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Hello and thank you for your question, are you trying to line up the distributor and set timing?
The correct way to set the timing is tap the engine over till #1 cylinder is at top dead center on the compression stroke, once you see the paper towel blow out, take a break bar and socket and turn the harmonic balancer by hand to line the timing pointer up at 0 degrees on the pulley with the timing pointer which is top dead center. Once you have the blancer set, drop the distributor in with the rotor pointed at #1 on the cap and you now have base timing set.