FAQ about Rings Rings Rings!

Mr Van Der Spek working his ring magic on my black A5 Touch Me, changing the 25mm rings to 35mm for me!


A couple of questions about rings have come up in the various groups lately. I thought I would answer all of them in one post.

This personal size Filofax has such small rings! Can I buy bigger ones and replace them?

In this case, the Filofax in question was a compact size. Compact size takes the same size paper as the personal but has much smaller rings. In some cases, people buy compact binders (such as the Back To School) going by the size of the inserts and not the rings, and are surprised when they receive them that the rings are so small. You cannot swap these rings out and in many cases there is not a binder model made in both compact AND personal size so you usually have to return the binder and choose another model.

But I CAN swap out the rings if I want a different size or colour or if they are broken, right?

When it comes to exchanging rings the most important thing to remember is that there are many different kinds of ring mechanisms.

Some rings simply slot in to the backplate and are exchangeable (some very old Filofaxes, the GENUINE exotic Filofaxes in ostrich, lizard and alligator, Gillio and Van Der Spek) but it is important to remember that even if the rings are exchangeable, the binder itself may not be designed to take larger rings. It may be too narrow and not fit inserts or tabs on larger rings, the spine may be too rigid to encompass the wider diameter. Older Van Der Spek Touch Mes for example are a pretty tight fit with big rings but they work. The newer ones are slightly wider to accommodate bigger rings.

These rings are pretty easy to fit. They just click on to the backplate. Gillio and Van Der Spek rings are interchangeable.

Mulberry rings are fastened with screws and may be bought online, but Mulberry themselves will (or used to at any rate) replace the rings themselves. You need to take your Mulberry binder to a Mulberry store, and they will send them off for new rings. If you want to do it yourself you need tools and some expertise.

Filofax rings are in most cases not replaceable unless you have mad skills. It is not just a matter of clipping the rings on. They usually have rivets.

How can I buy rings for Gillio and Van Der Spek binders?

You can contact Van Der Spek at website@vdslederwaren.nl and ask to order the rings you would like. You can choose between two different types of gold, and silver in different diameters for the different sizes of binder.


Van Der Spek does their best to help everyone but they need to buy ring mechanisms in batches of 1000 so they do not buy unless there is sufficient demand. They cannot just buy one set of rings at a time. In additions, they cannot buy sizes that are not available from the ring manufacturers. It is also very important to VDS that the rings are strong and will hold up to wear so they do not stock rings they feel do not meet these requirements.

Can VDS offer rings for other brands of binders?

Generally, no because the backplate mechanisms and therefore the construction of the binder will be different, as will the tools necessary. So even though you may be able to send them the rings, actually constructing the binder will be impossible for them for various reasons.

Can I fit 3-Ring mechanisms into my A5 Van Der Spek or Gillio?

Yes you can, if the backplate is compatible. The problem here is that they are very hard to find. I had a Gigliodoro binder with a 3-ring mechanism (photo below) and I took it out, replaced it with the standard 6 ring mechanism and gave the 3 ring mechanism to a VDS owner.


What about the Velcro backed Rings – can I use them in another system?

These are useful and yes you can. All you need a free strip of leather to put the base Velcro on. Then all you need to do is stick the Velcro part with the rings onto it. You do not need any backplate mechanism at all. This means you can turn a Traveler’s Notebook or a wallet or writing folder into a ring binder.

See one of my Velcro-ringed binders here and the mechanisms here.

What is the biggest mistake people make with rings?

  1. pulling them open instead of pressing down on the tabs. Never ever pull open the rings!
  2. shipping them in flimsy packaging without proper protection around the rings
  3. overstuffing their binder – this puts terrible strain on the rings and pulls them open.




Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

7 thoughts

  1. A word of caution with regards to A5 rings. Krause have changed the design of the backing plate that is fixed in to the organiser. The older design has two mounting points and a locking tab close to one of the mounting points. More recent examples have moved the locking tab to the middle of the mechanism, so you need rings that are of the correct pattern for your backing plate otherwise they will not lock in to place.

      1. Yes, they are different. Petra can only get the new ones now for A5 with the locking tab in the middle.

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