A safety requisite for the Canadian tour this summer is to be sure your hand brake will lock the rear wheels. I proceeded to adjust mine according to the Model T Manual, but found the amount of torque I could apply to a wheel was magnitudes less than that of a rolling Model T and it wasn't close to skidding on a dirt road. So back to work.
The first thing I did was to find true neutral. I had thought it was behind vertical and, based on this, I never had enough set because I was trying to avoid drag where I thought neutral was. The easiest way I found was to rev the engine moderately, after having driven it a while to be sure all the components are in normal working order, then ease the brake lever forward until it just began to crawl into high. Neutral now was ahead of vertical--a moderate change.
From there it was a tedious series of adjustments and trials, setting the brakes on a dirt driveway until both wheel left similar skid paths. Toward the end, a half turn of one clevis one way or the other the opposite way was needed to balance the set to both wheels. Even after driving it in the ensuing days a few times, it needed a little more tweaking.
On last caveat: Because of my long leg, my knee jammed between the brake lever and the timing lever preventing full pull. Had to make a conscious change in how to avoid this in emergencies.
I would think that what is meant, is locking the wheels when parked, maybe? Besides, a locked brake with skidding the tires does not stop the car!
Agreed, but locking to a skid is the extreme of how it could be applied. If you're coming down a mountain slope and you only have the gradual braking based on parked status, I think you might have some issues stopping. I know I did, just on the slope of my driveway, if I tried to brake suddenly with the hand brake and only rolled to a quicker stop. I realize the Rocky Mountain Brakes would be best--that's why they were developed--but for the average driver a firm hand brake is the next best option.
If you remove the floorboard you will notice the cam on the parking brake equalizer, has a ramp toward the high speed clutch lever. When you pull back on the parking lever, you will see the ramp move toward the clutch lever. When it reaches the point where the lever just starts to reach the flat area of the cam, you are in neutral. You can tighten up the brake rods to the point that they don't apply the brake till you move the hand lever farther back. If you have Rocky mountain brakes, you will need to adjust them so that the parking brake locks before the Rocky mountain brakes. Then adjust the link to the foot brake pedal for the Rocky's.
If the brake is working correctly, you should be able to slide the rear wheels when you pull on the brake hard, but you should also have a free neutral. Note, it is important to get both wheels to slide at the same point of the lever so that the car will stop in a straight line.
I found that putting the rear end up in the air on jack stands and then using a torque wrench on the axle nut can determine exactly when the brake shoes start to break loose. I pull the lever back to a vertical position that is for sure in full neutral. I then tighten each side so that the brake shoes break lose at the same torque setting on both right and left rear. Usually this requires the cotter pin to be pulled so the socket will fit on the nut. When each side takes the same amount of torque to break the shoes loose, I find that then testing the car results in no pulling to either side when stopping hard. I typically do the setting with a torque of around 50-60 but equal torque on both sides just near full lock up is what I am shooting for. New shoes will change a lot during their break in period and you can only adjust 1/2 turn on a clevis but I find this method works for me since my shoes are now well broken in.