The Best Books and Gage Blocks for Mastering Tool Calibration

May 28, 2021 4:44 pm

Whether you’re new to the world of tool calibration, a full-blown pro, or anything in between, it’s important that you understand why tool calibration is necessary. Tool calibration is one of the most critical aspects of a successful inspection, and must be performed with strict attention to detail.

Calibration helps operators and machinists understand how much wear has occurred since the last time the tool was used. It is imperative to ensure that the measurements made with the precision tool are accurate. Once the fundamental concepts are understood, added with some good old fashioned practice, calibrating your own precision and measurement tools should become an easy part of your routine.

This article is aimed to direct you toward resources that will help you deepen your gauge calibration and knowledge along with some tools to consider.

Learn about gauge calibration

A great way to get started with gauge calibration or troubleshoot issues is to learn from those before you. Understanding Gauge Calibration has the answers to the most common gauge calibration questions!

As always, before you start to calibrate your tools, we recommend brushing up on your skills or creating a solid foundation. One way to do so is by watching some educational videos on YouTube (you can find plenty, but this one from Mitutoyo is definitely one we recommend), and reading books on the subject matter.


Here are some informative books that will help you master tool calibration:

An Introduction to Measuration and Calibration

An Introduction to Measuration and Calibration

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Accuracy and consistency are essential to success in manufacturing and the technology of both precision calibration and precision measurement is fully explained and illustrated in this book, for both apprentices and those practicing.

Precision Measurement and Calibration: Selected NBS Papers on Statistical Concepts and Procedures

Precision Measurement and Calibration

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This technical book brings precision measurement and calibration experiments and learnings from the classroom to the shop floor.

The Quality Calibration Handbook: Developing and Managing a Calibration Program

The Quality Calibration Handbook

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If a business expects to be a player in their market segment, their product(s) must have the quality expected by their customers. This can only be accomplished with test equipment that produces repeatable, accurate, and traceable measurements and/or outputs. This book will benefit companies that want to implement a calibration program and also those that already have one in place.

Gauge blocks

If you’ve decided to conduct your calibration process in-house and have learned enough about it to get the job done right, now all you need to do is make sure you have the right tools. 

Gauge blocks are the most common and accurate way to ensure your precision measuring tool is calibrated. These little metal blocks come in different sizes depending on that tool you are calibrating. Here are a few sets to choose from to help get you started.

Fowler 53-672-081 Steel Shop-Blox Rectangular Economy Gage Block Set, 81 Piece

Fowler 53-672-081-0, Economy 81 Rectangular Gage Block Set

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The Fowler gauge blocks are rectangular, constructed of the finest grade of high carbon/chrome steel, fully stress relieved, hardened to 65 RC, lapped and mirror polished to a very low micro-surface finish. The blocks feature a low coefficient of thermal expansion and they are carefully inspected for accurate size, parallelism and flatness.

Starrett 9 Piece, 1/16 to 2″, Grade 0, Gage Block Set

Starrett 9 Piece, 1/16 to 2″, Grade 0, Gage Block Set

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This gauge block set includes nine rectangular steel blocks, making it ideal for a shop floor environment. The set is comprised of following size blocks (decimal inch): (1) 0.0625; (1) 0.100; (1) 0.125; (1) 0.200; (1) 0.250; (1) 0.300; (1) 0.500; (1) 1.000; (1) 2.000. 

Accusize Industrial Tools 81 Pcs Steel Gauge Block Set, Grade B,

Accusize Industrial Tools Precision 81-Piece Steel Gauge Block Set

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All gauge block sets are assigned serial numbers and accompanied with a certificate of inspection listing the deviation for each block. Each block in this set was made to a special standard (hardened to HRC 64) in order to resist corrosion and defacement.

Mitutoyo 10 Piece, Grade 0, Steel Gage Block Set

Mitutoyo 10 Piece, 0.005 to 0.05″, Grade 0, Steel Gage Block Set

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This set of blocks is individually serialized. The tolerance of these blocks is to the 6.000 micro inch. The ten pieces included in this set range from a minimum size of 0.0050 of a decimal inch and maximum size of 0.0500 of a decimal inch and are in step increments of 0.005. 


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  • Johnb53405 says:

    Stick with Mitutoyo and Starrett for gauge blocks, economy and grade B are essentially shims.

  • Bob says:

    Chrome carbide blocks from Starrett. Mitutoyo makes high quality tools as well.

  • Metric Dave says:

    The application will determine the grade of blocks needed. General machinists, machine builders or maintenance techs don’t need grade A gage blocks.

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