Realism is always a struggle for me with props-making. My philosophy has always been it's easier to actually do something than fake it. So, for example, when I do mail I do historically accurate mail with actual metal rings as much as possible.
But sometimes, it's just not a thing that works in today's world. I've got some briar wood and hawthorn wood, and I was looking at making some Harry Potter wands. They're described as a type of wood, with a core of something fantastic. That's where it gets interesting.
My plan is to take whatever I choose to use for the core and cast it in resin and put that in a hole drilled into the butt of the wand. I have a bit of hawthorn stripped and I've begun planning it's ornamentation. But what to use for the core material?
Dragon's heartstring is obviously not real, but how close to it do I go? Believe it or not, a heartstring is actually a thing. There are tendons that help manage the valves and whatnot in a heart, and those are what we traditionally refer to has heartstrings. If I wanted to go as realistic as possible, I could try to find a way to get my hands on the cardiac tendons of a lizard. But I'm not going to murder something just for this.
Should I use heart strings from another animal? I could get a beef heart at the store, butcher them out of it and dry them. Or would any tendon work? I have some actual moose sinew from a repair project on a pair of Native Alaskan beaded mukluks. Or should I say bag this nonsense entirely and use a bit of stretched chamois, with some strategic dye to make it look like a hunk of tendon?
The silly bit is no one will see this unless they break the wand. It's my own sense of aesthetics that is driving the entire internal debate.