fax: (802) 868-2181
Ray's Dies & Tubing
P.O. Box 385
St. Albans, VT 05478
Ray's Dies & Tubing
718 Route 78
Swanton, VT 05488
copyright 2017 Ray's Dies &
All Rights Reserved.
Web Site Design by Jim Gadue
Photography by Richard
From 1960 to 1976 Ray's
Extruder Die Service operated out of a converted garage
at Seven Walnut Street in St. Albans, Vermont. From
within these humble surroundings Raymond Gadue produced a
product of such quality that companies from around the
country and around the world sought him out. His work
even went to the moon on at least one Apollo mission. We
at Ray's Extrusion Die Service take pride in these humble
beginnings and strive to live up to the standards of
quality and service set by our founder.
Raymond Gadue was
a dreamer, a handyman and a believer in making it big.
His attempts at greatness included the manufacture of
soap as a special hand cleaner, a potato chip company,
ownership of a small country store, and he even tried his
hand at selling typewriters. Ray trained as a machinist
while working for a large corporation in Pittsfield,
Massachusetts, and worked with his son, Ray Jr., doing
building construction, to name just a few of his
It was this
construction work that found him by a wire coating
factory being built in Vermont that he and his son were
working on. When the building was complete both Rays went
to work for the company.
Ray watched from a distance
as an engineer representing a manufacturer of a wire
coating machine was having problems getting it to operate
problem?" Ray queried.
"It's the die
insert. If we can find one good one out of ten we're
lucky," the engineer shot back. They were
experiencing short runs, the insulated coatings were
tearing, and burn outs were frequent.
"If a man
could design a *TFE die that would work, he would have it
echoed through Ray's mind. "One that would
Ray was soon to
have plenty of time to think about it, for the new and
struggling plant was forced into layoffs, and the man
with so many dreams was unemployed. The year was 1960 and
unemployment checks amounted to $35.00 per week. The
design of a proper *TFE die would be the answer to having
it made. He thought of this and knew that it must be made
of a high quality non-corrosive steel. He found such a
steel in the shaft of an old outboard motor that was bent
and seemingly useless except for a prybar. Ray purchased
it for $5.00 at a time that $5.00 would buy a lot of
groceries. He then proceeded to rent a lathe at a dollar
an hour. No one really remembers how long it took him to
make his first die, but Ray knew in his heart that the
inspiration that he had felt would lead him to a finished
product that would work.
He excitedly sent
his die to a local Vermont wire coating plant to try.
After a period of a few weeks, the company ordered ten
more. Still no invoice was sent, and finally a call came
for Ray to go to their office. The questions started
rolling out at Ray.
"How much are
you charging us?"
In old Vermont
fashion, Ray asked back, "Do they work?"
replied back, "so-so."
Ray quoted the
"If we order
a hundred, would you give us a discount?"
His confidence now
bursting, for Ray knew they wouldn't be asking for a
hundred if they didn't like the product, answered,
"No, they are all milled by hand, and it takes me as
long to mill the last one as it does the first." Ray
got the order at his price.
E. I. Dupont, a company
always searching for dies that compliment their *TFE
coatings called Ray and wanted to know how big he was.
Ray jokingly gave them his weight, then told them he was
one man working out of his garage. Their words were that
he would "Grow with the industry."
Dies are now being used all over the world. They were right. Ray
grew with the industry. He achieved his realization of a
worthy goal. He established a business that is, to this
day, carried on in a manner of quality not affected by
the pressures of competition.
Ray Sr. Passed on
in 1977, but not before he had it made. Having it made to
Ray meant being able to travel and see this beautiful
country. He did this with his loving wife, Gertrude, who
stood by him through his various projects.
Ray Jr., who now heads our company,
shares his Dad's Vermont ingenuity and inventive
interest. They worked together as a team beginning in
1965 when it was Ray Jr.'s job to make the wire guide
tips that were used in the dies.
Ray Sr. Died in 1977, Ray found himself alone, as his
brother, who worked alone with him and his Dad for
awhile, decided to follow his career with a large
corporation. Ray knew that he must expand, and with the
help of his wife, Eileen, they began a program of
controlled growth. They were determined not to forsake
quality for expansion.
first opportunity came when a friend told him of a
company that was going out of business and they had a
grinder for sale. The price was $1,500, and it was the
only time that they borrowed money for expansion. Eileen
remembers paying $63 per month on a machine that sat in
storage for two years. Ray admits that when he bought it
he didnt know what its uses were but couldnt
pass up the deal. Today the same grinder cost over
Jr., like his father, set out to master the machine, and
it wasnt long before Rays Extrusion Dies
& Tubing became as well know for their pioneering in
centerless grinding of the most intricate tubing as for
their dies. For example, Ray has ground tubing that is
used by doctors in exploratory procedures to diagnose
heart problems. Since it is introduced into artery and
threaded through into the heart, the diameter must be
small and the OD. finish ultra smooth, Rays
comments on this were, "We had to violate a few
commonly accepted rules of procedure for conventional
believes the stainless steel tubing market has been a
tremendous boost to their expansion because they offer
specialized cutting and sizing. To develop this part of
their business Ray spent years of searching for a quality
manufacturer where he could purchase his volume
requirements to satisfy the needs of his customers.
Although Ray believes in making a profit, his method of
purchasing saves his clients money because, in the small
business tradition, he passes the saving on. Most of the
customers actually prefer to have their orders precision
cut and shaped rather than utilizing their own machine
story is really the same today of ingenuity, quality, and
confidence of a small Vermont based company serving a
very large industry. Rays Extrusion Dies &
Tubing is still family owned and operated, where values
have been handed down from generation to generation.
* A Trademark of E.I.