I recently received a third Sliverax from Paul, and in another thread he mentioned that the bearing race/tang of the blade near the race that was originally exposed has been changed and/or milled less so that the bearings are not exposed when looking at the end of the knife when closed.
If you're not familiar, here's what we're talking about. Original on the left, new on the right:
What's really interesting is that Paul has yet a third knife that is somewhere between these two, that has the bearings exposed but less so than the original one. I had that knife for a minute but I didn't get around to getting it apart for pics.
That said, I do have some comparisons between these two, and it's more than just the amount of the tang that's milled out (or, milled into I guess you'd say).
To sum it up, the bearings are just slightly smaller in diameter along with the milled recess that they sit into. This means the area at the end of the tang that gets milled out for the lock face no longer cuts into the bearing race.
Old on left, new on right:
(the detent path has been polished on the left/old knife)
As you can see, it isn't a whole lot but the bearings are enclosed now. It may look like it's just the milled area that the bearings sit into that's smaller, but the bearings themselves are also just slightly smaller, because the old bearings will not fit into the new bearing race:
Another detail that really stood out to me is the finish on the inside of the bearing race is MUCH smoother than it was on the original launch knife. In this pic I have even tried to smooth out the machined grooves inside the race and the new knife is still smoother:
(you can also see in this pic that the detent ball on the new knife is slightly larger, this is Paul's doing and it makes the flipping action a good bit better)
Oh the other side of the tang we also have some differences, since the bearing race is a smaller circle, it creates another lip where extra material is left between the bearing race and the groove that the stop pin travels in:
You can also see that the machined surface inside the race is smoother on the new knife on both sides:
Again, keep in mind that I did what I could to polish and smooth the old bearing race, without doing so much that it removed too much metal and created play.
I'm really interested to see the insides of this middle CQI knife if Paul can get us some shots of it taken apart. If anyone's interested, the date code on the latest CQI version that I have is "IR", so this knife was made (or I guess at least boxed) on 09/18. There isn't any other dates on the tang that I've seen.
From the flipper/bearing pivot knives I've owned, which admittedly aren't a lot (3 Sliverax now, Southard, Mantra 1) this is by for my smoothest one and I haven't even polished the internals yet. Once you dial it in, it's silky smooth and swings like a pendulum and with Paul's tweaked detent hole it flips like a champ in either button press or light switch method, and I haven't had a single failed flip yet and there is ZERO blade play.