Some days you just can’t win.
I was very inspired by several of the male filofax users who had deployed mini or M2 size binders to use as combined wallet and notes, or even wallet and full planner. I generally have my personal Filofax with me, but it is not right at hand during all waking hours. A wallet with pen and some notepaper inside sounded totally brilliant for capturing ideas, thoughts, things needing to be done, etc. At work, I spend a fair amount of time out in the building and don’t usually carry my planner, so the mini-in-a-pocket seemed really ideal.
So I bought a NOS mini orange Cross from ebay.
This lovely little binder came in brand new condition, in its original box, with the original tissue paper. I love the bright orange color! I ordered a vinyl card insert to cut up for card slots to carry on the rings and a clever mini Zebra ballpoint pen.
And then I set it up as a wallet. I even made a video (which you can see here). It worked beautifully. I had a wallet which could also serve for notes on the go. I would jot quick notes all the time, and daily would transfer them into my main planner. I did not try to duplicate my diary, which I’d tried to do during an earlier mini experiment.
But sadly it was not meant to be. First of all, the modern minis are a bit too bulky to carry in a trouser pocket. When you add the bulk of a wallet pocket, card slots, a zip pocket, and 13mm rings you end up with a pretty hefty object to stuff into pockets.
I prefer to carry my wallet in a back pocket, but could not carry a Filofax there for fear of sitting on it and crushing the rings.
But the worst bit was the leather coating. I had thought that the Cross was immune to the peeling coating issue which seems so endemic with the subsequent Classic range. But the very first time I opened the mini orange binder to fully open, the coating creased and delaminated from the leather.
And it just kept getting worse. It began to resemble a snake shedding its skin with big, loose bubbles of clear coating separating from the leather. It seemed to become worse every time I opened the binder. It looked awful. The cover was a mess. It started to come loose inside too, near the rings, by the zipper, card slots… essentially anywhere where the leather flexed.
I spent an evening discussing with Tracy of The Crazy Suburban Mom, who had successfully removed the coating from her grey Malden. She recommended I try to remove the peeling coating.
So I took cotton and some rubbing alcohol and started to work at it. And the coating started to come loose, revealing the orange leather below. I was nearly finished removing the clear coating when suddenly the orange color began to come loose as well! I pulled and a huge chunk of color peeled off, revealing crappy-looking brownish leather beneath.
At this point I was both shocked and desperate. I thought that, perhaps, a brown binder with orange contrast stitching would actually look quite nice, so I spent the next hour peeling orange coating off the leather. Eventually I had a brownish binder with little flecks of orange remaining.
The brown leather is not very nice and really the result is too ugly to use.
For the moment, I am using a regular wallet which I was given as a Christmas gift instead. And my mini pen fits into the fold, using the shirt clip to hold it in place, so I still have a pen with me at all times. I have a few other tricks up my sleeve to manage my note-taking needs, but for the moment am just using the conventional wallet.