooooo, I just ordered most of the Atoma kit, including the very expensive punch. This may have been a stupid and impulsive move, but I have a little extra money at the moment and I wanted to treat myself for once! I didn't buy any Atoma paper because I plan to print all my inserts. Off to shop for some laser printing paper that will also be nice to write on...

How to order from Atoma

I'm in your case and would like to order from atoma a punch and a A5 notebook to begin.
I wrote two times to them in belgium to have it in france, no answer.
Where did you order it ?

Try Manufactum





At manufactum - ATOMA Punch 107.80 euros
"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)

There is an A4 punch with Rollabind/Circa smurfs

About one month ago igor posted about one of those large $800 msrp Rollabind punches. It was on eBay for $100. I bought it. It has a dial for different size papers and has a setting for the A4 size. And, as you all know, the Rollabind and Circa smurfs are identical.

Tomorrow, I am making an A5 notebook with a leather cover for someone. I would be happy to make an A4 notebook for you and include the paper. All I ask is that you pay for shipping and write an honest review of the notebook cover and paper. The cover will be black .038 inch plastic. We recycle the plastic covers from the Itoya Art portfolios used in our Presentation Books. A "Circa" heavier duty desktop punch will NOT punch material this heavy. The Rollabind punch will. I will include blank sheets of our paper for you to test also. The paper is Hammerill Color Copy Cover stock with 98 brightness and 60 pound cover stock. In my experience it prints well and is even better for fp use.

If interested then PM me with your email address so we can chat.


Never cease to be amazed..

by Arthur's generosity...

The issue of what paper to use if you're making up your own books is an interesting one. A5 is my preferred size and I need to have a look around to see what's available in the UK for printing and punching.

Spoonfed. like myself are in the UK and dont think Hammermill is available. Some of the nicest paper I've come across to wite in is Clairefontaine and Rhodia pads (same company I think) but I dont know if they sell reams of it or just notepads. The Rhodia pads would be suitable for punching as they have top perforations on the notepad. Looking for the perfect paper available in the UK is my next task...

Spoonfed please let us know about the paper you find and if it's good for printing and writing on?

Incidentally Arthur, you've been tempting us with the possibility of a cover for Rhodia, when do you think the will be available?
The notepads that are stapled along the top would look great with a lightweight leather cover I think. Rhodia do something already along those lines but I was thinking of a cover to slip the notepad in (they come in a variety of sizes and the final size of the cover might influence what folk would choose but I know you're adaptable. It would benefit from a pocket that allowed either extra cards and torn out sheets from the pad to be slipped into and a pen loop. That's my thoughts though you probably have it in hand.

those covers are done..

Actually the Rhodia covers are done in the smallest size, A5 and A4. It actually takes me more time to photograph the stuff and get it on the site than it does to design and make it... most of the time. I carried around that small one for about one year and really loved it but then I made one to hold the cPDA and like it even better.

Timing is everything. If I had known about 3 weeks ago about the paper, Kritel could have brought a pack of it to Belgium with her and sent it to you. She usually goes there with an empty suitcase and then comes back with it full of goodies so there would have been space.

Hammermill in the UK is below. Hope that works for you. If not, the offer still stands.

Business Group: Printing & Communications Papers
Division: European Papers
+44 (0) 1467 627 000 Main Phone
+44 (0) 1467 627 102 Fax Inverurie Mills
Inverurie, Aberdeenshire AB51 5NR
Shorewood Epc Europe Ltd.


Rollabind == Circa

I'm a long time circa/rollabind user (running on 8 years?) The first circa binder I ever got i looked at the rings and on them were actually printed "rollabind" which got me on their website and I've been buying them ever since directly. When I bought my first kit from Rollabind the lady on the phone asked how I found them. When I replied from my levenger binder there a knowing "uh huh". They've since removed the "rollabind" from the disks I believe there was a patent pending back then.

Granted this is many years ago. However I still believe they source (like many of their products I suspect) from other vendors and rebadge them. Don't get me wrong, I love levengers. I'm also happy to find direct sources where possible to save some money.

Hope that helps.

Equal in form, not always function

I have both Levenger and Rollabind disks and the finish on the Levenger disks is much better than the Rollabind. Often I'll have to take a small file to the edges of the Rollabind disks to smooth them or the paper catches and snags.

Rollabind disks are a great way to save money, but you do have to sometimes take that extra step to make them perfect.

I have never had problems

I have never had problems printing on my atoma-sheets, that works perfectly well!!
And YES, A4-pages DO stick out WELL NOTICEABLY of letter-sized covers!!!!!


That's true, A4 and Letter

That's true, A4 and Letter are not at all compatible – considerable difference in both width and height.

I'm an Aussie who spent some time working in the US. So when I invested in a nice leather Circa cover etc. while in the States I did so with a view to what might work in a metric country on my return.

I found that the Circa "Junior size" is very, very close to A5. The difference in page height is negligible (1mm at most) and the A5 page is only 3mm or so wider than the Junior page. So I opted for the Junior Circa cover and, armed with a Circa desk punch, have been able to get by very nicely in Australia with my own A5 refills.

I've also used Atoma, which used to be available in Australia but which I now think I'd have to order from Belgium, and liked those notebooks very much.