Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A new priority in Filofaxes...

There are lots of factors which need thinking about when you are going to choose a Filofax- practical things like size, layout of the pockets, weight and bulk, and aesthetic things like colour and overall appearance. I haven't much had to choose between these things because I guess I have never identified a specific need with Filofaxes, except for my daily Filofaxes have to be personal-sized and my work Filos have to be A5. The only filo I have decided upon purely on practical need is my Cuban Zipped, as I bought it at a time when it was raining a lot, and I didn't want to have to keep taking my backpack off to protect my filo and papers inside from the rain. Also, the 30mm rings come in very handy!!

But today, I realised something. A few weeks ago another Filofax addict and I exchanged 2 filos, my pocket Crimson Malden for her personal Imperial Purple Finchley. And Mrs Finchley is just gorgeous...

but easily scratched! Today I was holding my Finchley to my chest when I was carrying quite a lot of stuff, and her delicate cover rubbed up against the rough metal zip of my jacket and got scratched! It's not too noticeable, but I know it's there, and it really annoys me! So I have realised a new priority in my choice of Filofaxes: ruggedness.

Now, I don't abuse my filofaxes- I am very good to them. I try to be careful with them when I pick them up because sometimes my nails are sharp; I never put them down where they could get damaged or wet or stained etc; I carry them in my hand because I know they will get damaged inside my bag. But however careful I am with them, they are bound to get scratched one day. I REALLY don't want that to stop me loving them or using them... but I want them to stay in good condition.
Out of my filofaxes, I have a few that are easily scratched:
Ochre Maldens in personal and A5
Finchleys in teal and imperial purple
I LOVE these filofaxes, especially my ochre Maldens. The A5 stays at home, and if I need to take the contents to uni, I put it inside my red Domino A5. But my favourite out of all my filofaxes is my personal ochre Malden. Unfortunately, this one is very easy to accidentally scratch.
I have very fast-growing, strong nails. I can cut them one day, then 2 weeks later they are almost an inch long from end to end! Seriously! So when I was last using my ochre Malden, I had long nails and even though I was really careful, I kept scratching it when I picked it up. Fortunately, it's quite easy to rub the scratches out. I find it's easier on the ochre Malden than on the Kendal, which you are supposed to be able to rub out using the natural oils in the leather, but I can always see silvery marks left behind on the Kendal.

Anyway, I don't want to have to stop using my beautiful filofaxes! Especially my lovely ochre Malden!! I suppose I could just use these ones at home, but I want to use them outside too! What would be the perfect solution is if I could buy a bag with a pocket that would both keep my filofaxes protected, and easily accessible, but that will take some hunting!
I have some filofaxes which are a bit tougher, which I think would be quite difficult to scratch (although I wouldn't put it past my nails!!):
Cuban zipped
Amazonas in personal and A5
Dominos in personal and A5
Maldens in crimson and vintage pink

Yes, surprisingly, the different colour Maldens hold up much better than the ochre Malden (although, overall, I prefer the ochre!). I think this is because the leather on the ochre Malden is much thinner compared to the other colours- crimson, vintage pink, grey and I think black (although I haven't seen that one in person), because these colours are dyed with a substance which kind of paints the leather with the colour, leaving a thick protective layer over the leather, whereas the ochre is a more natural colour, so has been treated with colour rather than painted. But the painted leather is much tougher than the ochre.
Then my other filofaxes in the last list are also tough, especially the amazona and the cuban zipped. It was a relief at Christmas when I received my Amazona to be able to move into a tough binder after using my ochre Malden so tentatively for a few weeks, scared to scratch it. And today I deliberately moved back into my cuban zipped because I know the leather is as tough as nails as opposed to my Finchley. These filofaxes both feel like they have that painted layer coating the leather, as with the Malden, but even tougher! I'm not scared about getting these scratched through normal wear-and-tear, although I wouldn't put it past them if my keys get anywhere near them! My Moleskine notebook's cover is completely ruined because of them!

So should I spend the rest of my time in my tougher filofaxes, and leave the more delicate ones on the shelf? That seems harsh, especially as I think the delicate ones are some of the prettiest. Another problem is the fact that these tougher filofaxes, the amazona and cuban (not the Maldens, those are always well-behaved!) have such tough leather that they don't easily lay flat- a factor which is also important for me!
And what about choosing filofaxes in the future? I don't think it's a problem for the purple Malden, which I'm hoping to get for my birthday, as I'm sure this one will have the painted coating like the crimson, grey, vintage pink etc Maldens. But I'm also looking at buying a Holborn zipped filo, which if the leather is anything like the Holborn I have felt in John Lewis, I think this might be easily scratched too...

Oh, dilemmas!!


  1. Oh, I would definitely use the filofax you love and let it age. I love the look of well loved, quality possessions.

  2. I'm with Josh on this. I don't throw mine around but scratching is inevitable. I think part of the problem is that the new filo leather is so processed it doesn't age like normal leather - which is a shame.


  3. I found my Kendal was really resilient, the wax shows scratches at first but then just soaks them up, and stains, all sorts - have you tried rubbing a little wax or even oil from the skin on your face (first thing in the morning when your skin's been replenishing itself all night) onto them? I do that, which probably sounds a bit weird but it does help! The reason I fell in love with the Kendal is the batterd yet noble display copy I saw in a shop, I thought "you're going to age better than me, but I still love you!" :)

  4. I think it can be tricky! I lusted after a personal ivory Deco for a bit, but came to the conclusion that I'd worry about scratching the clasp & if I did it would seriously bug me... Very content with my crimson Malden & feel lucky that it's one of the more rugged ones. However, I think it would be a shame not to use a filo because you're concerned about wear & tear.

  5. I prefer the more rugged ones too. My Cuban Zip will scratch but hardly noticeable. I have the black Malden, and it is SUPER easy to scratch (I just did it yesterday with my nails, I was so sad!) BUT you can't see them well because of the color.

    I wish they had not discontinued Amazona, because not only was it rugged, but it had TWO pen loops!

    Anyhoo--If it bothers you that they get scratched, which they are bound to do--just take out the rugged ones. Or you can celebrate life and Filofax--bumps, scratches, and all :D and just enjoy the heck out of your favorite binders.

  6. I agree with Shanananana. I have a Kendal which has really been through the wars. It even survived an African Grey mischief session with all but the snap intact. Any scratches rub right out and just add to the beautiful patina.