Kork said noting about NaOH being difficult to dissolve. He was describing a lab technique that allowed one to prevent formation of big chunks of NaOH. Instead, by swirling, he formed a thin film of NaOH.
That's exactly it - I needed to get the NaOH into a form that I could quickly and easily dissolve it and then transfer it into a 100 mls volumetric flask. We would digest about 20 plant samples at a time so getting into solution in a timely manner was of great importance.
For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!