The quiet banks of West Harbor were buzzing this week about an unusual work of art.
"I'm doing everything you're not supposed to do with a chain saw," Duane Mason said with a smile.
On the bank of West Harbor in Marblehead, Mason worked in the hot, humid weather for four days to create his work of art. Using a photograph for reference, Mason transformed the stump of an old elm tree into a replica of the Marblehead Lighthouse using only a chain saw.
Mason, 45, of Wellington has been doing chain saw carvings for 10 years.
"They're all one-of-a-kind pieces," Mason said. "They all have their own personalities."
This replica of the Marblehead landmark is for Mason's friend Ralph DeVore.
"I've been out here every minute that he's been carving," DeVore said.
Ralph DeVore, 74, Marblehead, retired from Westinghouse 14 years ago.
"Now all I do is hunt and fish," DeVore said. DeVore and Mason have been hunting buddies for years.
DeVore's friends and neighbors watched as Mason carefully carved his sculpture out of wood so old it was nearly petrified.
"It's a work of art," said neighbor Andrea Kertis. "My arms hurt for him."
Mason soaked his t-shirt in icy water to help make the midday sun more bearable. He put more than 24 hours of work into the sculpture.
"It's almost like a game of chess," Mason explained. "You can't make a move until you're sure about it, because you can't take it back."
Mason carves everything from sea captains to eagles to replicas of the family pet. Among Mason's favorite things to carve are tributes to client's dogs. Mason has even done a few carvings of his own dogs, English Springer Spaniels, that he and his family raise on their farm in Wellington.
"I like to take the time to get them as lifelike as possible," Mason said.
A carving the size of the lighthouse replica costs about $1,200. Mason also does smaller carvings that range from $75 - $300 depending on the amount of detail and level of difficulty.
Mason's carving has the area buzzing with interest. Two of Mason's bear carvings were also purchased by the Ferguson Gallery on East Harbor Road in Marblehead.
Mason also participates in charity carving events at county fairs and festivals. Carvers from all over the country attend these events where their carvings are auctioned off for charity.