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I've Found The Best Journal Solution For Me...and It's Circa


EKE
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I've been searching for the best journal solution for my life/work flow, and I think I've finally found it. I'm an architect, and I write and draw with fountain pens all day. I take notes, I sketch, i doodle ideas for details, I make to-do lists and check them off. My criteria for an excellent journal:

 

- Must have excellent, smooth, top quality paper. No bleedthrough, feathering, minimal ghosting. I'm a Clairfontaine guy.

 

- A5 is the perfect size for me.

 

- For note taking and basic journaling, I like lined white paper.

 

- For sketching, I prefer blank white or cream paper.

 

- I work through one journal after another, and I archive them all for future reference.

 

- I like pockets in my journal for business cards, receipts, little shreds of paper, etc.

 

I've tried all of the basic choices: Rhodia Webbie, Habana, Leuchtturm. All good, but all having some drawback or minor/major inconvenience that caused me to move on. For the last couple of years, I settled in on the Clairefontaine Basic Clothbound A5, which is excellent, but I've found it difficult because it doesn't lie flat, and when you get to the end of the book, it's a real pain to write in.

 

So, I decided to try a Circa Junior Lev-Tex Notebook, which was on sale. And now, after six months or so, I am a big Circa fan.

http://i646.photobucket.com/albums/uu188/ErikEvens/IMG_2913_zps6d15aac2.jpg

 

http://i646.photobucket.com/albums/uu188/ErikEvens/IMG_2911_zpse8053239.jpg

 

I think it's handsome and professional looking. I bought a punch and I can put any kind of paper in it I want. I have been using Clairefontaine Lined Triomphe, which is perfect for me. It's actually a bit less expensive than the Rhodia Circa from Levenger, and I just love it.

 

Another big advantage for me is that I can also insert blank drawing pages anywhere I want. I punched some nice thick cream drawing paper, and I keep a bunch at the back of the journal. When I want to sketch, I pull a sheet out and insert it right into the current day's notes, and draw away. This is fantastic for my workflow.

 

http://i646.photobucket.com/albums/uu188/ErikEvens/IMG_2915_zps433dee3e.jpg

 

A few other advantages of this system: I can insert pockets for business cards, etc. (Got those from Staples. The Arc system is great and the accessory bits are fully compatible and cheaper). And the journal lays flat, which makes notetaking much easier. I added the nice ribbon bookmark as a custom modification.

 

When I fill the journal, I take the pages out, and put them in an Archive Circa notebook which sits on the bookshelf, and add new paper. It's really an efficient way to store my notes. I was worried that removing and inserting sheets would be difficult, but it's really easy.

 

http://i646.photobucket.com/albums/uu188/ErikEvens/IMG_2914_zps7fc7d5a5.jpg

 

I held off posting about this until I had used this system for a few months, to see if I could find any problems with it. So far I have found none. I think this is just about perfect...for me, anyway :)

 

-EKE

:happyberet:

Edited by EKE

Learning from the past does not mean living in the past.

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Looks great: thanks for sharing. :thumbup:

I am no longer very active on FPN but feel free to message me. Or send me a postal letter!

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A few years ago I dived into the Levenger Circa universe, buying a heavy-duty punch, a few covers, and extra rings. I like the way the units open flat, and how you can fold them over without dealing with a bulge between the "left" and "right" pages.

 

The downside -- which has stopped me from using them regularly -- is storage of the sheets/pages I have written. The selvage -- the punched edges of the sheets -- inhibits the ability to stack the sheets neatly; all too often, I found the punch edges becoming entangled with one another. Then, in order to store the sheets in a 3-ring binder, the punched edges had to be trimmed (with a scissor or paper cutter) in order to be punched once again, and if you write too close to either side of the page, you run the risk of punching through something you've written.

 

It's interesting that Levenger -- and now Staples, with its Arc system -- don't say anthing about storage. Any entrepreurs out there?

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For archive, I've been using Circa: inexpensive plastic notebook covers and discs. I cycle off to archive about 1/2 of the pages at a time, and replace them with fresh paper. That way I always have a month or two of recent entries to refer to. So far this has worked great.

Learning from the past does not mean living in the past.

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Is that a Kulloch/Parker pen

 

 

Good eye! Yes, it's my Kulloch Sea Glass Fantasy "51".

 

http://i646.photobucket.com/albums/uu188/ErikEvens/2403c21b-0931-4a31-a198-397d557bae12_zps134f0132.jpg

Learning from the past does not mean living in the past.

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I recently discovered the Staples Arc, which is the same basic system (but much cheaper). Paper is very good, covers excellent, and they are available in Aus! Such a good way to do a journal/work book.

<p>Currently collection:<strong>Lamy Safari's</strong> x5, <strong>Lamy Al Star's</strong> x3, <strong>Lamy Studio's </strong>x2, A <strong>Lamy 2000</strong>, <strong>Kaweco Sports/AL Sports</strong> x7, <strong>Noodlers pens (Konrad and Ahab)</strong> x10, <strong>Noodlers Konrad Ebonite</strong> x2, <strong>Hero 616</strong> x10, <strong>Reform 1745</strong> x10, <strong>Sailor 1911m</strong> x2, <strong>Sailor 1911 Realo</strong> x3, <strong>Sailor Pro Gear Realo</strong> x2, <strong>Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black</strong>, <strong>Sailor 1911 Sterling Silver</strong>, <strong>Visconti Opera Club Cherry Juice</strong> (M <span>Dreamtouch</span> Nib), <strong>Visconti Opera Elements </strong>x3 (Amber and Black with M <span>Dreamtouch</span> Nib, Blue with M Gold Nib), <strong>Visconti Homo Sapiens Steel Age Maxi</strong>, <strong>Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age</strong>, <strong>Montblanc 146 Le Grande</strong>... Plus I am sure I have forgotten some.

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And Levenger sells Rhodia paper for both sizes of the Circa including the Jr.

Yes, they do sell Rhodia. But Levenger only sells in the pre-printed "annotation style" ruling, which is not my thing. Others may like it. I hope that they will start to sell the Rhodia in a standard ruling or in blank white.

 

I have found that the Clairefontaine Triomphe letter-size paper is actually a tad cheaper than the Rhodia that Levenger sells, so I have been punching that for my journal. The size is perfect.

Edited by EKE

Learning from the past does not mean living in the past.

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I have been using a combo of the Circa/Staples ARC system for a couple of years now and really love it! The junior size uses half letter size sheets so it makes it easy to use good paper like HP Laserjet 24 or 32 pound paper or what ever your choice may be if you have a paper cutter and the punch. It's easy to use Excel to create templates for half letter for lined, annotation, name/address, and to-do pages on fountain pen friendly paper. The arc 2014 weekly & monthly planner refills are out now. I have been using their planners for the last two years. The arc paper is pretty good for fountain pens. I don't think the Levingers use fountain pens on their paper, if they did they would have upgraded the quality - or maybe they like bleed through?

Ken McDaniel

<")}}}>><(

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The best quality fountain pen Circa paper from Levenger that I have found is the Rhodia Annotation Ruled sheets, if you like that style, or the Behance Action Method Dot Grid paper. It's thick and FP friendly - slightly better than the Staples Arc paper, in my opinion.

Edited by EKE

Learning from the past does not mean living in the past.

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...The selvage -- the punched edges of the sheets -- inhibits the ability to stack the sheets neatly; all too often, I found the punch edges becoming entangled with one another. Then, in order to store the sheets in a 3-ring binder, the punched edges had to be trimmed (with a scissor or paper cutter) in order to be punched once again, ...

Yep. Also makes scanning pages a problem. One page tends to catch on the next, even if I take effort (and it takes some) to square up the pile first.

 

But I think the thing that finally made me decide against my Circa was realizing that its primary feature -- the ability to remove/move pages *rapidly* -- wasn't actually something I did very often. With that realization it became clear that for me the Circa/Arc style doesn't provide me any advantage over a multi-ring binder (like a Franklin-Covey etc), but brings a new *disadvantage* in the form of the entanglement you mention. But for someone who needs to do a lot of shuffling of paper positions, I can certainly see the advantage/disadvantage tradeoff moving back in favour of Circa. Horses for courses.

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Good eye! Yes, it's my Kulloch Sea Glass Fantasy "51".

 

http://i646.photobucket.com/albums/uu188/ErikEvens/2403c21b-0931-4a31-a198-397d557bae12_zps134f0132.jpg

Any chance of a picture with the cap off

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Any chance of a picture with the cap off?

Sure - iPhone always at the ready:

 

http://i646.photobucket.com/albums/uu188/ErikEvens/photo_zps3c892bc7.jpg

Learning from the past does not mean living in the past.

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another advantage of the Circa system is that smaller sized papers will fit into the larger circa. one of the problems of the "ring" binders is that you cannot put the smaller sized papers directly into the larger sized ring binders. With Circa, you just pull it from the smaller size and put it right into the larger sized binder because all of the notches are spaced the same in all sizes.

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