My Franklin Quest collection

I was recently doing a bit of a reorganization of my planners and insert pages and realized that I’ve amassed a small collection of Franklin Quest binders.

The collection, top to bottom: Open compact binder in green verona leather, 1.5 inch rings, zip compact binder in green vinyl, 1.25 inch rings, zip compact binder in burgundy verona leather, 1.25 inch rings; zip monarch binder, black verona leather, 1.75 inch rings.
The collection, top to bottom: Open compact binder in green verona leather, 1.5 inch rings, zip compact binder in green vinyl, 1.25 inch rings, zip compact binder in burgundy verona leather, 1.25 inch rings; zip monarch binder, black verona leather, 1.75 inch rings.

Franklin Quest was the corporate name of the training and planning company which is now known as Franklin Covey.  These binders all date from the 1990s.  They are incredibly well built using durable materials.  Even the well used vinyl binder still looks very presentable.  The green binder at the top of the pile was used when I purchased it, and I carried it every day for six months and it shows no wear whatsoever.

These are incredibly practical binders; they all feature two huge pen loops which are sensibly placed towards the top of the binder so the pen may be fully inserted and hooked via the shirt clip to the loop without protruding from the bottom of the cover.  They all have large rings, ranging from 30 to 44mm.

The compacts; equivalent to Filofax personal size
The compacts; equivalent to Filofax personal size

The interiors of these have similar features.  All have a secretarial pocket, a couple of business card slots, and a pair of slip pockets.

All three lie perfectly flat.  The binders are properly built like books, with a spine, hinge, and cover.  These models are very structured and have very firm covers which make them easy to write in when standing without a table or desk.  Franklin Quest also made unstructured binders which would appeal to the floppy binder fans.

One of the best features of these is the ease with which the rings may be changed.  The rings may even be swapped from one binder to another.  The burgundy zip binder came with a set of 1.5 inch rings, which I swapped into my green open binder.  If you want to do a similar swap, make sure that the binder you are moving the rings to is large enough to accommodate them.  Remember, an extra quarter inch of ring space will push your tabs a quarter inch further out to the edge of the binder, which could cause problems if the covers are not wide enough!

Rings are held in place by two screws.  Use a 5/64 hex key (allen wrench) to remove these.
Rings are held in place by two screws. Use a 5/64 hex key (allen wrench) to remove these.
Rings removed
Rings removed

The rings on all of these binders function perfectly and give me not the slightest trouble.  It is handy to know that if they ever do malfunction it is so easy to replace them!

30mm in burgundy, 38mm in green
30mm in burgundy, 38mm in green

I bought these binders on ebay.  The leather compacts cost about $20-$40 each.  The vinyl binder was purchased because I wanted the inserts from it; I paid about $5 plus shipping for that one.  If you buy one of these, try to find one which includes the black plastic page-lifters.  These are inserted at the front and back of the binder and help guide the pages away from the spine when you close the binder.  They do not appear to be available to purchase separately from FranklinCovey and are really nice to have.  Some ebay sellers sell these separately and charge absurd amounts for them!

If you have any questions about these binders pop them into the comments and I will do my best to answer them for you.

17 thoughts

  1. These look brilliant, so now I have another set of wants on my list. Am I addicted? I fear I am, but they are such useful things to own. I have a nice top grain Franklin Covey Classic in maroon, but these are even better.


  2. Looking for a replacement screw for my older Franklin. I use 1 1/2″ rings. Can’t find just one screw. Even bought a fabric binder at a thrift store and that screw is too course of a thread. My binder has really fine thread. Do you know where to get the “hex screws” themselves? Thanks.

  3. I work in a place with 300+ people and I am the only person using a Franklin Planner. Am I a figment of the past and people are using their computers or are people still using these paper planners?

  4. Did someone say 1.75 rings? Swoon! I have ring envy. (Though I find the Monarch size to be too large to carry around with me very easily.)

    I am a loyal subscriber on YouTube, but don’t think I’ve ever commented there because I don’t have the patience to type on my tablet which is about the only place I ever watch videos. I loved the FranklinQuest you used to have that has the wallet pocket. I didn’t realize that anyone other than Filofax made planners with wallet pockets. That’s the one I’m keepin’ my eye out for.

  5. I am a Franklin Quest/Covey gal and you can actually find some of the Franklin’s with an almost clear (more of a frosted page lifter). I have been known to pick up junk planners at thrift stores just for the inserts. Also I have bought from jtomaha a couple of times – but they were not that good a checking and accurately describing condition. For instance I got a binder that the one of the seams was separating and the cardboard filler was exposed – not fixable as it was at an inside edge – but the planner itself was fairly cheap – around $20 US. The rings were in great shape so I removed them and they now reside in my lovely Marbella – which is very happy to be sporting almost 1.75 inch rings.

    1. I agree, you do have to be vigilant with jtomaha’s listings. I go over them with a fine-tooth comb and ask questions. However, I did see three that I liked and got them bundle together for $65 and quick shipping to Canada. I wish every seller was as transparent as apollyon11.

    2. Kerrie, when I read Joshua’s comment about the page lifters going for so much on ebay I thought, “I should have bought that Franklin-Covey planner I saw at the thrift store for $2.50 for the page lifters alone!” Unfortunately, I fear I sent a couple beautiful leather binders and inserts to the thrift store myself once in a purging spree thinking, “I won’t ever use that size again.” Now I realize that there’s no one perfect size to carry you through your lifetime; that you may go back and forth to different sizes during different life phases.

  6. The black page lifters really are important. I bought a binder from the Franklin store near me several years ago and when I got home, I noticed it didn’t have them. First chance I had, I went back and asked for them. I don’t think I could use the binder without them.

    1. Hi Kristy,
      I actually buy many (maybe even most) things second hand; I’ve rarely had any issues with anything. I think you can feel pretty confident with the Franklin Quests on ebay; a few sellers sell lots and lots of them and they are very thorough about photographing any defects and have excellent feedback with no tricky business.

      1. Some of the major FQ/FC sellers on eBay:

        apollyon11 – Probably the most expensive, but is the most thorough in disclosing the condition of each binder and sums by giving a rating out of 10.
        jtomaha – has a lot of binders and is generally cheaper than apollyon11.
        dimondbk and rei_fubeca are other sellers with lots of FQ/FC. All are located in Utah, likely becuase there are lots of these in the Utah area, as Steve Covey was Mormon.

  7. I have a few Vintage Franklins also …they are lovely BEASTS 🙂 They are the reason I can’t seem to really USE my otherwise much loved filofax because I got so spoiled by larger rings.

  8. Very interesting. They look well made. I really like the easily interchanged rings. I have always had difficulty in finding Franklin Covey binders. I will look again the next time I am in the US.

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