Starting Over

I need help! I recently (unsuccessfully) attempted to create my own planner using DIY forms. I read the GTD book. I bought a Classic Circa sampler, a Levenger desk punch, and 24lb HP bright white inkjet paper. I spent hours choosing and printing out the form pages I wanted to use. My problems started when I started punching my forms. The punch holes from the punch I bought were not as deep as the ones on the pages that came in my sampler book, and the pages I punched did not stay in the planner when I turned the pages. The 24lb paper seemed more flimsy than the regular printer paper that I have. After not getting satisfactory help from Levenger about my punch, I ended up returning it. Now my planner is "dead in the water." Should I try a Rollabinder punch? Desktop or portable? What paper? I haven't been able to find some of the papers that have been recommended at this site(no Staples nearby; Walmart didn't have Hammersmith paper). Has anyone else had problems with the Circa Punch? All advice welcome....I really want this to work!

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rollabind punch and 28 pound paper

I've got a Rollabind punch. Rollabind and Levenger punches and paper should be completely interchangeable since they are the same system (Levenger licensed it from Rollabind). The only difference I've noticed is the Rollabind desktop punch can punch up to 12 holes per page while Levenger only does 11. This is because Rollabind is for scrapbooking where 12x12 inches is a standard page size. Levenger is meant for office supplies where 8.5" x 11" is the norm. I'd recommend the desktop punch if you are sure you want to stick with a Circa or Rollabind system. The portable punch only punches 3 holes at a time. It seems like it would take too long to set up a planner doing only 3 holes at a time.

I just purchased some 28 pound paper today from Staples and it is WONDERFUL to use with a fountain pen. I use a Pilot Varsity pen which puts out a lot of ink and seems to show through the page with just about any other paper. I tried on this 28 pound paper and the only thing I have that shows through is a fine point Sharpie marker! I've read on the Fountain Pen Network that other stores also have good 28 pound paper. I can't remember now if it was Office Max or Office Depot. Most of these stores have the option to purchase online if you aren't near one of these stores. And if you order enough stuff, shipping is free.

-Kenny

Starting Over

Thanks for your suggestions. I'm still trying to figure out why I am having problems with my pages coming out. I hate to spend more money on another punch (I lost $20 on shipping on the Circa one I sent back) if the same thing will happen. Obviously I must be doing something wrong because plenty of people seem to be happy with the circa/ rolla system. I'm already hooked...I just want my pages to stay put.

Smurf depth

Hi norann - I have a rollabind punch and I've also noticed that the depth of the punch cut isn't the same as that of pre-punched paper from Levenger. There's only a smidgen of difference, really, but it's noticeable all the same. I'd attribute this to the fact that Levenger uses one of the huge commercial punches, and not the desk punch, to punch out all its papers.

That said, I don't have too much trouble keeping my pages in the rings, unless I'm using wimpy paper. If you get up the courage again, you can get a Rollabind-branded punch for a decent price from wilde-ideas.com (sign up for their newsletter and keep an eye on their sales). Then, I'd recommend going online and hitting Office Max or Office Depot or Staples and checking out their online paper selection. You can usually score free shipping or discounts through these stores, so that helps. Then, with as heavy as paper as you can stand, try repunching and see how it works for you. It helps to not overstuff the binding discs - that's also a problem I seem to have. Hopefully you'll find that heavier paper + a Rollabind punch + bigger discs = joy, but if it doesn't, you could always resell the punch on Ebay or here on DIY and not be out too much. There always seems to be a healthy second-hand market for the Rollabind punches.
Good luck to you, and hope all works for the best!

What size discs are you

What size discs are you using?

I found that the 1" discs make the pages come out as I turn them. I need to go back to using the 3/4" discs.

lining up pages - run-on sentence alert

I had my daughter punch a bunch of paper for me this weekend and I noticed that there was a batch that wasn't as deep as the others but it was because she didn't line up the pages all the way flush to the guide, she was lining some up to an edge a little bit further in; that wasn't your problem was it?

Smurfs in the way, too much paper

Hi.

I have noticed that I get shallow or crooked cuts with my desk punch in two situations:

1) smurfs have escaped their confinement and are stuck in the punch heads themselves, preventing the paper from sitting flush at the back of the punch head. They get wadded up and shoved waaay back in the punch head, preventing proper alignment of the paper. Net result is a mushroom head with no or very little stem. You can dig out the little wads of smurf with an unbent paper clip or pocket knife. Frequent smurf-emptying helps to prevent the problem.

2) trying to punch too much paper at once, preventing the paper from sliding smoothly all the way to the back of the punch head. Removing a sheet or two generally fixes this problem. The net result here is often the same, a crooked punch or a smurf with no stem.

The hard part about punching is that you can't just re-punch the paper, you have to repair it first, maybe with a couple of strips of packing tape. This is, though, a good way to reinforce the smurfs of papers you're going to move a lot--tape the paper, then punch.

shris

Paper

I'm sorry to hear about the troubles. I've never noticed a functional difference between my levenger desktop punch holes & the store-bought pages, but I've not lined them up specifically to see. Probably because mine work for me. The system won't work (at least not well) with flimsy paper. Several here, including myself, have used the Staples Heavyweight Printing Paper, 28lb that comes in the yellow/orange and purple wrapper. That paper holds the punch well & stays put in the planner. You may have gotten a defective punch, but the paper you used also sounds like it wasn't quite up to snuff.

At this point you could try printing on punched paper you order from levenger or rollabind, but it's possible that the punches will get jammed up in your printer. Some folks have this problem. If that happens to you, I think you just might need to try another punch (either model should work) and better paper.

Best of luck,
bc

I'm sorry to hear about your

I'm sorry to hear about your punching problems.

I've noticed the same thing about the size of the smurfs on the pre-punched paper versus those I punch myself. The pre-punched ones do glide better on the disks, but the difference is, as others have mentioned, marginal. I've had a brief exchange with the Levenger folks about it and they were interested in knowing about it (although I suspect they were already well aware of this). I would hope that the next generation of punches will have bigger smurfs, but that's one big wish, as a thing like a paper punch, I'm afraid, seldom gets redesigned.

I also do get the short-to-no-stem problem in the same situations as described above. Usually the solution is just to be more careful. I'm a little disappointed with how few pages can be punched at a time, but 'c'est la vie'.

It's not impossible that your punch was defective (i.e. had something permanently caught in the smurf-maker), in which case I hope Levenger will acknowledge it and replace it. However, if you punch was "normal," then you won't find anything different with a Rollabind punch.

To ease the pain, you may want to check with M2Office (http://www.mc2office.com/Catalogue_FR/default.asp) they may still have a 50% rebate on Rollabind stuff, which will make your order less painful... (Call them - the discount does not show on the web site.)

Good luck!

Smurf difference

Submitted by grog on Tue, 2007-10-09 09:10.

I'm sorry to hear about your punching problems.

I've noticed the same thing about the size of the smurfs on the pre-punched paper versus those I punch myself. The pre-punched ones do glide better on the disks, but the difference is, as others have mentioned, marginal. I've had a brief exchange with the Levenger folks about it and they were interested in knowing about it (although I suspect they were already well aware of this). I would hope that the next generation of punches will have bigger smurfs, but that's one big wish, as a thing like a paper punch, I'm afraid, seldom gets redesigned.

I just compared a pre-punched Levenger MicroPDA page with that of a desk-punched - the stem is just a hair longer on the Levenger smurf, but the head of the smurf is much bigger, more rounded on the Levenger (a hair over a full millimeter). Didn't expect so much of a difference. Functionally, it's almost sixes (but as someone already said, the Levenger pages do move more easily, perhaps explaining why they are less prone to "falling out.")

Anyway, I second the motion on the next batch of punches getting a makeover, with the bigger smurf cuts.

I'm ready to try again

All of the responses to my punching dilemma were very helpful! I think the smaller smurf size did make a difference with the type of paper (wimpy!)I was using. I will be going to a town this weekend that has 2 Staples stores, so I will get the 28lb paper that several have recommended. AND I will get a Rollabinder punch. (I can't give Levenger any more shipping money.) I will definitely reinforce the pages that I turn the most....Action pages. and I will be careful when I punch my pages. I found a cheap planner calendar refill at Walmart. It has 7 holes, but I thought I could cover them with something, re-punch, and still use them with the rings. I have Xyron machine, so I may be able to figure something out with that. Hey, watch out for those smurfs lurking in the backs of your punches!

Norann

Staples doesn't carry Rollabind punches

The only Rollabind products I've seen at Staples are the Rollabind notebooks and some of the refill pages. To get the punch, you'll have to order from Rollabind themselves, Wilde Ideas, or some other company that carries the punch. You may also want to check out Ebay.

Staples 28 pound paper is really nice and smooth. Unfortunately, it is nearly twice as expensive as 24 pound paper. I may end up trying that next time to see if the difference is worth it.

-Kenny

Staples 28 pound paper ... is nearly twice as expensive as 24

But still less expensive than Levenger paper, yes ?
-----------------------------------
"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)

definitely less expensive

For anyone who is curious, Staples 24 pound printer paper was a bit over $5 for 500 sheets and 28 pound was a little over $10. I use the "Junior" size Circa notebooks so I can chop these 500 sheets in half and have 1,000 sheets. Levenger sells Junior size pages for $30 for 300 sheets. So pretty much $10 for 100 sheets of Levenger paper. Quite the price difference!

-Kenny

Image of different smurfs

I did a scan a while back of the different punched edges and put it up on flickr. Here's a link:

Smurf comparison

You can see that the depth of the half-circles on the smurfs is definitely different. (Btw, my punch is a number of years old, so I don't know if the current punch has the same depth of punch or not.)