I have installed the D-rubber leather twice on my OTS, but it was not a OSJI kit, so I don’t know what OSJI includes. My first leather kit came from Suffolk & Turley in England in 1981, and then much later from Bill Bassett. Of course, the install is the same but some kits provide the tacking strip; neither of mine did.
So, to begin with, I used a very thin, about 1/8” plywood ( sold as replacement skin for Luan doors but any thin, pliable, wood will do, or a plastic of the same thickness), for my tacking strip. I cut pieces that were oversized by about 1’ all around. I fastened the strip tightly with small sheet metal screws into the top surface of the door, or faces of the scuttle or tonneau panel.
Once in place, spacing the screws approximately 3 or 4 inches apart, depending on the severity of the curve, I traced the door surface outline with a pencil onto the underside of the plywood. I removed the strips and cut them to the precise shape. Take your time with this step and get them right. You don’t want that finish edge to extend beyond the door edge otherwise, the D-rubber’s beading will sit too far out.
The next step is kind of hard to explain without images. Laying the wood strip on a flat surface, top side down, you will fasten one leather edge along the outer edge of the strip. The concept here is that you are fastening the leather to be underside of the strip ( which will go against the door surface), and the leather will be pulled over the rubber on the other side. What you are fastening will be hidden. I don’t have drawings or photos of this, but wish I did.
To fasten, you can either staple with shallow staples, or glue with contact cement. I used the holes that I drilled for the door’s sheet metal screws to temporarily hold the wood strip down to a work table, while I stretched the leather. It’s important to stretch the leather as you do this. So, as you stretch, and fastened, the leather wants to curl the wood up, which is why temporarily fastening it down is important. I found stapling the easiest since it allowed me to stretch as a went along. Having another person work with you is VERY helpful. Stretching during this step is important because remember that the door, for instance, has a curve in the vertical dimension. If you don’t stretch, the leather will have wrinkles as the wood is pulled down.
After stapling, or glueing that leather edge to the edge of the wood, you staple your matching color beading to finish the edge. Obviously, you leave plenty of leather, and beading, on the ends to wrap around the short end of the D-Rubber and finish.
Once that’s done, remove the strip & assembly from the work table. The whole thing will curve wildly, and look wrong. :-))
Take the wood strip, leather, and bead assembly to the car’s metal edge and fasten it back down, starting in the middle and working outward, as you’d done originally. The largest part of the leather will drape down onto the door’s outer side.
Cut to size, and glue down your D-rubber using contact cement. Once that has set up you can start to install the leather. Coat the D-rubber with contact cement. Coat the underside of the leather as well with contact cement, and let both dry according to glue instructions.
Start in the middle, and pull the leather over the D-rubber, stretching as you do. Work your way outward pulling down and out to avoid wrinkles. Once you’ve got it around the top of the D-Rubber to the ends, you can put a little glue on the inside door metal just to hold the loose leather in place. The door panel is going to cover this anyway.
I’m afraid there is no good way that I can adequately explain how to finish the ends where the chrome plug goes. The round sides are pretty easy since they tuck into the plug hole, but its the bottom slicing the leather to get a good finish that is trial & error. My advice would be to study another roadster, ( a friend’s or at a car show) and take pictures. It’s very possible that if you contact OSJI, they will supply photos, maybe even instructions, on this.
The first time my brother and I installed the D-Rubber leather, I called Mic Turley ( Suffolk & Turley) in England, and they walked my through the process for an hour by international phone call, ($$$$) ! :-)) But it was worth it.
Once the leather & plug are finished on the ends, use a small screwdriver, and some glue to tuck and fasten the beading around the corners under the tacking strip. To hold that really well, you want to pull the excess beading diagonally onto the door’s inside surface and glue. But before you do, you want to remove the hard, round plastic material that holds the round shape, only where it will be hidden by the door panel.
This will allow the beading leather to lay flat against the door surface and not cause problems when you fit up your door panel.
Just to be clear, you’re just removing that plastic round material (like weed-eater line) only on the part that is hidden behind the door panel. The beading has a round part, and then a flat part where the excess is sewn or glued together. Where you want to remove the round plastic, separate the 2 flat flaps of leather, and this will allow you access to the round bit. Cut it and pull it out from the end. Then glue your 2 flaps back.
The front scuttle, and rear tonneau panel, D-Rubber leather really takes at least 2 people to manage it.
I don’t know if my description is any help or not; its hard without images, and I really would suggest calling OSJI just to see if a tech could offer information.
Best of luck