Why the high speed air tool? A good electric Dremel or Foredom will turn about 10,000 to 35,000 RPM. At the slower speeds, you have a lot of pulling, skipping and aggravation when you're carving or engraving causing fatique (and possibly damage) to your hands and wrists. At 360,000 RPM there is NO pulling, skipping or aggravation. You can easily engrave in the most delicate of surfaces (even a goose egg) with precision.

Before investing hundreds of dollars in a handpiece, take time to research the history and technology behind your purchase. Question the qualifications of where you buy from and avoid reverse engineered copies of equipment. Quality equipment will have an established history of use by both artists and dentists. Shofu has been in business since the early 1900's. They are dedicated to building highend equipment.

The Shofu carving tool is the work horse of high speed carving and engraving equipment. The Shofu is a dental lab hand piece, used in dental labs across the United States and many other countries, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. This is also the same tool used by Bill Janney in his book “Gun Stock Carving by Bill Janney”.

Why Shofu? There are 3 high end tools on the market today. These 3 tools are the Shofu Lab Air-Z, the DeGussa-Ney, and the NSK handpiece. These 3 are manufactured by Dental Lab companies that have been in the business for many years.

The DeGussa-Ney tool is a very good handpiece but easy to eliminate because it requires an inline oiler. This was the first handpiece that we ever purchased and while being a good handpiece the oil is extremely irritating. No matter what anyone tells you it does spit oil on your work and on you. The the end of the tool where the bit goes in is bigger around than the Shofu and when you try to lay the tool down on its side the handpiece itself hits on the work and limits the angle that you can lay the tool down to.

The NSK handpiece is also a great handpiece again the size at the end limits how far you can lay the tool down and the bit ejection is a 2 handed affair having to twist the tool in the middle to eject the bur.

The Shofu Lab Air-Z allows the best ability in laying the tool down to use a bit on its side like a football bit. It has one handed bit ejection and there is NO OIL. By the way the NSK tool is also oil free. Some companies like to talk about torque on one of these tools being dramatically better than the other. This is simply not true! No high speed air tool has much torque. They are designed to turn extremely fast so that the user can be very accurate at removing material. They are designed for detail work and excel greatly in that venue. If you are going to carve a duck in the round don't start with an air driven high speed tool. But once you get it roughed out and ready for detail the high speed air tool is your best friend. Details on the owl below were finished with a Shofu Lab Air-Z.

Like the other 2 tools mentioned, the Shofu Lab Air-Z is built by a Dental Lab company as a workhorse tool. These tools are your lifetime equipment in your shop. The Shofu is used in Dental Labs all around the world where workers are making dentures and other Dental Lab detailing. The Air-Z has been used for creating many beautiful pieces of art in glass, wood, eggs, metals, gourds, leather, jewelry and much more.

The Shofu Lab Air-Z while quiet & powerful has a lightweight well balanced construction for maximum hand comfort. It is ergonomically designed for extended usage. It has 3 small exhaust ports at the front of the tool, to help keep any dust off your work area. The rest of the air is exhausted at the opposite end of the tool near the plunger. It is virtually maintenance free. Keep it clean and have fun creating some truly awesome art.

The Shofu Lab Air-Z is the only high speed handpiece that Seunta LLC recommends.

Shofu Incorporated is a world renowned dental materials and equipment manufacturer, providing high-quality products to clients for the last 89 years.

Mr. Kajo Shofu III, an entrepreneur and researcher well known in the ceramics industry, founded Shofu Incorporated in 1922. Mr. Shofu refocused existing ceramics technology and succeeded in developing the first locally made, high-quality porcelain denture teeth.

Today, Shofu Incorporated remains one of the top manufacturers of superior dental products used by dentists, dental technicians, and dental hygienists, and is publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange with affiliate companies in the United States, Germany, Singapore, United Kingdom, and China. Shofu Dental Corporation (SDC), located in the United States was founded in the year 1971 with its corporate offices originally in Menlo Park, California. Shofu is currently celebrating 41 years doing business in the U.S.A. Canada, Central & South America and Mexico.

In September of 2001, SDC relocated corporate headquarters from Menlo Park to San Marcos, California, just north of San Diego. The new facility is state-of-the-art, accommodating a larger inventory, more customer service and expedited shipments.

You can purchase Shofu handpieces here:
Graphic Transfer (highly recommend!)
Arizona Gourds