Puttin’ the Squeeze On

Two blank facing pages from an old pamphlet. There is very old, yellowed tape on the binding which has been broken. The paper is water stained, torn and yellowing. The edges are rough and corners are dog-eared.

Without question, the best part about Fall is heading out into the country to enjoy all the changing colors and finding fresh apple cider. There’s something about cider (heated of course… and topped with mini marshmallows) that makes me smile. For fun, I thought I’d pass along some history of cider making in the U.S. I found on-line, thanks to Chris Lehault from Serious Eats.

According to Chris, America’s love affair with hard cider, and sweet cider, dates back to the first English settlers. Upon finding only inedible crabapples, the colonists requested apple seeds from England and began cultivating orchards and grafting wood to produce the proper apples for eating and cider. Since it was trickier to cultivate barley and other grains (for the production of beer), cider became the beverage of choice on the family dinner table – even the children drank Cinderkin, a weaker alcoholic beverage made from soaking apple pomace in water. By the turn of the eighteenth century, New England was producing over 300,000 gallons of cider a year.

As settlers moved west, they bought along their love for cider, with the help of John Chapman (better known as Johnny Appleseed). Chapman, actually a missionary, traveled west ahead of the settlers and grafted small, fenced in nurseries of cider apple trees in the Great Lakes Region and Ohio River Valley (many of the original trees are thought to still exist today). It was not uncommon then to find small cider orchards on homestead grounds. After spreading throughout the country, cider’s popularity waned at the turn of the century as eastern and German immigrants brought with them a preference for beer, and furthered diminished enjoyment by Prohibitionists who burned trees to the ground and the Volstead Act, which limited hard cider production.

Luckily today, cider can be found on the grocery store shelves, in farmers markets and at local roadside stands. The best is the pure kind – fresh squeezed apple juice cider, made by combining multiple apple types, and pressing out the juicy goodness.

Here’s my favorite recipe: Mix a whole bunch of apples, press out the juice, drink.

This weekend, get some cider, heat it up in the microwave, add in a little cinnamon, (and marshmallows) and enjoy the flavor of the season. And if you know of a good orchard where they still make cider the old fashioned way , shoot me an email at skowalski@khtheat.com and I’ll share with our readers.



Hope We See You In Detroit!

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COBO Convention Center – south elevation. 

We’re fine tuning our plans for the upcoming Heat Treat 2015 – ASM Heat Treating Society Conference & Exposition, Oct 20-22 at the COBO Convention Center in Detroit MI.

At the show, be sure to stop at the Kowalski Heat Treating Booth #732 and see all of the new and exciting developments we’re bringing to our customers, from vacuum hardening to rack salt to salt austempering / marquenching, to deep cryogenics and close tolerance specialty flatwork. Don’t forget to ask us about our new N2Clean Controlled Atmosphere Processing, the nation’s finest socially responsible PIA flatwork facility!

Better yet, shoot me an email at skowalski@khtheat.com and reserve a time to chat.

And don’t forget, we’ll be giving away an Apple iPad Air to the customer with the toughest PIA (pain in the #%$) Job, so bring us your pain!

If you are not planning to attend the show, you can still be eligible to win our PIA Job Contest – To enter, just send us an email at winanipad@khtheat.com describing your heat treating struggles and we’ll enter you into the contest.



Playoff Baseball & Mr. October.

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Reggie Jackson watches the flight of his third home run – on three pitches – against the Dodgers in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. Photo: AP


As the days grow shorter, and the nights get cooler, I find myself turning to the post season and a keener interest in the MLB playoffs.  Now that my beloved Tribe has been eliminated, I as many others do,  think of exciting playoffs.   For me, a guy who would overcome so much, and at times had a “PIA Job” of his own – Mr. October, Reggie Jackson.  Although he is long retired now,  I have great memories growing up of crowds chanting “Reggie, Reggie, Reggie” as he stepped to the plate.  His uncanny ability to foul off pitches he didn’t like was amazing until he found one he could hit – and hit he did.  Here’s some history on Reggie’s early career (thanks, Wikipedia!) – few things I found amazing.

Hall of Famer – Reggie Jackson

  • played 21 seasons for five different teams (can you name them all?)
  • helped his teams win 11 divisional pennants, 7 league pennants and 4 World Series titles
  • remembered for hitting 3 consecutive at bat World Series home runs in ‘77
  • 563 home runs, 14 times an All-Star and multiple MVP awards
  • in High School, starred in football, baseball, basketball and track & field, breaking all sorts of records (.550 avg and several no-hitters)
  • also tore up his knee and broke 5 cervical vertebrae and told will not play sports ever again
  • a highly recruited football player, he decided on Arizona State College, as other schools did not regularly draft black athletes at the time
  • walking back to the dorms, while still in his football uniform, he stopped by the baseball field and asked the coach if he could try out – on the second pitch he saw, he hit a home run – and three more after that
  • first college player to hit a ball out of Phoenix Memorial Stadium
  • after being signed to a major league contract ($85,000) he played single A, double A and minor leagues before debuting in the majors in 1967.
  • For more information about “Mr. October”, visit his Wikipedia page and enjoy the playoffs as we get ready to another great World Series.

TRIVIA: Reggie had his number retired on two MLB teams – call me if you can name the teams and know the numbers.
BONUS: What was the food he’s famous for? (I always love these!)



Hey, it’s the 40th Anniversary of the 1975D Lincoln Memorial Penny!

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And it’s our anniversary, too!

We checked with leading numismatists and the overwhelming consensus is that the 1975 and 1975D penny is worth … (drum roll please) … one cent today. Hasn’t increased in value much, huh.

But Kowalski Heat Treating has logged big gains in value over the last 40 years.

To our talented employees, KHT puts food on the table, cars in the driveway, investments and jobs in the neighborhood, and vacations every year.

To our amazing customers, KHT saves products from the scrap pile, provides expertise in all forms of distortion sensitive heat treating from salts to cryogenics to controlled atmosphere processing and everything in between.

And our biggest value? Taking on all sorts of PIA (Pain In The @%$) Jobs! Helping customer’s bottom line and helping them get a better night’s sleep knowing we’re on the job.

So, “A penny for your thoughts.” Let’s talk about your PIA jobs. We were born to solve tough problems!

Also, I hope you are going to Heat Treat 2015 at COBO Convention Center in Detroit Oct 20 – 22. Look for KHT’s Booth number 732 and stop in to win an iPad Air! Click HERE for details. 

Shoot me an email with an idea of when you expect to stop by the booth and I will be sure to be there. (I like to walk the show, too.)


The Super-Harvest-Blood Moon of 2015

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This montage of images taken by skywatcher Kieth Burns shows the Dec. 20, 2010 total lunar eclipse. The photos won a NASA contest to become an official NASA/JPL wallpaper for the public. Credit: NASA/JPL-via Kieth Burns


This weekend we’re all in for a treat. The fall Harvest Moon, appearing on Sunday night, will also be a Super Moon and a Blood Moon. Here is some info and trivia tips to help you be the astronomer at the office and at home.

What is a Harvest Moon? In traditional sky lore, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the 2015 autumnal equinox comes on September 23, so the September 28 full moon counts as the Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon. This year’s Harvest Moon will present the closest and largest full moon of the year and stage a total eclipse of the moon on the night of September 27-28. No matter where you are on Earth, a brilliant full-looking moon ascends over your eastern horizon around the time of sunset on September 27. It climbs highest in the sky around the middle of the night, when the sun is below your feet. That’s because the moon lies opposite the sun in our sky at the vicinity of full moon showing us its fully lighted hemisphere, or “day” side. That’s what makes the moon look full.

What makes this moon a Supermoon? This year’s Harvest Moon qualifies as a supermoon because the moon turns full about one hour after reaching lunar perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth for the month. If you live on a coastline, watch for this full moon to bring along wide-ranging spring tides along ocean coastlines for several days following full moon – high tides will climb extra high and the low tides will fall exceptionally low.

What makes this moon a Blood Moon eclipse? This September full moon is also called a Blood Moon, because it presents the fourth and final eclipse of a lunar tetrad: four straight total eclipses of the moon, spaced at six lunar months (full moons) apart. The total lunar eclipse is visible from the most of North America and all of South America after sunset September 27. Here is the schedule using Eastern Daylight Time.

  • Partial umbral eclipse begins: 9:07 p.m. EDT on Sept. 27
  • Total eclipse begins: 10:11 p.m. EDT
  • Greatest eclipse: 10:47 p.m. EDT
  • Total eclipse ends: 11:23 p.m. EDT
  • Partial eclipse ends: 12:27 a.m. EDT on September 28

What does this “trifecta” moon event mean for us? Although there is great folklore about the effects of a full moon, you have little to worry about. Scientists have studied human behavior and found little correlation between a full moon and people acting crazy. Here at KHT, we have all kinds of experience with crazy, so we plan on enjoying it with our families and friends!



What’s In A Name?

AISI/SAE Steel Designations

Have you ever wondered how plain carbon and alloy grades are named? You can actually know how much carbon and what alloys are in the material by just knowing the designation.

Materials are designated by a four digit number, where

  1. the first digit indicates the main alloying element(s)
  2. the second digit indicates the secondary alloying element(s)
  3. the last two digits of these indicates the carbon content (hundredths of a percent)
    (example, in Grade 1045 the 45 indicates a nominal carbon content of 0.45 wt% C)

Here is the naming system used to determine the steel designations: Enjoy.



Carbon Steels

10XX               Plain carbon (Mn 1.00 max.)
11XX               Resulfurized
12XX               Resulfurized and rephosphorized
15XX               Plain carbon (max Mn range; 1.00-1.65)


Manganese Steels

13XX               Mn 1.75


Nickel Steels

23XX               Ni 3.50
25XX               Ni 5.00


Nickel-Chromium Steels

31XX               Ni 1.25; Cr 0.65 and 0.80
32XX               Ni 1.75; Cr 1.07
33XX               Ni 3.50; Cr 1.50 and 1.57
34XX               Ni 3.00; Cr 0.77


Molybdenum Steels

40XX               Mo 0.20 and 0.25
44XX               Mo 0.40 and 0.25


Chromium-Molybdenum Steels

41XX               Cr 0.50, 0.80, and 0.95;
Mo 0.12, 0.20, 0.25, and 0.30


Nickel-Chromium-Molybdenum Steels

43XX               Ni 1.82; Cr 0.50 and 0.80; Mo 0.25
43BVXX           Ni 1.82; Cr 0.50; Mo 0.12 and 0.25; V 0.03 min
47XX               Ni 1.05; Cr 0.45; Mo 0.20 and 0.35
81XX               Ni 0.30; Cr 0.40; Mo 0.12
86XX               Ni 0.55; Cr 0.50; Mo 0.20
87XX               Ni 0.55; Cr 0.50; Mo 0.25
88XX               Ni 0.55; Cr 0.50; Mo 0.35
93XX               Ni 3.25; Cr 1.20; Mo 0.12
94XX               Ni 0.45; Cr 0.40; Mo 0.12
97XX               Ni 0.55; Cr 0.20; Mo 0.20
98XX               Ni 1.00; Cr 0.80, Mo 0.25


Nickel-Molybdenum Steels

46XX               Ni 0.85 and 1.82; Mo 0.20 and 0.25
48XX               Ni 3.50; Mo 0.25


Chromium Steels

50XX               Cr 0.27, 0.40, 0.50, and 0.65
51XX               Cr 0.80, 0.87, 0.92, 0.95,1.00, and 1.05


Chromium (Bearing) Steels

50XXX             Cr 0.50
51XXX             Cr 1.02 C 1.00 min.
52XXX             Cr 1.45


Chromium-Vanadium Steels

61XX               Cr 0.60, 0.80, and 0.95; V 0.10 and 0.15 min


Tungsten-Chromium Steels

72XX               W 1.75; Cr 0.75


Silicon-Manganese Steels

92XX               Si 1.40 and 2.00; Mn 0.65, 0.82, and 0.85; Cr 0 and 0.65


High-Strength Low-Alloy Steels

9XX                  Various SAE grades


Boron Steels

XXBXX              B denotes boron steel


Leaded Steels

XXLXX              L denotes leaded steel



Win-Win at Heat Treat 2015

Meet up with the Kowalski folks at HEAT TREAT 2015 and maybe win a new iPad Air!
Details below. Hope to see you in Detroit!

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  view history .

Floating Into Fall


Seems like just yesterday I was hauling out the lawnmower and lawn furniture getting ready for summer.  And now the nights are cooler and the days are shorter.  As Fall arrives, I find myself yearning for some seasonal favorites.  Here’s my “bucket list” of ideas to share.

Catch A Late Season Tribe Game
Yet again the Tribe is scratching for a playoff position.  It’s a great time to go down to the ballpark and enjoy a game.  It helps me hang on to summer while I shout and pray for the home team – only five games out …. GO TRIBE!

Get Pumpkins In The Country
Growing up, I have great memories of riding out to the country after Sunday church.  Dad would load us all up, and off we’d go.  We each got to pick our own, and that was a great sight to see all of those pumpkins! Then I couldn’t wait until Halloween and carving time.

Go to a High School Football Game
Friday nights under the lights, sweaters and cool nights make for great times. My girls were active on the school dance team and the drum line – Even though they are no longer on the field, I still go, and shout for the home team.

Take a Hike in Woods
I’m a sucker for long walks in the woods – the harder the better.  Just getting off the pavement does something to the soul, and helps me reflect on all the blessings I’ve received.

Bring Home Some Farm Fresh Apple Cider
There’s nothing like fresh, cold cider for me.  I love the color, the taste and the goodies I have along with it.  Just makes me appreciate this part of the country we live in and the hard work of local farmers.

What’s on your Fall “to do” list??
Send me an email or give me a call – I’d love to hear your favorites.



Gotta Love Them Apples

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As the weather is changing and the nights are getting a bit cooler, one of my favorite times of the year in NE Ohio is the fall harvest, when all of the hard working farmers put out their bounty – corn, squash, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, – and one of my favorite foods – fresh hand-picked apples. Around here, apples are abundant – not the grocery store standards, but the farm fresh, locally grown varieties – harvested at the height of ripeness. Crisp, juicy, filled with flavor – seems like when you bite into one, you can taste the rains of summer.

I’m not sure which one is my favorite – I’m partial to Melrose (the official apple of Ohio) and Honey Crisp. I also like Mac’s and Cortland – come to think of it, I like them all. And whenever I can get it, I have a piece( or two!) of fresh apple pie, with a little vanilla ice cream on the side.

For my “foodie” friends, here’s a simple recipe – cut up one or two of your favorite apples and put them in a bowl, add a little water, cinnamon and oats, along with a sprinkle or two of sugar. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and microwave again for 15-30 seconds. web security Enjoy!

Make it a point to get out to the country this weekend – buy local fresh produce and a big bag of apples – I may bump into you along the way.




Labor Day Weekend.


Labor Day and Labor Day weekend honors the American labor movement and the contributions of workers to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.

And none can be more true here at Kowalski Heat Treating.

I am so very proud of all my team. I see everyday their passion, courage and commitment to precision and consistency. I see us rally when a PIA (Pain In The @#$) Job! comes in, all focused on efficiency and problem solving. From happily helping a customer on the phone, to delivering goods on time to triple-checking a job on the processing floor, we all enjoy a certain team bond that’s grown from the very first day Dad opened the doors back in 1975.

So, for us, this Labor Day is a bit extra special – it’s part of our 40th anniversary and celebrates all of our KHT team, present and past.

May God bless all of our staff, customers, vendors and partners, and all of their families. Have a safe holiday as we turn the corner on summer and head into fall.