Caesar wanted a lap steel similar to his Cole-Clark which is itself based on the early 20th-century Weissenborn style.
He hunted up a plank of gorgeous Padauk wood for me to make it out of. The only wood on the instrument that isn't padauk is ebony. The bridge, which Caesar drew, is meant to resemble a Maori warrior's tattoos. I made it and the string nut out of ebony.
We spent hours over several sessions deciding the final configuration of the steel and its systems.
We equipped it with dual pickup systems: standard passive humbuckers, and a hybrid active acoustic transducer system utilizing an L.R. Baggs Element pickup and a Ctrl-X blending preamp.
This system allows the player to send the blended magnetic and acoustic signals down a standard guitar cable into any amp or PA. It can also be run in stereo to separate systems with a Y-cord.
I decided we could hollow out the body and neck with a connecting resonant chamber. Combined with a string-thru the body design, Caesar reports that it is acoustically louder than his other steel, which is fully hollow.
The book-matched top and fingerboard are made out of the same plank of wood as the body.
I inlaid the block position markers with figured green abalone.
I think he likes it!