I am referring to this kind of hammer, also known as a roofing hammer.

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I understand that the flat end is intended to act as a normal hammer, and the sharp end is intended to pierce holes through roofing slate, to aid in fastening (perhaps by nails)

However, what is the purpose of the non-sharp protrusion from the rear (non-hammer) end? In other words, why is the roofing hammer's rear end asymmetric?

-edit- I found another roofing hammer, which clearly has the two rear protrusions offset from one another, so it is unlikely to be for the purpose of being a nail claw. Anyone has experience with one of those, then?

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Your picture does not show it particularly well, but I believe that you have a claw (for pulling nails) formed by the "stub" and a protrusion from one side of the "spike" on the illustrated hammer.

Here's a half-decent picture from a slate supply place.

Slate hammer picture from JosephJenkins.com

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  • I edited the question with an image of a different roofing hammer for clarity. It does not appear to be a nail claw, judging from the second hammer. – March Ho Dec 29 '14 at 17:05
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    On the contrary, it looks even more like there's a V between the "stub" and the "spike" and that makes a claw. Not a great claw, but a claw. – Ecnerwal Dec 29 '14 at 17:12
  • You're right. I guess it's just the poor POV. Accepted. – March Ho Dec 29 '14 at 18:40

One reason for the offset design for the type of roofing hammer that you showed it that it can be used to guide or tap the roof covering piece into place.

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The type of hammer with the offset spike end can be used as a shingle tab exposure guide. The point slid under the shingle being applied with the offset step at the edge of the shingle the hammer head would be adjusted till it is even with the previous course of shingles. Some types of roofing hammers have an adaptation of this idea to allow for an adjustable shingle exposure.

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  • This seems to be a different design from the one I posted, this seems to be known as a "roofing hatchet" instead, and does not appear to have the asymmetry of the rear end. – March Ho Dec 29 '14 at 11:18

It's a roofing hammer specifically for slate roofing. You can pry the tile with the spike and pull the nails with the claw. Yours appears to be the "Freund" style.

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