There is much to be said for the more humble stationery items that populate the everyday work desk. Small but essential, these handy items help us keep work orderly. They have remained office mainstays through the ages.
Clips, fasteners, rings and pins
Most paper clips are variations of the gem clip first introduced in the 1890s. Recognisable by its basic characteristics of two equal loops made by the wire into an oblong shape with straight sides, the design integrity of the clip is utilised by torsion and elasticity in the wire and the friction between the wire and paper. When a bundle of paper is inserted between the two tongues or loops of the wire, the sheets are gripped and held together. Overload the clip with too much paper and the elastic limit of the wire forces it out of shape. This is why it is important to choose the correct size and material of paperclip for the job at hand. Clips can be made from silver wire, vinyl or plastic, and be coloured-coded, jumbo-sized, miniature or branded.
The gem clip is unlikely to be forgotten in the age of technology as its image was chosen as the standard software icon for the everyday e–mail attachment.
The metal nalclip is similar to the paper clip without allowing for any “slip”. Also known as the paper clamp or magic clipper, and available in small, medium and large sizes, it uses the basic principle of a c-shaped steel clip that produces a pinch-point to hold the paper. It requires a clip niceler to fix it in position. The nalclip slides over a pair of wedges on each side and opens, allowing the paper to enter. It then pinches as the nalclip exits the clip niceler.
Fasteners, while manufactured from similar materials as the paper clip, such as metal and moulded plastic, have a wider range of design and use. From sturdy bulldog clips that could clamp a hand to a mug, to the more delicate shape and formal form of the binder or fold–back clip, these devices use a mechanical join to keep two objects together.
Variations include the nifty clipboard for use on the go, which features a clip attached to a board so that work can be done away from the desk. Clipboards are prevalent in the healthcare industry, as doctors and nurses use them to hold medical files.
Box or folder envelope fasteners involve keeping together the sides of an opening of flexible material and are easy and sturdy enough to allow repeated fastening and unfastening.
Ideal for keeping loose sheets of paper together and conveniently storing and filing documents, paper fasteners include paper binders, file fasteners, rings and tube clips. These types of paper fasteners are a cost-effective alternative to ring binders and have many uses both in the office and at home. For internal folder use, arch file and ring binders – such as those seen in top-tab or end-tab manila, pressboard, kraft and coloured folders can be ordered with fasteners installed. These may feature either a ring or a twin pin or U shaped file fastener that allows you to secure papers within the folder so they don’t fall about while being able to access, remove and replace documents again easily. These types of paper file fasteners are also available as standalone mechanism or come with a self-adhesive backing, allowing attachment to a surface of choice, turning it into a file that works like a lever arch binder. Other types of file binders include space clip fasteners, back fasteners and fastener compressors to keep papers flat and smooth.
Other styles of fasteners include the trusty metal paper spike for retail style environments where invoices or proof of documentation can be quickly and easily consolidated.
File binders made of coloured rigid PVC can also effectively bind a stack of papers together by simply fitting the edge of the paper pack into the top seam and sliding it down to create a clip-on spine for light-weight pamphlets.
A clear PVC cover can be added to make a quick and professional looking document for meetings or conference hand-outs.
Drawing pins, either brass, neon or colour coded, along with indicator pins and tacks featuring a pin head, also function to hold paper and other items onto pin boards and display areas.
Key rings and key ring tags which allow name tagging, keep keys ordered and indexed when there is a variety of doors to be managed, such as in the facilities management environment.
Rubber bands are ideal for holding together sheets of rolled up paper or card and other office sundries. Available in a range of diameters, thicknesses and lengths, they are sold in different sizes and colours. Choose those featuring a high quality rubber for maximum stretch and longevity.
Glue plays a central role in holding things together. Today’s variety of glues have expanded to include glues for tiles, shoes, finger nails and vehicle decals. They are dispensed via pots, tubes, glue guns, brushes and even aerosols.
Glue sticks are a safe and convenient way for children to apply glue to a number of materials, such as card, crepe, tissue paper, foil, cellophane and photographs. It is quick acting, acid free and won’t stain clothing. Glues used for arts and crafts and at school are also non-toxic and acid free. They have dual tip applicators and dry clear. They are ideal for decorative applications, scrapbooking, art and craft and school projects. The fine applicator is ideal for intricate work, while the wide applicator provides smooth, even coverage on large areas. Art and craft glue in particular offers adhesion to porous materials such as fabric, leather, paper, textiles, wood, cardboard and felt. It is ideal for decorative cards, decoupage and scrapbooking, and can even be mixed with powder paints for finger painting.
Starting at the tough end of the range, adhesive pastes can be used in place of nails and screws and is excellent for use in the home and garage, at the office and for school projects and can be painted over.
Clear adhesives come in a tube and are easy to apply. They are quick-drying and suitable for all types of general office and home purposes. They are acid-free, meaning that it is safe for photographs.
Clear adhesives dry quickly, turn clear when dry and don’t yellow. It doesn’t wrinkle or warp paper and is ideal for quick-fix-it type jobs such as fixing cables to a wall. In general it provides good adhesion to paper, cardboard, leather, glass, ceramics, rubbers and most plastics. This makes it ideal for scrapbooking and school projects.
Contact glue, more commonly referred to as superglue, bonds instantly to non-porous materials such as metal, glass, ceramic, neoprene rubber, and some plastics such as PVC, ABS and polycarbonate. It doesn’t require mixing and the needle-like nozzle allows for precision application.
The hand-sized quick drying contact glue – also known as super glue – provides instant bonding for items such as metal, glass, ceramic, and rubber. Its handy pen format allows for precise small or large drops placement with instant bonding in almost any emergency situation.
Known as cold glue, this polyvinyl acetate-based glue sets quickly and is a universal bonding agent used for woodworking, furniture , leather, felt, cloth, board and paper and other porous type surfaces.
Adhesive spray is packaged in an aerosol format. It is fast-drying and easy to apply to large areas. This makes it ideal for a wide variety of applications, including the crafting sector. It is water resistant and acid-free, which means it will not yellow paper. Adhesive sprays work well on paper, cardboard, photographs, decoupage, fabric, wood, glass, foam and painted surfaces. It is also useful in 3D modelling, scrapbooking and home decorating.
Wall adhesives such as sticky putty, prestick, mounting tack, sticky dots and Velcro are also useful for keeping posters and directional signage in place and visible.