Help! Sun damage & plastic tarp melted onto dining room table

I recently bought a light colored (like unstained maple) teak or teak veneer table. The person who sold it to me told me it was purchased 3 years ago from Crate and Barrel and was supposedly in excellent condition. However, it appears that the seller stored it outside, in the sun, under a plastic tarp attached with duct tape. The plastic melted onto the top of the table. I was able to gently scrape off most of the flaking plastic but the finish is now unevenly discolored and some of the plastic remains. In some of the places where there was tape, the wood is stained black. The finish isn't a rubbed oil finish, like a Danish teak table, it's a little shiny. It came with a couple of leaves that are in perfect condition.
I have been unable to contact the seller but don't want to take a complete loss on the table! I called a local furniture refinisher but after describing the problem he quoted me a "ballpark" price of $950 to repair it. This table isn't a fine antique, it would be worth maybe a couple of hundred bucks to repair but not more. The refinisher told me that in his opinion, it didn't sound like it was worth trying to repair at all.
I can't tell you how much I would appreciate some advice on how I might attempt to repair the finish on this table myself. As I said before, it's not a valuable table, it doesn't have to look perfect, just presentable. I'm ready and willing to do the work, but I know nothing about refinishing furniture and nothing I've read describes the problem I have.
I know this isn't a serious woodworking question. Just hope someone will have pity on me. :-)
Thanks!!
Emily
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Sounds like a pretty serious woodworking question to me. Not an uncommon one here either.
Obviously the table has to be stripped, at least the top. But, before that happens you're going to have to determine or have someone determine if it is solid wood or veneer. It'll make a difference on what approach to take.
What would bother me the most is the black discoloration. A reaction between tannin in the wood and moisture. This is usually not a surface defect and can be problematic.
If the plastic melted into the finish there is a good chance that the finish was a nitrocellulose lacquer of some type. Also not an uncommon reaction. It happens a lot to people who use plastic place mats on tables finished with nitrocellulose lacquer. The up side there is that if it is a vanilla nitrocellulose lacquer it can be dissolved with lacquer thinner. Nasty stuff but still better then MEC strippers.
My guess at what the best and probably least complicated course of action would be is to strip the top then apply a veneer of your own. It isn't that hard and self stick veneers are available which would further uncomplicated the procedure.
Mind you know, that is all guess work based on your description.
Good luck
--
Mike G.
Heirloom Woods
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Or you could sand it down and paint it. Sometimes the veneer is so thin you have no other inexpensive option.
-Jack

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