13. Forest Masters

The Forest Master was a very popular knife. It was a camp or scout knife style.

During my research I have identified so many different kinds of Forest Masters.  So far I have 9 different Forest Masters in my collection. There are many models I have only seen in pictures, never one for sale.

There are 10 different black Forest Masters I have seen so far. The first 2 models were not shell knives.  All models made after that were. Besides the 10 black Forest Masters there is an imitation stag, imitation wood, several different multi colored ones ( purple and black, orange and black, light brown and black,) white plastic and one of the hardest to find, red plastic.


Below are a couple of very old Forest Master advertisements. Probably from a magazine or catalogue.


Forest Master Set Advertisment


Colonial Forset Master Advertisment



Colonial Forest master add He man





Below is a picture of my Forest Masters.


Colonial Forest Masters 1 X


The next picture is the 9 different models I have so far.


Colonial Forest Masters 9 different X

Below is another picture of the 9 different Forest Masters I have. They are numbered in the order they were made.

EDITED on 5/15/2016  I  found some information that has pointed out a mistake in this order.  I will be updating with new pictures soon.

Colonial Forest Masters 6.1 X


The following pictures are of the first model of Forest Master. It has the curved tang stamp that Colonial used between 1926 and 1938. The smallest of the Forest Masters. It has the old style can opener and was a 3 blade model without an awl. It was very thin.


Colonial Forest Master 34-38 1 X

Colonial Forest Master 10 X

Colonial Forest Master 11 X


Colonial Forest Master 12 X


Colonial Forest Master 13 X


Colonial Forest Master 13.5 X


The next 3 models of Forest Master all had a 4 blade large and a 3 blade small model.   Model 2 large knife had a secondary small blade and no awl. It had large blade, small blade, can opener and  bottle opener.    The small model 2 had a large blade, can opener and bottle opener.


Model 3 (1971) and Model 4 (1973) Large models had leather tools for the 4th blade.


Below are pictures comparing the model 1 and the small model 2 Forest Master.


Colonial Forest Master 14 X


Colonial Forest Master 16 X


Colonial Forest Master 15 X


Below is the 2nd Model Forest Master. The 3 blade smaller one.


Colonial Forest Master 18 XColonial Forest Master 17 XColonial Forest Masters 9 X


The picture below shows model 2, 3 and 4 Forest Masters that have a large and small model.  The large ones have 4 blades and the small ones 3. Model 2, 4 blade has 2 knife blades and no awl. Model 3 and 4 have a large blade, leather awl, can opener and bottle opener.  The small models had no awl, so large blade, can opener and bottle opener.


Colonial Forest Master 19 X


The 3rd model Forest Master has 3 models. The 3rd model is a 4 blade with what Colonial called a belt punch instead of the leather awl.  They are shown in the 2 pictures below. Colonial Forest Master 20 X


Colonial different Forest Masters 2 X



The picture below shows the 4th and 5th models of Black Forest Masters.

The 4th model had 3 and 4 blade model. Both having the large blade, can opener and bottle opener. The larger 4 blade also had a leather awl.


The 5th model I have only found in a 4 blade. Large blade, can opener, bottle opener and leather awl.  It is very similar to the 4th model 4 blade but the sides are more square while the 4th model was very round.

I believe model 5 also shows some of the first sign of trouble at Colonial regarding Forest Masters. It has a lighter, cheaper feel to it. The leather awl is very thin and feels like I could easily bend it with my fingers. The base of the awl had to be reinforced with a second, thin piece of metal.  I believe Colonial realized the awl was so thin at the base it would be trouble so they re enforced it last minute to continue with what I assume is a money saving strategy to lighten the Forest Master.


I know the year of manufacture of Model 3 (1971) and Model 4 (1973) because I have seen them new in the original package marked with the year they were made.


I believe the last model was made between 1975 and 1979. Definitely no earlier than 1974.



Colonial different Forest Masters 3 X


Below is one last picture of all 9 different black Forest Masters I have.


Colonial Forest Master 21 X

















8 thoughts on “13. Forest Masters

  1. Interesting blog, thanks for putting it together. I have a Colonial that appears identical to #4 large except the shield in script says “Lee Jr.” instead of Forest Master. Not sure it’s still considered a Forest Master but it is a black 4 blade Scout. Just thought you’d be interested.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi James. Yes I sure do find that interesting. If you are willing, it would be great to have a picture of it to add to my blog. Milehighk5@gmail.com is my email if you can send one when you have time. I believe the Lee Jr. on your knife is from the Olsen Knife Company of Howard City, MI, owned by Lee Olsen, Jr. From around the 1950s to the late 70’s his fixed blade hunting knives were pretty popular and he also sold some folding knives. Some time around 1980 his business burned down which is believed to be the end of the original business. I dont know if he sold his interest or what exactly but a couple years later someone started a business in Grand Rapids, Michigan selling Olsen branded knives made in Germany and Japan as well as some by Schrade Cutlery. So It appears they also had a contract with Colonial to sell re branded Forest Masters! Very neat find James. Thank you for telling me about it.


  3. A little late on this post but, i recently found a forest master with no tang stamp. The only stamp is on the opener that says USA. Ever seen one like that or know if it is still a Colonial knife?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Casey.

      Colonial was one of the largest knife manufacturers in the USA. Many company’s contracted with Colonial for large orders of knives so they could re sell them. Some of them just bought regular Colonial knives. Others placed special orders to have Colonial make the knives with their company’s name on the knives instead of Colonials.

      I need to update this page. I have found many interesting Forest Masters this year.

      I have Forest Masters with other company’s names as the tang stamp and I have Forest Masters with the other company’s name on the shield instead of Forest Master. There was a 3rd way that some company’s bought knives from Colonial so they could re sell them. No tang stamps at all other than one U.S.A stamp.

      I have never seen a Forest Master like this but I have other Colonials that are stamped the same as your knife.So I think its likely you have one of those and it is a Colonial if you are sure its identical to a Forest Master. There were several other company’s that made camp knives very similar to the Forest Master. If you send me a picture I can tell you for sure if its a Colonial or not.

      My email is MilehighK5@gmail.com



    • Hi Kenneth.

      I wish I could help you but I can’t. The red Forest Masters are very hard to find, even in used condition. I don’t know of any for sale. My favorite place to find Forest Masters is on Ebay but it takes time to find the rare ones. I hope you find one. Good Luck!



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