OK. So I redid the preparation in graduated 50ml plastic tubes with both KOH and NaOH.

To 40ml deionized water I added 8.5 gram sodium sulfite. Capped the tube and inverted until it dissolved. To this I then added 4g p-aminophenol base. That led to some kind of whitish colloidal precipitate which would not dissolve further. Next I started titrating with a ~20 molar solution of KOH. There was a very clear relation between amount of base added and how much precipitate went into solution. I titrated until there was only a pinch of precipitate left at the bottom. I had to add about 5 grams equivalent of KOH solution and the pH was 13.1.

I redid this with NaOH and it was MUCH harder to get the solution to clear. I have the tube sitting with precipitate upto about the 10ml mark and a pH of 12.8. If it doesn't clear by tomorrow I'll bring the pH upto about 13.1 so I can compare the two solutions.

The 5 gram number is almost 3 times the amount should need to add, and it makes me wonder if the bottle was mispackaged or if age of the p-aminophenol makes a difference. And I am still a bit worried that my solution clears at a higher pH.
I'll run a comparison with Tri-X in the coming week and report back.

I am also realizing that I have almost no understanding of the underlying chemistry.
Could you recommend a few photographic chemistry texts or manuscripts?