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Try teflon per the recommendations. I made some "graphited yarn" from cotton string and graphite that was sold as a lock lubricant (came in a small bottle from hardware store). The cotton string was separated into individual strands and placed in a small jar with the graphite, and then the jar was shaken to coat the strands with the graphite. However never was satisfied that I got the graphited starnds packed to the correct tightness for properly sealing pistons, but maybe I was in too much of a hurry and didn't take time to experiment. (It's messy to work with too.) For packing homemade valves (with imperfect design) I found teflon tape to be easier to use and more effective.

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