Thanks for the suggestions! I guess the upshot is I need a system and I might as well cut down the full roll as long as I have things set up. Some contraption to hold or suspend the roll while cutting would be a big help--that was part of my problem.
@Eddie--Thanks for the generous offer, I may yet take you up on it. The paper was indeed the CL "fumatone"-- I have a good record finding useless junk on CL, but occasionally I find something worth the effort and money. The jury is still out on this one and I was soundly cursing myself for wasting money on a tightly curled scroll of dubiously-stored old paper.