I use x-ray film exactly as I do other film. For 8x10, I've never had to cut any down. It does, however, scratch easily. I found that developing in hangers avoids scratching, and using a tanning developer such as Pyrocat, seems to help as well.
The film holder is painted flat black on the inside to minimize reflection. Some people use Clorox to wash off the back side emulsion after exposure, but I've never seen the need to do that.