If you're looking for a really cool black finish for picture frames check out Roasted Oak! Here's a link to my blog about it and the process I use -- sorry, no pocket joinery! Roasted Oak Floater FrameAfter seeing the prices at a frame shop, I'm making a float frame for the customer of one of my pictures.
It's going to be spray painted satin black. Is there a reason not to use the maple I already have? The cost of the wood doesn't matter for such a small amount.
This is probably something I'll be doing a fair amount, so I'd like to streamline the process as much as possible.