Production Killer – Cutting Ceiling Lines

It’s no coincidence this weeks PRODUCTION KILLER is about cutting ceiling lines. Let’s take a look at what we can do to maximize productivity by removing all the mumbo-jumbo that bog down systems, including the weakest link.

Cutting ceiling lines rank high on my list of time consuming tasks next to painting difficult colors on front doors with a brush and I do both fast. Speaking of the brush—the second most important component achieving maximum productivity cutting ceiling lines, is the brush. You can have the best paint, the easiest to apply, the slickest to move but the wrong brush will kill production with the first load.

As with any fine tuned system, the product and the system need to sync to be efficient. In the case of cutting ceiling lines, we have four main components we need to sync.

Let’s break those components down

My most efficient ceiling line cutting rates are performed with the Wooster Alpha 3” flat W 4234. This brush features a whopping 15/16” thick brush head. My favorite 2.5” 5/8” thick brush wont get me the same production rates as the Alpha. Not even close. The means in which we get the longest run is performed with a 3’ wide step ladder, allowing me to cut everything you see in the photo from a single position with four loads of paint. Two foot step ladders or buckets are production killers when doing long runs.

One other important thing worth mentioning is how you cut your corners. In the top photo I am approaching a corner as I work to the left. This approach is much more efficient vs starting in a corner because I am able to load balance right into the corner from my single 6 foot run and use a separate load to go down the corner part way and two loads to work out of the corner as I continue to my left. All of my cuts are thought out and executed to go specific lengths-of-runs resulting in pure efficiency. There is no reworking a load or repositioning them. They are laid down exactly where they need to be.

Here is a good example of how to be the most unproductive. Not only does he need 2 buckets to reach, he needs a 3rd bucket to get up to the others. Can you imagine the amount of time wasted moving 3 buckets around the house cutting ceiling lines?

Check out

HOW TO: Maximum Efficiency Cutting-in


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6 Responses
  • Paul Reply

    Ha ha! Do you guys in the US not have any health and safety laws! That last
    pic is shocking!

  • Mike Reply

    Do you use the same brush for cutting baseboard lines?

  • jackpauhl Reply

    If the job is taped, yes. The 3″ flat brush will give you extremely long runs on basebaord because that cut is typically minimal assuming you will roll down to the tape line which really only leaves a sliver of your brush stoke. If the casings are taped, same thing. The 3″ works great there too. The 3″ brush is very effective cutting inside corners too.

  • Brian Reply

    Great article. Do you use the same Alpha brush when your
    painting doors? Also, what size and style do you prefer for doors
    and trim? Thanks!

    • jackpauhl Reply

      Brian, No. Not the same brush. The Wooster Alpha 3 inch flat is only used for cutting in wall paint. We typically spray trim and doors but when I need to brush them I use the Wooster Silver Tip 2.5″ angular sash or Wooster Alpha 2.5″ angular or Proform Tech’s Picasso 2.5″ angular sash. Depending on the door style – I may use a 3″ flat Benjamin Moore 65-330.

  • john Reply

    stilts are much faster than the old bucket trick lol

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