Static and dynamic stiffness [N/m] determine the ability of solids to resist constant and variable loads. Both elastic characteristics of a machine tool effect their quality assessment. Thermal stiffness (comprising heat stiffness and temperature stiffness) [W/µm] is a key accuracy indicator of the machine tool's ability to resist temperature influences. The proposed method creates the thermo-physical structure of a machine tool, based on a set of homogeneous heat-active elements and quasi-thermostable links. Quasi-thermostable links retain constant properties when the thermal state of the heat-active elements changes within a given range, building and determining their spatial and temporal relative position. The structural formula is given: < S-thermal link > - - . When exposed to heat, heat-active elements change their temperature and thermoelastic properties change their temperature and thermoelastic properties with stress, strain, distortion. Thermal behavior F-functions characterize these changes over time. Thermal energy causes a heat exchange in the machine tool and leads to temperature differences, thermoelastic stresses and geometrical deformations. The material used in machine tools enables the thermal conduction, convection and radiation due to its dimensions, volume and surface area, thermal conductivity. Elasticity effects base on thermal linear expansion coefficient, modulus of elasticity, thermal energy storage due to its heat capacity. The analysis of the structural formula defines and describes generalized thermal stiffness indicators of a machine tool as a reaction to thermal effects when the heat sources are constantly active and when the heat source is absent, but only the ambient temperature changes. This paper presents relationships between the thermal stiffness and the thermo-physical property indicators of the machine tool. Examples of thermal stiffness are described for several machine tool types.