Ask The Desk: B6, 8126 Long, Swivodex, Filofax Refills, Frixion for recipes


I have such a huge back log of Ask The Desk questions that I thought I’d try to get a bunch done this week. I’m so sorry for the delay! I do hope I’ve gotten a bunch answered here. If you are waiting for an answer, please drop me a line and let me know. If you’ve found a solution, please let me know —  I’d love to do a whole “TELL the DESK a thing or two” post!

Clara asks:

I need a plain notebook with 100gsm. I’d like a B6 size, but A5 is ok too (just to understand, the ISO A sizes are a little too tall).
I’m looking for a sewn notebook with soft cover, with about 160pages or 192 at most. Its a everyday journal, with sketch, writings and so on.
It seems easy, but it’s not 😀
Paper-oh is perfect, but it has only 112pages, there are opposite review about monsieur notebook (about a bad build quality?). Do you know Nu Elite Kraft notebooks?

Clara, I have wracked my brains (and my endless lists of notebooks) trying to find something that fit into your requirements and I’m coming up empty-handed. If I find the right size, its not the right paper weight. If its the right weight, it doesn’t have enough pages, etc. I have not taken Monsieur Notebooks out for a test drive in a couple years. I know they have been adjusting their materials so I can’t speak to their current configurations. The Nu Elite Kraft notebooks look interesting. For the price point, it might be worth trying it out, though I suspect the paper quality is probably not fountain pen friendly but may be great for pencils and collage.

The Midori MD notebooks don’t list their paper weight but its very good quality, its a soft cover, sewn binding and quite durable. The page count is 88 sheets/176 pages. It is an A5 so it misses there but meets almost all your other criteria.

Midori MD Notebook cover

If anyone has a better suggestion for Clara, please leave a comment below!

Jerry needs:

I have an original Schmidt Rollerball one with a 8126 refill but the length of it is 108mm NOT 98mm as most on sale are. The writing on the refill is “bluRafia Capless System 8126” made in Germany

Can you help with a replacement refill please.


I think you are looking for this:

This would be the Schmidt Long Black Rollerball Refill. Also available in blue. It’s available for $4.50 from our friends over at Refill Finder who pull my proverbial refill out of the fire more times than I care to count.

Steve wants to find:

Do you know where to get instruction manual for swivodex inkwell?

Steve I scouted through all the old posts on Fountain Pen Network in search of any information about the Zephyr Swivodex and all I could find was a photo of the disassembly (in this thread)  of a one but no actual operating instructions. Readers, if anyone has any information that might help Steve, please leave it below in the comments. Thanks!

Daphne asks:

I have searched your blogs but would just like clarification before I order anything. Do the six outer rings of a Franklin Covey Classic ring binder match the position of the six rings on a Filofax A5 binder?

I love Filofax’s binders but don’t like the quality paper of their refills. I have used the FC Compact refills interchangeably with Filofax personal binders but I haven’t found a precise answer to my question above for the larger size systems.

Alternatively, could you recommend A5 size dated planner refills that are on higher quality paper?


On your first question, NO. Franklin Covey rings do not align with Filofax rings because that would be too convenient. Steve over on Philofaxy tried to shed a bit of light on this in his deftly titled article The Great Organiser Hole Conspiracy. I’ve looked at the diagram he created several times which makes the whole matter as clear as mud. It’s like all the different computer cord dongles. Why do they all have to be different sizes?

Filofax stripes insert writing test

As for Filofax paper quality, I can recommend the new Filofax 2017 Illustrated Inserts. The paper quality is far superior to the regular stock inserts and the designs are actually quite nice. Goulet Pens is still stocking the full line for both personal-sized and A5. Other alternatives are Hello Forever blank refills (which I reviewed here) or Yellow Paper House on Etsy.

Nancy is searching for:

I wondered if these (Frixion) pens would be a good idea for recipe cards? I am making a cookbook for a family member, but I don’t want to use a regular pen. I don’t want to have mistakes crossed out, and it would be inevitable when writing 100 recipe cards. I don’t want to type the cards, since it would be more personable in my writing. Would the plastic pockets in the book protect the writing? I obviously don’t want to write out a ga-zillion cards just to have them disappear when under light. Suggestions?

I think Pilot Frixion Gel Pens would be a great option. One thing to consider is that Frixion pens can be affected by heat, making the ink disappear. However, since the cards would be in the kitchen, any “disappearing ink” can be easily solved by sticking the cards in the freezer for a short amount of time to make the ink reappear.

According the the Pilot UK FAQ:

Our FriXion products’ ink “erases” due to PILOT’s exclusive thermo-sensitive ink technology. When you want to make corrections on your page, simply turn around your FriXion pen and rub with the FriXion eraser tip as if using a regular pencil eraser. While rubbing, the ink heats up to over 60°C and becomes invisible. Conversely, the ink reappears at temperatures of under -10°C.

If this seems to finicky for you, you may want to use a regular pen of some sort and consider making any corrections using correction tape which is fast and tidy.

Written by

3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Ana – I owe you a debt of supreme thanks. In a recent blog post, you mentioned a journal I had never heard of before — MOO. I looked it up and read the dimensions very carefully, and decided to give it a go.

    The BACK STORY: Years ago, I purchased a leather journal cover from LEVENGER, something they called the SOULSKIN because it fit Moleskine like a glove. Well, as many a fountain pen lover knows, Moleskine A5 (approx) harcover journals bleed like opening a vein. So that lovely, soft as black butter leather cover, embossed with my initials, languished the last 10 years, unfilled by a worthy journal. And then you reviewed the MOO. It isn’t completely ghost-proof, but better than Moleskine.

    I received it three days ago, and it fits my SOULSKIN like a kid glove.


  2. I second the comment on the Midori notebooks. Sewn well and durable; been carrying 4×6 inch notebook in back pocket, hiking jacket, and scooter jeans for 11 months. And the paper is the equal of any notebook I use.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.