24 July 2014

Van der Spek A5 organiser - review

So we are approaching the end of our big Van der Spek feature during the last two weeks. We have been holding back with the release of these posts so that Petra at Van der Spek could get their new Web-Shop up and running.

It was back in March this year that Petra and I started to discuss reviewing her wonderful products and the two you have seen being made and reviewed are the result of that co-operation and discussion.

Yesterday we showed you how this was particular A5 organiser was made by Van der Spek in their own workshops in Holland.

So today we are looking at the A5 Van der Spek Custom model which comes fitted with 35mm Krause rings. The leather colours are 6202 (Ciocolatio) on the outside and 6208 (Cuoio) on the inside. These are both Italian nappa leathers, which is very soft to the touch and very supple.

The overall external design is the same as the Standard size Van der Spek, the design has been scaled up in proportions.

The rear cover is also the same as the Standard size Van der Spek.

Moving to the internal layout this is were it does differ to the Standard.  Starting with the front inside cover. There are two columns of card holders holding 10 cards in total, There is a further two at the bottom of the cover and a slip pocket behind these two card pockets.

There is a full height vertical slip pocket behind this card section this can take folded A4 sheets easily.

The rings on this model are 35 mm Krause rings and we will come on to how these work later on in the review.

The back inside cover has a zip pocket as well as another full height slip pocket behind this zip pocket, this one is gusseted so it can take more papers.

There is an elasticated pen loop also fitted on the back inside cover. It is possible to also specify a 2nd pen loop fitted on the inside front cover at extra cost.

The quality of the stitching is excellent it is both consistent and of high quality. Again contrasting thread have been used on the inside and outside of the organiser.

Like the standard it is possible to order a leather fly leaf, this is quite thin and comes in the contrasting colours of the organiser.

Like on the standard, the flyleaf adds to the appearance of the organiser and also smooths out the writing surface when writing on the left hand side of the organiser when you have various cards in the slots.

Yes they really are 35mm internal diameter.

The inside back cover pocket can neatly take my Kindle eReader.

Looking end on to the rings you can see they are more or less circular in profile so they have quite a large capacity for holding a lot of paper.

The Standard and the A5 have been in use since I received them back in April, I've hardly had any desire to move out of them really they just work so well for me.

In Use: 
The A5 Van der Spek has been the main organiser in my pair of organisers I use on a daily basis. It is mainly sat open on my desk, but during our recent visit to UK it was often carried in a bag or rucksack during the many events and visits I made around UK.

When I first started using the A5 Van der Spek one of the first things I noticed was that the big 35 mm rings can be a bit of a hurdle to get over in terms of writing in my diary, which is where most of my time is spent in the organiser. I might look information up in other sections, but most of my writing activity is in the diary section.

Traditionally, the diary section was one of the first sections in my A5 organiser set up. But with the 35mm rings there was quite a large 'step' between one side of my week view and the other side with the rings forming a 'hurdle' in the middle. This isn't so noticeable with 25 or 30mm rings. So to over come this I moved my entire A-Z contacts section from the back of the organiser to the front and that solved the issue for me.

I would like to thank Petra Van der Spek for supplying the review sample featured in this post and especially her patience when we were trying to decide what colours to make it in!

The Van der Spek website now has a new web-shop which makes it a lot easier to order an organiser from them. There is also a very friendly Facebook group devoted to Van der Spek organisers.

Here is their publicity video, but it shows the people themselves crafting these lovely organisers. There were no stand-ins for the making of this video!

And finally... there will be a chance later today to win a Van der Spek organiser here on Philofaxy, the competition will be open to all our readers.


  1. Beautiful organizer I loved seeing the still photos last night of it being made. Gorgeous I love it.

  2. Very nice review again! It is good to see how the binders are made. And indeed a very nice binder!

  3. Gorgeous binders!! Be still my beating heart!!

  4. Thanks for this review, Steve. I almost hyperventilated at the mention of 35mm rings. lol Any idea how "floppy" this binder would be if it was built without the stiffener?

    Nancy B

  5. Beautiful binders. I've enjoyed reading the VDS posts and seeing how they are made. Such craftsmanship at work.

  6. This is a well thought-out binder, I could see it even without touching it!
    And does VdS company sells Krause rings also?

  7. not sure if I could cope with not having my diary as a first section, so used to it now! but would be worth trying! :)

  8. They are beautiful. I think I heard Josh say on one of his videos his was about $300.00... If so, I have ALOT of pennies to save up!!

  9. Beautiful binder, but also seems so functional, which is why I know I will love it. Very informative post as always!

  10. I love mine. Best value for the money on the market. VdS has been fantastically helpful, friendly, and supportive before and after the sale. I damaged my binder and they fully repaired it, paying international freight both ways, totally free of charge.

    I say pinch your pennies and buy one. There is nothing else like it. I have absolutely zero regrets and missed it dearly while it was away on its trip to Puttershoek to be repaired!