28 October 2012

Cuban Personal Zip - Training

I've had the Cuban Personal Zip for nearly a year now and you will find my original review back here.

It has huge 30mm rings so it can carry a ton of stuff and given that I'm using my Compact Malden Zip as my carry around Filofax these days I'm not having an issue with the Zip.

However, sometimes I would just like a little more capacity compared to the Compact Malden has. OK may be something like a Holborn Zip might be a better compromise for me. But I have the Cuban Zip in the cupboard.

The thing that has always annoyed me about using the Cuban Zip has been its inability to lay flat in normal daily use. So I thought I had to do something about this. Could I get it to lay flat for long enough in normal use.

So the first thing I did was to give the leather some care cream treatment and some wax cleaner on the inside and out, not that it was dirty, but to just 'feed' the leather, I paid particular attention to the spine where the leather is going to hinge when opening and closing.

I also thought that I had to train this binder gently, like you do an athlete, you can't be a couch potato for 20 years and then expect to run a 4 minute mile after you have just been to the sports gear shop for some new running shorts... <scary image> !

So to start with the binder when open would sit at about 100 degrees in it's relaxed state, not the flat 180 degrees we all aim for.  Pick up my full A5 Malden and it flops to 270 degrees with no effort! The Personal Malden about 200 degrees ok with a few lumps and bumps... So there was some work to do on the Cuban.

I continued to flex the binder to the 180 degree opening and a little beyond that gradually. But I also took care to apply some more leather care balm to the spine to ensure there was no cracking of the leather.

This continued over a few days until I could get it all the way back to 360 degrees [gulp] After it had been flexed to this point it then would lay flat.

Take a look at the video to see the end result....


The key lesson is to only do this sort of thing after you have applied plenty of leather care balm to the spine to ensure that the leather doesn't crack as you flex the organiser. Also don't try to rush it, gradually flex the leather over a few days, reapplying the leather care balm each day.

And naturally I will not be held responsible for any damage you might cause to your own Filofax organiser training it.....

13 comments:

  1. I managed to do the same with mine, though I have a slight ring issue and am now scared of flexing it too much in fear of making it worse.

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  2. Steve - did you have any problems with it affecting the rings? My Holborn pulls the rings apart slightly when try get it to open properly - it looks like it is the design, but not sure if conditioning the leather would help.

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    1. No, I've not had any issues with the rings, but the design of the Cuban is different to the Holborn, it's a lot squarer around the spine area compared to the Holborn.

      I think the stiffness in the Cuban and it's apparent 'memory' is due to some sort of internal stiffening which might be plastic. Without undoing the stitching there's no way of knowing. But having treated the leather it does seem more willing to stay open now!

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  3. Many thanks for another interesting post, Steve. With regards to the internal stiffening, if you're not sure then I bet a lot of your readers won't be sure either.

    So, I'm wondering whether it might be worth showing people who've always been curious as to just exactly how a modern day filofax is made, by cutting a binder up and posting some pics.

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    1. [gulp] the very thought of doing that makes me shudder!! But if I did have one that I would be willing to sacrifice, then yes I would put one under the knife!

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    2. No probs, Steve. I bought a Finsbury in this year's January sale and I'm not using it at the moment, so I will dissect it with my trusty swiss army knife and post the dastardly act on Youtube next weekend. I'll call it "filofax dissection", so it should be easy to find.

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    3. Thanks for a useful post, Steve :)
      Neil - I think I could only do this if a filofax was completely trashed beyond repair, but that will be fascinating!

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    4. Dissecting the Filofax...hmmmm, timing couldn't be better for this gruesome act during Halloween week. Look forward to the end results.

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  4. Steve-thank you for another great post. I was especially interested in your topic, as I also have spent time trying to train my own Cuban Zip.
    When I bought the Cuban Zip, I assumed it would never stay open, no matter how much careful training it received. But after a few weeks of use, I saw some slow changes, and I discovered that if I was careful, it might just stay open more than it did in the beginning.
    I didn't have leather balm, but I was very careful not to just bend it. I put a few other Filofaxes on each side when it was on a flat surface-face up. There was far less pressure applied to the leather by applying weight face up. I did this for five days, each day for a few hours until the fifth day I held it there for 6 hours.
    After 5 days, I can say that it will stay open if I hold it in my hands. On a flat surface, it stays open almost all the way flat. I think if I keep using it, it will eventually open completely flat upon unzipping. That's good enough for me.

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  5. I've been trying to train my compact Chameleon to lay flat but when I press it open too far the rings start opening so I've given up. Its not bugging me too much that it doesn't lie flat since my others do. Great post.

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  6. I'm wondering if I had damaged a mini Filo I bought. Brand new, open it up to place things into it and the leather cracked. Like there was a clear coating on it :( I had NO idea that could happen because I have a Finsbury and nothing of this sort happened to it.

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  7. O.M.G Steve you are my HERO....Ever since I bought my A5 Cuban Zip (brand new NEVER USED for AU$25.00 at the market) the seeming inflexibility of the leather has driven me NUTS....I will give this a try & let you know how it goes....FINGERS CROSSED....**wink**....!!!

    Cheers,
    Tamarah :o)

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    1. What a find! I'd love to know how this worked out!

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