Sunday, September 28, 2014

Day Timer Desk Size Malibu Gets Franklin Covey Classic Rings (from 1" to 1.5")

I recently made the switch from Franklin Covey compact size (4.25" x 6.75" inserts) to Franklin Covey Classic size (5.5" x 8.5" inserts).  My main reason for making the switch was because my  commitments increased (resulting in a need for more sections and paperwork).  I had been using a Compact size planner (similar to Filofax personal) as my "everything" planner, including my wallet.  This was my most recent set-up - a somewhat vintage Franklin Covey compact with 1.25" rings:

Then I spied and purchased this planner from eBay -it was listed as a compact, but when I got it I realized that it was a Franklin Covey pocket sized planner with 1" rings.  Franklin Covey pocket size planners use 3.5" x 6" inserts and the ring configuration is still 3 and 3, but the spacing between the two sets of rings is smaller than a compact at only 1.5" versus 2".  Needless to say, I was in LOVE so I decided to make the switch into a pocket size as my wallet and pack around planner:

Needless to say switching to this size limited the amount of inserts I was able to keep and the writing space was reduced so I decided to keep this size just for the wallet/finances and up-size everything else into a Classic (similar to the European A5) as my "everything" planner.  Yes, this meant two planners - however I only needed to carry the smaller (pocket) size with me daily and the larger (classic) size would only go with me when needed.  I had used classic size planners for many years before downsizing into a smaller size this past January, so I still had quite a few inserts that I was able to use.  However I did not have very many Classic size planners left in my collection.  What I did have was a couple of zip faux leather Franklin Covey planners in Black, a couple of Red Leather Franklin Covey Classics (well used and not very pretty) and a Day-timer Malibu in Kiwi.  My favorite was the Day-timer Malibu as I loved the look, the feel and the interior pocket setup - but with only 1" rings I could not make it work.  I decided to go with one of my faux leather planners with 1.5" rings.  I removed the zipper and added an elastic strap to hold it closed and some Dollar Tree embellishments - attempting to make it prettier.

I lasted in this planner for about 5 days before wanting something different, which led me to my Malibu.
I had tried to use this, but the
1" rings are just too small and
pages would not turn properly,
nor could I put all the pages I
needed into it.
I had it sitting in front of my yesterday morning and I just kept thinking that if I could get my Franklin Covey 1.5" rings into this planner it would be perfect.  Now - keep in mind that I had done one other ring transplant on a smaller (portable size) Malibu earlier in the year, but I wasn't 100% happy with the way it turned out.  So I sat contemplating for all of 10 minutes (during which I measured the overall size of the planner cover against my Franklin Coveys to see how close they were - trying to ascertain if it would hold the 1.5" rings).  I decided to go for it figuring that if it wouldn't hold the 1.5" rings at the very least I could get 1.25" rings into following is my picture tutorial of how I did it.

Now, before I show the "how to" I want to insert the following warning/disclaimer.....

Disclaimer - this is not for the faint of heart, if you attempt to do this you have to be willing to potentially ruin not one, but two binders.  You need to have the proper tools and some manual dexterity and strength to do this (along with lots of patience) as it takes anywhere from 1-2 hours from start to finish. I am not responsible for any attempts that you might make as I am not a professional and this is only my personal experience with this switch.  You will be dealing with sharp metal, so glove and eye protection are recommended.

So if you are ready, here is what you need and how I did it:
What you need:

  1. Gloves & Eye Protection for SAFETY!
  2. One binder that you want to use with riveted in rings (I choose the Daytimer Malibu in Desk size).
  3. A Franklin Covey binder with removable rings (look for  the hex head type screws and make sure to test that you can remove the rings before using).  This binder will be rendered useless once you are done.
  4. A pair of needle nose pliers (medium size works the best).
  5. Heavy duty scissors.
  6. Seam ripper.
  7. Super glue (optional)

1.  Supplies - the smallest needle nose pliers ended up working the best for me.

2.  What it looked like before I started.
3.  Grab the rings in the middle and lift them up, bending them as shown in the picture
(this takes a bit of strength).
4.  The rivets shown here are what you will be removing.
5.  In order to get to the rivets, bend each end up as shown.  You will need to remove both side
pieces, the center pieces and the tab.
6.  The only way to remove the side pieces, middle pieces and the tab is with brute strength using
your needle nose pliers.  Just lift and bend each of the pieces back and forth until they eventually
have enough wear that they break off.  This image shows the process.

7.  I have one end removed and this shows the process on the other end - only one piece left to
remove so that I can lift the rings off of the rivets.

8.  Success - the rings are lifted off of the rivets.
9.  This is what it looks like once the rings are removed and all of the pieces you will end up with.
10.  This is a close up of the remaining rivets.  You can see that the top part of the rivet has a little "lip"
that is folded over, this holds the casing in place.  You will need to carefully pinch the top part
so that the casing can be removed.
11.  I used the "cutting" portion of my needle nose pliers to pinch the inner part of the rivet together until it was smashed enough to remove the outer casing.  This part takes quite a few minutes to do.  See the next picture for what I mean by smashing the inner rivet.
12.  This shows the outer casing removed from the inner rivet - notice how smashed up the inner
rivet was before I was able to remove the outer casing.
13.  This is what you end up with after the outer casings of the rivets are removed.  Congratulations -
the hard part is over!  From starting until this point took me about a half hour.
14.  Now you need to remove those rivets so you will need to split the seam at either the top
or the bottom of your binder (I choose the bottom).  Make sure to remove the stitching between
the two layers so that the top stitching on the outside stays in place and remains decorative.
15.  Once the stitching is removed it will look like this, however you still do not have access
to the rivets as there will be a little bit of glue on the interior.
16.  To remove the glue barrier very carefully insert the non writing end of a pen or dowel pushing
against the glue until you have broken through.  Be very careful - you don't want to put a hole in
your planner at this point - you are almost done!
17.  Once you have broken through the glue barrier this is what you can see on the inside - you
can just make out the cardboard that the rivets are attached to.  Reach in and carefully remove
the cardboard strip (make sure to lift the leather off of the rivets as you don't want to damage the
holes where the rivets are.
18.  This is what it looks like with the rivets and cardboard removed.  
19.  Yeah - your binder is now ready to accept Franklin Covey screwed in ring mechanism!
Set this planner aside as you are finished working with it for now.
20.  Remove the rings from your Franklin Covey binder and set the rings and the screws to the side.
21.  Cut along each side of the base so that you end up with a strip like this.  Notice how much
"bulk it has.  You don't want that much bulk in your new planner, so separate it as shown in
the next image.  My binder spine came apart quite easily with no glue holding the layers together.
You want to be left with a long strip with the screw mechanisms still attached.
22.  The piece on the left is what you will be working with - shown is the backside.
23.  Trim up the screw strip to reduce the bulk (slight hour glass shape)  - this is where I made a
mistake with the last planner I converted - I did not trim up the strip and the edge on it is almost
like a structured binder.
24.  Once it is trimmed flip it over and it should look something like this.
25.  Slide the strip in carefully aligning the screw parts with the holes in your binder (they will
be a perfect fit if using a Desk Size Malibu and Classic Size Franklin Covey).
26.  This is what it looks like once they are in place.  At this point you could add a drop of
super glue to hold it in place.  However I personally opted to leave them as is and I also left
the bottom open so that if this mechanism ever slipped when replacing rings I could just
re-adjust it.  Leaving it un-glued and open will also allow me to replace if the screw
"receptors"(for lack of a better word) get stripped.

27.  Drop in your Franklin Covey rings and use your Hex Wrench (also called an Allen Wrench)
to tighten the screws.

                        Congratulations - if you are doing this tutorial you are all done!

Isn't she pretty!  I added 1.5" rings with the Malibu Desk size easily accomodates.  It might be
able to accommodate up to 1.75" rings but I have a feeling that the 1.5" is the maximum size
that it will comfortably hold without pushing your inserts into the strap.
I would love to hear from you if you are planning on doing this or have already completed it!  
If you have any questions please feel free to post them in the comments and I will try my best to answer!


  1. This makes me wish I hadn't given up on my malibu's. I loved them but never used them because the 1" rings were impractical for me. Great job KerrieLynn and thanks for sharing!!!

    1. I will be on the hunt for more Malibu's now that I know I can do a transplant - that's for sure. Thanks for the kind comment!

  2. Hopefully I am tackling this today with 1.5" rings donated by a Kirkland leather planner. Thanks so much for this tutorial and for boldly going where no Malibu owner has gone before (as far as I know).!

  3. What would you recommend for a Malibu portable the 1.25" or 1.5".

  4. How do you remove the rivets from the FranklinCovey without having to cut them? I tried with a 5/64 Allen wrench and all it did was strip. Did you cut it? If so where can I get a new rivet and what kind? PLEASE HELP. I want to take 1.5 rings and put them in my Malibu. I spent $100.00 on a Malibu I can't use because it's too small. I've been in tears over this because it's not as easy as people make it out to be. I've tried removing rings out of three Franklin Covey with Allen wrench and all they do is strip!!

    1. You can't just remove the rings - you have to remove the whole FC mechanism to do the conversion. Are you in my Franklin Covey Addicts group on Facebook? If you are, then you can PM me and I can try to troubleshoot the problems you are having. If you are not in it, please join and then PM me :)

  5. I need help with how to rove the rings from the FranklinCovey to put in my Malibu.


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